As a transgirl I am super leery of groups of teens or pre-teens. I imagine a group of them walking past, clocking me, then making it a game to harass me or make fun of me, maybe even attack me. So all these groups of kids made me super nervous. Luckily, they didn't pay me any mind. Phew.
We went out on the roof of the Reichstag where there's a beautiful view of all of Berlin. We had great light so of course we took lots more pictures. Like the other areas of the Reichstag, there were a bunch of people on the roof. I was a little worried that I might get some stares or something, but everyone seemed to be ignoring me. Passing tip: try to stand next to a beautiful view so people don't pay much attention to you.
One really amazing thing I got to do was find the exact spot where the famous WWII Battle of Berlin photo was taken. It's one of the most iconic photos of the war and shows a Russian soldier holding up a Soviet flag over the Reichstag, signally a symbolic end to the Nazi regime.
While we were up on the roof, I downloaded the picture on my phone and we spent a little of bit of time trying to find the exact spot. The little pillar structures are all over the roof and most of the buildings one can see in the photo have been destroyed. But, the statues are still the same! We found the exact spot where the soldier was standing and I got a picture of me as close to the spot as I could get (there's no access to the edge of the roof obviously). It's one of my favorite pictures because I love the sense of standing at the exact spot (or near the exact spot) where major moments in history occurred.
After the Reichstag, Kath and I wandered a little bit. We were staying in East Berlin and thus far on our trip had not ventured any further west than the Tiergarten. So we figured we would walk west towards Charlottenburg and explore the fancier (but less cool) parts of the city.
Our trek through West Berlin got off to a slightly rough start thanks to Soviet artillery. The thing is that most of the city was destroyed in WWII in order to help kill Nazis (a worthy goal if ever there was one). After the war, whole sections of Berlin were rebuilt in the styles popular in the 1950s and 1960s. So that means lot of square boxy buildings and lots of space between them. Post war architects and city planners did not like walkability. They liked boxes, spaces, and highways. And we got a lot of that in West Berlin.
It was different. Well, for one thing it came with cantaloupe on the plate and that's weird. Also my burrito had basmatti rice like you would get with Indian food. You wouldn't think that'd make a difference, but it does. It's weird. Other than that it was cheese, tortilla and beef, which are hard to screw up. There was one issue though. It wasn't spicy in the least.
Nothing in Germany is spicy. They simply do not have spicy food. My American friend who lives there said that spicy food was the thing she missed most about the States. Kath and I now have dreams of moving to Berlin and opening up a restaurant called Capsaicin. We would serve vindaloo, buffalo wings, chili, burritos and other spicy food for American expats or adventurous locals.