Sunday, October 7, 2012

40 Days of Birthday: Day Sixteen

We rented a car today through our city car share service and headed to Berlin’s neighboring state of Brandenburg. The idea originally was to go apple picking but we thought better of it when we imagined Lennon not being able to join in. Our friends, the El-Falakis, live in Brandenburg and just thirty minutes from our home, so we decided to stay with our original travel plans and visit with them for a spell. The El-Falakis, Karen and Adel, babysat Lennon for a whopping six hours on the day we moved house in August. Lennon had been to their home, Nicholas and I had not.

On the way, we stopped at the Hofladen Falkensee, a sweet farm stand, to purchase the apples we might otherwise pick in later years when Lennon can pitch in. We couldn’t resist buying another pumpkin, a proper Halloween orange one this time, and a wee, mini one for Lennon’s room. As promised, we also bought a big bag of apples, some bio fennel, bio chestnuts—so yummy roasted this time of year—and a few slices of cake from their bakery to bring to our friends.

The El-Falakis live just ten minutes from our farm stop. Lennon warmed up to them in no time, even though he hadn’t seen them since the move. We were given a tour of their home and some Kaffee and Kuchen before we all headed out to the see the 1936 Olympic Village whose ruins still stand minutes from their home. Karen billed the dilapidated grounds as eerie. We were so excited to see them.

 What’s left of the Olympic Village is in a beautiful state of crumbling. Most of the moss covered buildings had bricked-in windows and boarded-shut doors, but Jesse Owens's sleeping quarters can be toured and is set as a bare bones museum honoring the gold medal runner. This area of Germany being part of the old East, many of the buildings had been demolished by the Russians when they made their headquarters at the Village. In their place they constructed pre-fabricated cinderblock box structures, which also can be seen in the space today. I fell in love a little with the 1936 indoor Olympic pool, now falling into the ground. The building that houses it was blocked off with scaffolding today, but I caught a peek through one of the windows: Pure romantic horror in blue tile and cement.

I was able to get close enough to capture a shot of the Olympic “foot bath” that sat just outside the pool building. It too was making its way into the earth, but deliciously so. 

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