We flew to Berlin in the morning and taxied to Wolfgang’s apartment. We had met Gisela and Wolfgang in ’78 on a Friendship Force program—an exchange program to promote friendship. In our case, it certainly worked as we have remained close friends ever since. Unfortunately Gisela had passed away a year earlier, and we missed her. Wolfgang, who had just turned 80, and his two sons, Joerg, who turned 50 and Lutz, who turned 40 decided to have a ‘round’ birthday party. This is a very musical family and the three of them had formed a group called the fffs. They planned to host a party at their little cottage on the edge of Berlin in Blankenfelde.
Lutz picked us up in a little bus the next morning and we all helped set up for the party. The guests came at 2:00, each one bringing wonderful food. We had yummy coffeecakes and coffee in the afternoon; then we had a lavish buffet with plenty of beer and wine for our dinner meal. The fff’s plus three other musicians played almost non-stop; then various members of the families and their groups played, so we had wonderful music to celebrate this lovely day, the birthdays and friendship.
The next morning Wolfgang played some music for us from his vast collection of records and CDs while we had breakfast. He always does that! Then we, four, went for a walk past tiny vacation homes that Berliners have near the edge of the city. These homes are about 15 X 15 feet on tiny lots of about 30 X 30 feet. These tiny homes have gorgeous gardens. Apparently Berliners spend their weekends there, gardening and hanging out. Of course when East Germany was under Communist rule and Berlin was an ‘island’ in the middle of East Germany, it was not easy for them to leave the city, so I gather that this is when these tiny vacation homes started. Later we had dinner at a Serbian Restaurant.
Guests were family and friends as well as the local villagers.
The fffs played and all the guests brought good food and drink.
The next day Lutz took us downtown Berlin to Pottsdammer Platz. We saw the Berlin Dome, and the Reichstag where we had coffee and treats, and then climbed the dome. Hitler had burned this building and rather recently a new modern glass dome was built to replace what was ruined during the runup to World War II. There were many photographic displays of the history that had happened in that building as Hitler came to power. As we were ascending the spiral staircase up into the glass dome, a powerful thunderstorm struck. The lightening was pretty frightening as the thunderclaps followed right on the heels of the lightening. I kept thinking that if this is a very modern structure, there must be provisions for a thunderstorm like this! Then came the rain—-a really heavy downpour but it was soon over without any negative consequences.
We flew home through Rome, but when we got to Newark to claim our bags to go through customs, our bags were stuck in Rome. When I got home I spent hours and hours on the phone for days and days trying to get our bags. It finally happened, but it took about two weeks! So it goes—-other than that, it was a wonderful trip!