The first week we were in Berlin we stayed at The Intercontinental Hotel. Each day we would meet our crew in the lobby and off we would go. Hubby was our guide, as he had lived in Berlin on and off for many years. He showed us the places he’d lived with other pilots, took us on river tours of the city and then down to Check Point Charlie, where we observed the most famous border crossing, while it was still functioning.
I loved everything about Germany. The people, the food…THE BEER!!! Those first few days were a wonderful introduction to the city.
Then the day came when the guys had to go to work and I was left on my own. A little scary when you think about it. Not speaking the language, or knowing the customs, well, it was all a bit overwhelming. I was determined, however, to make the most of it.
I dressed and went out to get myself something to eat. I walked down to the train station to get a newspaper and then stopped at the grocery store to get some supplies for the guys (they left me a list), and then to get some rolls for breakfast.
I wish I could tell you how nervous I was when I got to the bakery to get my breakfast rolls. In my best (worst), German I told the shop woman what I wanted and she put it in a bag and I paid and left. I got coffee at another shop and sat down to eat.
My roll was filled. It was a surprise, but it tasted a little like ham salad so I just ate it, as I was very hungry. I was walking back to the hotel, when all of a sudden I felt ill. Very ill. I ran into a public rest room and got violently sick. A very kind female bathroom attendant helped me. She told me in very good English where the pharmacy was. She suggested I had gotten food poisoning.
I stopped at the Apoteke (Pharmacy) and the wizened old Pharmacist gave me some medication for the sickness. I struggled, but made it back to our room, where I began to pray for death!
Hubby arrived home in the evening and as best as we could figure I had eaten Steak Tartar inside the roll, and apparently it had been bad.
Luckily, by the next morning I was fine and this time when I went out, I took the paper that Hubby had given me with the name of a good breakfast roll on it, and off I went.
Only that morning I was walking past another bakery when I saw “sweet treats”. Oh my goodness! The Germans sure do know how to bake the most wonderful confections! Would I risk another roll? I think not. I sat with my coffee and a couple of yummy delights. This was to become my routine breakfast meal while Hubby was at work.
I wandered around the down town area. I went in shops and bought a few things. Mostly I stayed close to the hotel, because I was nervous.
Finally Hubby gave me directions. He wanted a certain beer and it was only sold one place. It required me to take the U-Bahn and then a bus, and then walk to the shop. I carried my basket and off I went.
I got my U-Bahn ticket, and paid for my bus fare and got all the way out to get Hubby’s beer. It was hot and I was tired, so I stopped at a little outside beer stand and had a tall one! Then I retraced my steps carrying 6 bottles of Andecks beer. Not little bottles, no, half liter bottles! But I did it and with that trip, my fear of traveling around Berlin ended. After that I did things every day.
But that is for the next installment.