Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Berlin - A Recap

This past weekend, we went to Berlin, as I mentioned. We had a very nice time. The drive wasn't so nice. It was about seven hours each way, to which Fred commented upon our return, "Well, we're never driving to Berlin again." It was a bit much. We're not drivers. We public transport people.

Two summers ago, we went to the Southwest and I drove around for two weeks - long stretches at a time. But there's something different about sitting in the backseat and not being in charge. I like to be the one to say, "Time to pull over and pee" or "I want a cup of coffee." It's just how I am. Peter and Anke were fine, stopping every two hours for coffee or a bite to eat. No complaints there. I would just rather be able to walk around on a train or cut a few hours off the whole trip and fly.

I had started my socks at home so that I could just go right into knitting them on the way to Berlin. But I fell asleep and woke up and did something screwy (I started going in the wrong direction), and soon I was in a place where I had some holes and the stripes weren't matching up and my stitch count was off. I had one and a half hard-won inches and I ended up frogging them.

To me, one of the disadvantages of doing two socks with the Magic Loop is that everything is so flimsy at the beginning. You have one line of stitches and everything is pulling and shifting. To combat this, I did one sock to a certain point, moved it to some DPNs that I had brought along and then did the second sock to the same point and moved the first sock into place. Easy-schmeezy. And now they look wonderful. It's mezmerizing to do socks like this. I'll take a photo tomorrow and post it. The stripes are working just like they should. The color changes on one and then it changes on the other. I'm using one of the patterns from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. It's called "Garter Rib" and it's basically K2 P2 and then knit a row. Repeat a million times. (I don't think I'm telling any state secrets.) It's a smart looking pattern. Completely "appropriate for a man," unlike those other socks I did, which are "appropriate for a man, but the tiniest bit lacey."

I would recommend Berlin, by the way. It's interesting (lots of history) and a beautiful city (a lot of it is pretty new, but there is a respect for the older stuff). I was walking around and I thought, I get why people want to live here. I've thought about Berlin before and it seemed so cold, so sterile. Maybe it's just the idea of it. Plus, it seems so far away.

One thing I will say is that if you go and you want to see the Reichstag, which you should, go early in the morning. If you show up at 2:00 in the afternoon, be prepared for a two hour wait. It's the Anne Frank House of Berlin. There's always a line and you have to go early. (Click the link to the AFH and look at the line.) It's well worth a trip. I'm glad I went before, because we didn't get to go inside this time. No one wanted to wait in line for that long. (But plenty of other people were waiting.) We also went to Checkpoint Charlie and Schloss Charlottenburg. And we saw the former DDR headquarters, which is being slowly disassembled. Peter was right. It wasn't there when I went back.

The food was good and we walked for hours each day. I came back tired, but with a decent amount of knitting done. Fortunately, I brought my green scarf that I'm trying to finish. (When the sock went wack, I needed something to do with my hands.) It's the wool-silk one that Patty thinks looks scratchy. I want to finish it so I can wash it and see if it really is. It'll suck if it's scratchy. I'll have to give it to someone who likes it. You know how there are people who could wear a hairshirt in the summer? One of them. I suspect, though, that I will like it.

Here's a link to our photos of Berlin. I tried to label them when necessary. There are quite a few, but you can fly through them pretty quickly if you're interested.

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