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Summer fun

So I know I haven't been updating much, but I just haven't had much to say. We have been in Berlin for over a year now, and it is still amazing. We still love it so much, but it is also just like this is our life now. It has lost some of the wonder of being in a new place, and is just amazing on its own. So not sure how often I will be updating going forward. Anyways it is summer here now and amazing! Summer really is nice here. Everyone out and about, festivals and street fairs even weekend, lots of things to do and beautiful weather to enjoy. Let's see what fun have we been up to. Well the weekend after Belgium there was the Carnival of Cultures which I had been hearing about all over the place. We went to check it out and well...there were a TON of mojito stands. Some foods too, but tons of alcohol. So what did we do? Drink lots of mojitos of course! So refreshing on a hot sunny day. Then we walked down to see if we could see some of the parade. Now we knew the route, and it started at noon and it was now like 2:30 so I thought we might have missed it. We were not that far from the start of the parade, maybe a 10-15 min walk, so I thought we would have to walk down the parade route. It was hot so we decided to take a sit in the shade for a bit on the sidewalk and a little but later here comes the parade. Like 3 hours later it had gone not very far. Slowest moving parade I have ever seen. Apparently it lasts into the night, which I can imagine since it took them 3 hours to go 2 feet. Anyways here are some parade pics:

As you can see it quickly turned into just a mass of people. There were cops that came through before the first float and cleared the street, then after the first float it was just people in the street, on the sidewalks, everywhere. Every float was a different country and they were playing music and dancing and people watching would just go out and dance also or just walk along with it. There were no real defined spectator and performer sections. The last photo is the parade route - to the left of the trees is the parade. You can see it is just tons of people. It was interesting and fun, but not as amazing as I was lead to believe it would be. Still mojitos in the park and dancing around? Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Then June 21st is World Music Day and here in Berlin there were something like 150 stages set up around the city with people playing music into the evening. I met Raymond after work and we got some dinner then checked out some of the stages. We started listening to some blascore, which I hadn't really known what to expect since I didn't really know what it was, but I enjoyed it. Everything was outside until 10pm so we stood on a street corner listening to the music for a bit. We then headed down to another stage with a swing band, and we danced a bit but we had backpacks so that was not so good for the dancing. We do need to go swing dancing more often though...I need to look into that. Then we headed over to Mauerpark to finish off the evening listening to some techno (those are the photos above). There were so many people there it was kind of amazing. The stage is where the smoke was coming from and it was a beautiful evening. So nice to just sit in the park watching the sunset while listening to music.

One weekend there was a street fair down in Kreuzburg we went to check out. I enjoyed it, it was better than most markets we have explored, but Raymond was not impressed. They had these balls the kids went in and tried to walk around in on the water. Apparently that was the only photo I took there...when that same day we had out first couchsurfers here. A couple from Michigan who were very nice and stayed a few days.

Then a few weeks ago we went looking for a digital piano for Raymond, which he has been playing all the time. It is nice as he can use headphones and not make a ton of noise if he wants, so he can play late at night and such. The weekend we got the piano he kept playing forever, then would come into the other room and lay on the couch like I am soooo tired! I kept telling him he didn't have to keep playing...Anyways we wandered a bit after we ordered the piano as I had wanted to go to the art market as well. Here are some pics from the Alexanderplatz/Friedrichstrasse area.

We laid down in the grass on museum island for a bit.

Then we went home and had a picnic in the park using out new picnic blanket! We also had just purchased a badminton set so we played some of that as well as some table tennis, which was lots of fun. There are table tennis tables all over the place so that was the first we actually used them. Raymond has also gotten pretty good at looking crazy in photos. He has the crazy eyes down. Oh while we were having a picnic we also saw a guy riding his bike through the park and playing his guitar. I was impressed.

Then the one weekend there was an art street fair set up on the one bridge. I really enjoyed it, I liked a lot of the artist that were there but Raymond did not. It was not the kind of art he likes apparently (he is crazy). They also had this strip of paper down the center of the road and buckets of paint so you could paint something which I thought was fun. I painted the robot. Then we headed off in search of some ice cream!

We wandered a bit in Kreuzburg after eating ice cream. We really need to explore that area more. There is just so much to see and do!

Then last week we had some couchsurfers staying with us. They are from Portland and had stayed with us when we lived in Seattle. A few months ago she wrote to me to see if we could host some people coming to Seattle, and I replied how we were living in Berlin now and she was all well we are coming to Berlin this summer! So we hosted them for like 6 nights and it was really nice. We went out to eat and hung out and just had a good time visiting with them. Last Sunday we went to Mauerpark with them to the flea market and karaoke, but man it was hot in the sun. We lasted about an hour at karaoke before I was like alright, too hot, need something cold.

While looking for frozen beverages we found a popsicle cart! Win! Then we went and go frozen beverages.

Along the way we found this robot guy. He was hooked up to some controls a guy had and he had this kid give the robot a cup of water, the robot drank it, then spit it out all over the crowd. It was hilarious watching people run from the robot spit! Really it was hot enough it would dry in two seconds if you got wet. I liked him. After some drinks we headed home and our guests cooked us a lovely dinner of green curry - yum! Then they played a little hip flip and moved on to their next host. And that brings us up to date.

So let's see what else...well we have planned out our trip to hike the northernmost section of the Kungsleden (Kings Trail) in Sweden. It starts in Abisko and then we will hike south for 8 days then head back home. I am super excited as it is above the arctic circle and that just seems awesome! The temps should be in the 50's during the day which I think is perfect for hiking, and there will be 17.5 hours of sunlight when we get there. Fun! I just hope it doesn't rain the entire time. There are huts to stay in if we need them, but I would prefer to camp. It really looks amazing and it goes by the highest peak in Sweden. It should be a lot of fun. Then a week after we get back from that Raymond is gone on a work trip, then a week later his parents are coming to visit! Our first visitors!! Very exciting. Well I guess that is all for now.


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