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Sunset Walk

I had a late start to my morning. I got to sleep in a couple extra hours and have my breakfast at 9, then come back to the room and do....homework?! Yes. I am still in school, believe it or not. So there I, was responding to people on a virtual discussion board. Less than a week of this nonsense before I'm gradumacated. Around lunch time I finally emerged from the hotel room and went down to the Dom again.

I had ordered a decaf americano from Starbucks along with some food and I was waiting at the coffee end of the counter when the lady said, "Decaf americano for Jaime!" and within an instant some dude just grabbed it and ran. I was like, dude, unhand that americano! But it was too late. Then while I was trying to get the attention of the Starbucks employee, the lady announced, "Americano for Dennis!" and it was placed on the counter, lonely, unwanted. I figured that was the dude that took my coffee, so I took his coffee. But I ordered a decaf, dang it, I don't want his caffeinated americano. So I could only drink half of it. So Dennis the Coffee Theif, I know what you did and I know who you are, and you drank my coffee. 

I spent about an hour walking around the shops near the Dom and there are just so many nice things. Stylish shoes for guys and gals in abundance. But pretty soon sudden torrential downpour of rain began and I started to get rained on. I walked back to the hotel and by that time I was pretty wet. You just can't tell with the weather here.

I'm pretty sure that I saw some of the pro cyclists preparing for the Tour de France. There were three super skinny cyclists that were on S-works bikes (a brand I have not seen here otherwise) and they were wearing matching kits. A while later I saw another one cyclist that looked similarly emaciated and dressed up in kit. I think they are here practicing the route.

In the evening Ganesh and I went out to dinner and went on a long walk. The sun sets so late here, that we have to stay out until about 9:30 to see the sunset. We decided to walk all the way across the love lock bridge, and to our amazement the view from the other side right at sunset was so beautiful.
of course we had to take a few wefies along the way. 

A note regarding society or coffee (which is really the same thing):
There is no such thing as "regular coffee" here. Coffee is brewed in milk, so the only way to have coffee is either an espresso, a cappuccino, or a latte, which are virtually the same anyway. Cappuccinos are a third espresso,  third milk, third foamy milk. Whereas lattés are espresso, mostly milk, little bit of foamy milk on top. Then the Latté Machiato is just a cup of hot milk with the foam, and then they pour the espresso shot in on top.

I have given up trying to order "a cup of coffee" or a "regular cup of coffee" or a "cup of black coffee." All of these are returned with expressions of confusion by waiters and baristas everywhere. They respond by asking, "So, something like an Americano?" Yes, something like an americano. Americanos are a shot of espresso, with the rest of the cup filled up with hot water. Still not the same like how we brew the coffee in the hot water. It's quite interesting. But, it's a good way to order a black cup of coffee because you know that it's a freshly brewed espresso. That's the only way I can get a cup of black coffee here. So now I don't even try saying regular coffee anymore and I just ask for the Americano. This has made me realize something about America. The whole pioneer lifestyle for a few hundred years has resulted in basically "poor man's coffee" because I bet we were pretty scarce on milk for a long time, and so coffee brewed with water was the result. We got so used to it, that we just never went back.

On the subject of bicycles:
When we called for a taxi from the Berlin hotel to the airport, torrential downpour of rain started without warning. We got in the car and Ganesh said, "Wow it just started to rain so hard out of nowhere." and the taxi driver said, "Ah, it seems my wife has the same weather," and chuckled. We had a nice conversation with the driver and we complimented Germany on their plentiful bike lanes, bike paths, abundant bike parking, bike signal lights, and more. Everywhere we go, there are wide bike lakes in the road that are sometimes even barricaded off by kay-rales, or even completely separate bike paths on the overly-wide sidewalks, bike through-ways through parks. At every shop train station, hotel, or restaurant, there is parking for hundreds of bikes. There are special seats for people with bicycles on the train. There is a general culture of thankfulness to the cyclists. He responded, "Oh, but this is not enough." There you go.
special ramps on the stairs for bikes

A few thoughts about money:

There is no paper money smaller than a 5 here. So what does that mean? Lots and lots of coins. Coins that cannot be exchanged once you get to the US. I have been attempting to use as many of them as I can, seemingly to only receive more of them in return. I felt quite accomplished to spend over 20 euros of coins yesterday.

A word on schnitzel:
To all the people like me where schnitzel was just about the only German word I had ever heard of, the holy schnitzel shall not be under appreciated. It is the basically like the best gourmet chicken nugget you've ever had, that you can imagine. All the simple glory and tastiness of nuggets, with all the tenderness and luxury of fine dining. It can either be made of pork or veal, as far as I can tell, and both are great. So the "Wiener Schnitzel" is the veal one, and it is quite a food to behold.


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