Today, Mark and I took off on our own this morning to sort out his ipad’s vodafone internet session, which we couldn’t renew on our own for some reason. We did some window-shopping on the way and also walked across a large outdoor “Wochenmarkt” (market), so that Mark finally experienced the market-day thing that is still so typical of German life (my parents still go every Saturday) Although it took a later re-do in the evening with more Vodafone help, we did finally get it going again, although now without tethering. (Mark is always clearly happier when his electronic connectivity is high. He is also clearly enjoying having a larger variety of people to watch here than in tiny little Boltenhagen, and I am making a mental note that we need to put more “city” / hustle and bustle into some of our vacations than we had here in Germany.)
Then we walked from Charlottenburg S-Bahn station down to Ku-Damm and then down the Ku-Damm from Olivaer Platz all the way to the Gedaechtniskirche, looking at the 5th Avenue-type stores on the way, but at the end, I couldn’t find the Gedaechtniskirche in its usual spot! Then we realized that it is undergoing a huge renovation and the scaffolding is all covered up with white boards so it is wrapped up like a Christo monument! Very strange. We rode back starting at Zoologischer Garten and picked the kids up at home to walk through the Grunewald to the Teufelssee, a little lake with an old waterworks that has been turned into an “Oekowerk” with nature paths and playgrounds and a little cafe, to meet up with Laurie Smith (my old friend from Bowling Green) and her two kids, Stella (6) and Mauro (10). Kai and Mauro both like Manga and speak both English and German, so they really got along well and talked and talked while we explored the area. The lake, with lots of spontaneous and completely nonchalant nude swimmers (finally, naked people! Mark’s brother Jerry has been teasing him about no evidence of nude beaches in the photos that he has been seeing). It would have been fun to swim since this was another mostly sunny, warm-weather day but we were not going to stay that long and we did not have swimsuits (maybe not so important at this lake) or towels (still important). We walked to a nearby sand pit and then went on, partly by car and partly by S-Bahn, to a wonderful Indian restaurant to have dinner while we talked and looked at the day’s photos (Kai and Mauro distracting each other and Kati doing little Stella’s hair helped a lot!). We then went back down to the Vodafone shop and the kids monkeyed around while we tried to troubleshoot the internet problem. Kati did a bit more shopping, which required my last drop of patience, and then we headed home for the evening. We spent a bit of time chatting to the owner, who is obviously very proud of his house, his neighborhood, and Berlin at large, and had a quiet evening.