I didn’t want to flake out and not go to the special plant sale at the botanical gardens. I was not dissuaded when after 30 minutes of trying to drive my car across Unter den Linden I realized it just wasn’t going to happen (Marathon day today), although I was ready to put my fist through the stupid navigation system and her insistent “turn right, turn right, turn right”. I drove back home, dumped the car in front of the flat, did not heed the call of nature (number 1) and walked to Hauptbahnhof. There I was directed to go to Friedrichstrasse and change once onto the S1, if I wasn’t such an underground moron, I would have realized that the Brandenburger Tor is on the S1 and is the closest station to my flat!
I spent another 15 minutes trying to find the right platform and passing the same people over and over, staring at me, probably thinking “Moron!”. When I finally made it on the train, they asked us all to get off, two stations later, so Layla and I waited for the next one, which was rammed of course (it’s 23ºC in Berlin today)! The whole time I am bursting and thirsty at the same time. Get off the train at the Botanischer Garten underground stop (it’s actually called “Botanischer Garten”). Only to see signs saying Botanischer Garten, 1 km. I walk as fast as I can possibly go, pushing the buggy, turn the corner and…
.enormous line. Huge. Like Michael Jackson was back and giving his last ever concert or something (called: This is really it!”)
It strikes me that I should check how much money I have. €16 exactly.
My turn at the window, no cards, no EC, just cash. €6 ‘bitte’
I have €10.
After a blissfull 2 minutes in the ladies, I realize I am starving. I get a plate of bratwurst and potato salad from Beumer & Lutum stand. I have €5. Layla doesn’t like any of it, so I get her a dinkel vollkorn (wholemeal spelt) waffle from the guys that have the same stand at the Kollwitzplatz market on Thursday. €2.30 left. I am so thirsty, I am contemplating drinking the pond water. I splurge on a €1.40 glass of warm water, 200ml. Down to €0.90.
Layla spends the rest of our time at the gardens pointing at all the people with ice creams and saying “Mommy, ice cream!” over and over again. I tell her I have no money and explain that we live in the land of no credit cards, no EC and no cash points! The hundreds of people here (having ice cream and buying plants) must all keep their money stuffed under their mattress and take out a wad of €500 every time they leave the house (of course in bills no larger than €20 because no one has change for anything bigger????).
In the end Layla was content to buy imaginary ice cream by giving imaginary money to an imaginary man. She was nice enough to share it with me though.
Some days I feel like I am living in a country where everyone has done their homework while I didn’t even realize we had any?!
And the plant sale. It was pretty good actually, obviously I didn’t buy anything but it was nice to look. Despite the summer weather, the trees were only just starting to bloom but there were some wonderful crocuses and other bulbs.
Next time I go, I will have a picnic blanket, a bottle of water (a large bottle of water), €50 in €10 notes and hopefully it won’t take me two and a half hours to get there!