First day in Berlin went very well. Wolfgang is very much like the picture I had built of him in my mind, funny, witty, sharp, full of
great stories, generous, perhaps kinder. Over the years his email observations of me and other things have made me laugh at the world and myself, and sometimes when toiling over the weekends at work those laughs and comments have more than made my day. Something about his attitude, however, reminded me of my uncle Roger, so while looking forward to this trip part of me was also wary…
I was a little nervous about finding someone I had never met, but I recognized him immediately as I walked through the airport exit. He immediatley whisked me off to a biker’s bar, Spinnerbruke, for beer, where we would kill time waiting for Dick and Bev to arrive. And as we had our first beer together, I know this little trip will probably be ok. We sat at our outdoor table talking and watching the bikers – as Wolfgang said – “kiss” their bikes.
I passed the test of learning to say “Guten Tag, Wolfgang, wie gates es dir”. Then successfully ordered the beer at the bar… “Bitte, ein gross bier und ein (forget the name of the other beer for me)”.
It was fun watching him charm Dick and Bev who are totally blown away by how generous he has been. Bev is a feisty, cheerful lady, ready for anything. And Dick, more reserved, is following in her footsteps and loving it (camera ever ready). From the moment we picked them up at the airport Wolfgang tour guided us until we nearly dropped – the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate,
Memorial to the Dead Jews of Europe, Hitler’s Bunker site – before taking us to a Croatian restaurant – well a German restaurant with Croatian specialities because the owners are Croatian. Wolfgang said it was a place the family often goes when his children are in town, because the food is good, plentiful and pretty reasonably priced. He was right.
Because of the oral surgery I had on Monday, my mouth has been driving me crazy, and I am only in the mood for soft warm food, and almost everything on the menu sounded delicious but was meat. Veggies can sometimes be a real disappointment but I went with a dish that Wolfgang translated as broccoli, with ham, sheep’s cheese, baked under the fire. It was absolutely delicious! And the broccoli perfectly cooked, green and firm (not TOO soft at all).
Even though we had been talking all afternoon we talked all through dinner and beyond about who we were, our upcoming trip, Wolfgang shared some stories about his time in the US.
The owner’s offered us snapps after the meal, which delighted us! and we accepted and talked more!
We were very all very tired but happy when we returned to our hotel and bed about 10:30.