Jul 30 2005
Not dead, just busy: there have been four countries and many cities (and lots and lots of beer) since the last update. We headed north from Poland through Austria, up to Germany, then Belgium and the Netherlands and now back to Germany. I am working on getting it all down; I am now back in Berlin, staying in the same fancy hotel, and have internet access, at least for the weekend. Justin leaves on Tuesday and I still have two and a half weeks or so. The time’s gone amazingly fast. I have some entries that were half written but not finished a week or so ago, and so I will post those in order by the cities we have been too. Obviously, since I haven’t been online much, I haven’t been keeping up with all of you, either; I promise to reply to emails and read blogs and such in due course.
But for now, a story: we got back in Berlin last night (and it is hot here; Summer seems to have attacked in a wave of humidity and languidness, a far cry from the rainy, cold city of three weeks ago). Today we went wandering around the Tiergarten, which is Berlin’s version of Central Park; it has the Brandenburg Gate at one end and the Victory Monument, a colossal column-thing, in the middle. We were dawdling around in the park and then came out onto the Unter Den Liden, which is the boulevard that connects the two monuments, and noticed that there were all these people lining the road, expectantly, many with cameras out, as if they were waiting for something. “Hey!” I said brightly. “If there are all these people here, and they are all waiting for something, then clearly there must be something going on, and we should wait too!” It looked like there was a parade about to happen, after all, and I love parades. Justin, impressed by my brilliant powers of deduction, agreed, and pointed out the hovering helicopter, the news photographers, etc. We speculated that the Chancellor was on parade, Paris Hilton was going to make an appearance, etc. etc.
But no! We heard the cheering as the event started, and what appeared down the boulevard was a mass of VW Beetles! All eras! All makes and models and colors! Packed with people who waved and cheered and honked their horns! Ok, we thought, it is part of a parade. But the Beetles just kept coming! They were decked out with different paint jobs, different styles and stickers, and not a few painted like the Herbie Beetle. Finally it dawned on us that this was for the Herbie Beetle; the movie is opening today, and this was a celebratory parade of Beetles from all over the region (I spotted one painted with the “Lithuana VW Club” logo).
And they just kept coming. I have never seen so many VWs in my life. They had registration numbers, and the highest numbers we saw were in the 1400′s. Imagine nearly fifteen hundred Beetles driving down the road, all honking and racing each other when they could get up to speed. It was quite a sight.
Anyway, so far so good on Berlin pt. 2 and I will catch up with the rest when I get to it.
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