On August 15th, it was announced that my company was going bankrupt.
After getting over the initial shock of it all, I think what I was most upset about was losing my time in Berlin. I felt robbed. If I had known my time was limited, I would have done more, saw more, ate more, enjoyed more. I think this will be the lesson I will take with me from this experience. Don’t wait till everything is exactly how you want it to be before doing the things you want to do.
So once the reality of the situation had sunk in, I knew I had to start doing those things in Berlin I had been waiting to do. I made it a challenge to do something new almost every day. It could be a small challenge like trying a new drink or restaurant, exploring a new area of Berlin, or checking out some of the touristy sites.
Cats – On August 16th, I joined a colleague for a previously planned night at the theatre. We discussed the company situation over pizza and wine at my place and then walked to the nearby Admiralspalast on Friedrichstrasse to enjoy the Broadway show Cats.
Sammlung Boros – Art collection housed in a WWII bunker. This had been on my list for quite some time as it is right around the corner from my flat but tours book up really far in advance. I emailed them on Saturday, August 19th to see if they had any cancellations upcoming in the next 6 weeks. They emailed me back and said they had a cancellation for that evening at 6:30pm and I eagerly responded yes.
Long Night at Museums – The problem with accepting the Sammlung Boros cancellation spot was that it conflicted with my plans to attend the annual ‘Lange Nacht Der Museen’ event starting at 6:00pm. I decided to go anyways immediately after my tour and arrived around 8:00pm, grabbed my ticket, and chowed down on some Brazilian Tapiocas’s and beer while planning out my strategy for my museum filled night. I found a tour of the Altes Museum at 9:00pm, Deutsches Historisches Museum tour at 10:00pm and lastly a tour at the Anne Frank Museum at 11:00pm (which I had to sprint to in order to make the tour).
On Sunday August 20th, I went for my morning run but this time I ran along the river stopping at Röststätte afterwards for a coffee. On my walk home, I walked past the Sophienkirche and stopped at the Jewish Cemetery.
That afternoon I grabbed another coffee and made my way to Siegessäule, or Victory Column, in the middle of Tiergarten. I bought my ticket, toured the tiny museum and walked the spiraling staircase to the top to get some pretty fantastic views of Berlin. I realized I was near Café Am Neun See, a biergarten in the park, so I finished off my day with a weissbier.
The next week, I tried the famous Club Mate beverage I had seen so many Berliner’s wandering the streets and S-bahn with. Club Mate is a caffeinated carbonated mate extract beverage made in Germany since 1924 which is the overworked and hungover’s beverage of choice. It had a slightly odd taste which took some getting used to but all in all not bad. I also managed to go for a cocktail at the Westin (which was made with an Austrian liqour called Sporer), enjoyed the museum and views from Panorama Punkt, and had a lovely Italian dinner in Hackescher Markt of veal and in season mushrooms, pfifferlinge.
During this time, I had also been trying to convince my Mom to travel standby from Calgary to Berlin for a visit given my imminent departure. We found some options that looked good and booked her on the Calgary to Frankfurt flight on Wednesday, August 23rd. I was really keeping my fingers crossed that all worked out and that she would make the flight!