Friday, November 14, 2008

Adventures in Berlin: Fat Tire (and Happy Birthday to Me!)

Right: the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Seanan beat me to Berlin by a couple of months, so he was able to point me to a few things of particular interest. He recommended a biking tour of the city with Fat Tire, and let me tell you, it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Germany. The tour guides at Fat Tire are brilliant—they all have degrees in German history, but they certainly know how to have a good time (as you would expect, they tend to be ladies' men). Our tour was supposed to last four hours, but it took almost six—I was so impressed that on top of a tremendously informative and entertaining tour, our guide wasn't rushing us back to the starting point so he could get on with his day. If you're going to Berlin, London, Paris, or Barcelona anytime soon, definitely check out their website to see if any tours fit your schedule. Thirty bucks (€20, and we also tipped €5 each) for a six-hour bike tour is a great value, no?

We stopped for lunch at a really nice beer garden/restaurant, and Kelly finally sampled the bratwurst. The veggie options were surprisingly yummy too. Another credit to Fat Tire that they didn't take us to a place that felt like a tourist trap.

There were a lot of cool people on the Third Reich tour, and we met up with them again in the evening for the Fat Tire pub crawl. I'm not a big drinker, so I was probably the soberest of the lot, but gosh was it fun. I'll post separately about some of the places we visited on the bike tour and pub crawl (there's a famous artists' squat in a bombed-out department store I want to tell you about, and the Holocaust Memorial warrants its own post as well).

(On the Bebelplatz, site of the infamous Nazi book-burning. Yes, I'm taking notes. I'm a nerd and I'm not ashamed of it.)

I got plenty of photos of drunken debauchery that night (other people's, not ours, mind you), but I think I'll just show you this one:

And a few more landmarks we passed on our bikes:

The ruins of Anhalter Station, once Berlin's central train terminal.

Obama made his July 24th speech at the foot of the Siegessäule, the Victory Column, which is at the center of an enormous roundabout. Hooray for digital zoom! (There's a much better close-up on the Wikipedia page.)

1 comment:

Kate said...

1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
2. Digital zoom is the same thing as cropping--it's optical zoom that's key.
3. We're a family of nerds--I got over it a long time ago.