Berlin Solar and Aqua, Flora and Fauna...and a Palace

Friday began waking up way too early...4:30am...and doing a bit of photo updating followed by needing more sleep that lasted a bit longer then i had thought it would. I awoke at 9:40am realizing the time hopped up, dressed, and dashed out for breakfast, which the hotel stops serving at 10am. Breakfast at the B&B here is nearly the same as in St. Petersburg; cheese, sliced meat, bread, juice, and tea/coffee. The big difference is instead of fried egg(s) i am given a hard boiled egg. Well i'm not so big on how they smell, nor can i even get into one to try it out (i think the last one i has i was three). I've tried hitting the shell with a fork, squishing it on the plate, tapping it as if to open it to pan fry an egg, nothing works! I'm pretty surprised that a egg has eluded me on how to consume it for two days. Tomorrow will bring another opportunity and maybe success! At least at opening it to see if i'm still totally not a hard boiled girl.

I headed out very excited to see the Berlin Aquarium. After a bit of searching i found the entrance, paid, and promptly began taking pictures of fish. I think i've been spoiled with the amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium and the new Cal Academy areas as this was pretty unimpressive. Nice fish, don't get me wrong...the big new exciting thing here, a for me was all of the insects! I'm used to these being in the zoo, and in small quantities, so this was exciting to see Ants, Grasshoppers, and Cockroachs with their own room. The not so fantastic part was two great ant setups in open air in the middle of the room. Each was surrounded by water to "ensure the ants did NOT escape". This failed as there were ants crawling all over the bases of each of the exhibits, evolution for ya. Regardless it was pretty awesome to see the ants so close up and watch them work.

Aqua Fauna this way  Fishies  Sea Horse  Um...sleeping..yea...

I decided to venture into the Zoo, which is connected to the Aquarium. I had read and heard amazing things about the Berlin zoo. Again i'm spoiled rotten. I think growing up with the San Diego Zoo places my bar a bit higher than it should be. One refreshing and applaudable difference was the interaction i saw between the zoo keepers and the animals. I turned a corner to find a man casually playing with an ant eater in their habitat. Awesome! It was a warm day and everyone was out both and in and out of the cages. Europe isn't too different from the states as there were just as many idiots outside of the cages as back home. Why can't more people treat the animals with respect. They're already in cages, do you have to point and yell at them?!?!? "Other peoples kids"

Animal entertainer  No matter what language you speak don't do it  Polar Bear 

From the Zoo i headed over the Schloss Charlotten . Such beautiful rooms! They reminded me of the palace apartments in St. Petersburg, very ornamental and lavishly decorated. Two rooms stick out in my mind. First was a room on the back of the Palace on the ground floor with deep dark hunter green Silk Damask fabric on the walls and large mirrors running the length of the room. It truly looked like a "Garden Room" where someone would want to entertain royalty. The second was a room on the Second Floor decorated in light calm shades of Green with all Silver adornments. Amazing to see how it all worked together...and it's how i've always wanted to decorate a Dining room, go figure (well i really hadn't thought about silver plating reliefs on the wall...yet). Most of the rooms that had been destroyed in WWII were very plainly restored. This is an area were the Germans could take a cue from the Russians, "make it as beautiful as it was before, and maybe a little bit more"...and while you're at it let them take pictures!!! Plain white walls, no ceiling adornments, the rooms were so out of place with the rest of the palace. Oh well, what had survived mostly was restored beautifully and i really enjoyed the tour.

SchlossCharlottenburg: Front of the Palace  SchlossCharlottenburg: Plans  SchlossCharlottenburg: Let there be a poind..right about here!  SchlossCharlottenburg: Wide Shot of the Gardens

Behind the Palace were the Schlossgarten which contained the Baroque Garden, the Belvedere, and the Mausoleum. I made it through the gardens and made a quick run through the fine dining and tea china sets before the Belvedere closed. The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling the gardens and enjoying the beautiful weather.

The afternoon ended with a fantastic glass of wine and more pizza. The restaurant said it was authentic German cuisine...flat bread baked with veggies, sliced meat, and cheese...that is pizza and it's *not* from Germany. Oh well. Saturday WILL include some German food, it should be easier as i booked a guided tour of Potsdam and think we might stop for lunch.

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