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Our first visitors!

So Raymond's parents came to visit us for a week mid-September which was a lot of fun. I was super excited for our first visitors! And now the start of the fall of fun (or the fall of people visiting us)! But first a few things we did the first weekends in Sept before Raymond's parents visit.

The beginning of Sept there is a fireworks world champion competition. So of course we had to go check it out. I mean each country has a 15 min display and there are 3 countries every night. Now it is kind of expensive to go (like 50 Euro for standing room...that is WAY more than I want to spend on something), but luckily it is at the Olympic Stadium so it is down by the hill in Berlin - the hill made of rubble! There is a nice park on the top so we went and hung out for a bit, had a picnic dinner and just had fun. You can see out over all of Berlin, even though the hill is not that big. At the top it was quite windy so there were lots of people flying kites and it was a beautiful sunny day. The park slowly filled up with people until it was dark and there were just a ton of people hanging out and drinking beer and having fun. It is so nice going to things like this here. Everyone is so nice and friendly and just having a good time, not super annoying drunk people.

So on to the fireworks. The Philippines was first and their display was pretty awesome. Greece was up second and I don't know how you make fireworks boring but they did. I mean seriously it is fireworks! It should be awesome just because so I really have no idea how they made me keep checking my watch to see when it will be over. Spain was last and was better, but not as good as the Philippines (who did end up winning). Afterwards it was a mass exit from the park and squeezing on the subway to get home with everyone else. So fun - we will definitely check it out again next year.

Then the day before Raymond's parents got here there was a hay bale rolling competition. Lots of hay was around and sculptures and such made of hay. Unfortunately we missed the contest (the event website was hard to figure out when exactly it would be), but next year we shall see it! Apparently back in the day there were two groups of people living in the area it was in. They would fight and the people in charge decided they needed to give the youths a way to measure themselves without  getting into fights so after the harvest they kept two hay bales and had them roll them around town in a race. I mean makes sense to me! I was excited to see it, but next year for sure!

Then on the walk to dinner we found these super cute robots! The following day Raymond's parents arrived in Berlin! Our first visitors!

The following day Raymond's parents arrived. It was a Sunday so we went down to the flea market in Mauer Park, but they were tired and it started raining so we came back to our place so they could take a nap, then just had dinner nearby and a walk around our neighborhood. The following morning we went down to the Brandenburg Gate to start our tour of Berlin monuments! As you can see it was a little rainy, but not too bad.

While we were there there was a political campaign speech by the one candidate. It was a ton of fun! The lady with the red coat had a mask of someones face on, but it didn't have eye holes or anything so people were leading her around everywhere. Then there were lots of boxes of fake money that she started throwing around, then burned some in a burn barrel. Then the truck with the candidate and some guys in blue suits came up and the blue guys put out the fire and defeated the evil lady in red! Then the guy started giving his speech, but we didn't stick around for that. The theatrics were a lot of fun though! I really enjoyed it.

Then we checked out the room of silence, but it wasn't so silent. You could hear all of the people outside so they really need more soundproofing if they want a silent area to meditate.

Then we walked over to the Reichstag - the parliament building. When we came over to visit in 2009 we stood in line outside to go in and explore. Now you have to make an appointment, which is hard when you don't have a definite plan so we didn't go inside.

Then we walked along the Tiergarten towards the Victory Column. We stopped to check out the Soviet War Memorial.

Then a walk through the Tiergarten and we walked by the presidents house. There were two guards walking back and forth in front (they are on the left of the photo by the bushes) and Raymond's dad waved to them and one of them did a little hand wave with his hand down by his side all secret like (we missed it, unfortunately). It was pretty funny!

Then we walked over to the victory column. It is in the middle of a traffic circle and you have to go through a tunnel to get to it. The tunnels were fun. They have panels on the one side that light up as you are walking by them so the light moves with you. You can climb to the top so we decided to do just that.

It is pretty much in the center of the Tiergarten which is why there are so many trees. You can look out over the whole city.

After eating lunch at Alexanderplatz and wandering around there for a bit Raymond's parents decided it was time for a beer. We headed over to Friedrichshain since we like the area and there are plenty of places to sit outside and enjoy a nice beverage. We went to a few places and had a nice time hanging out with some drinks. Then off to home for the evening. Part two to follow.


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