What a treat Tuesday morning, April 3rd, revealed -- trying to decide which of the numerous buffet items to choose from for breakfast - varied selections of breads and pastries, croissants, hard boiled eggs, several types of meats, cheeses, yogurt, several juices, milk, tea and coffee. Anna and two other employees kept the buffet well supplied until after 9 AM! Everything we ate was delectable! A fantastic way to start our Berlin adventure!

After breakfast we met up with our daughter Kaitlin and took the U-Bahn then S-Bahn trains and then bus transfer southwest of Berlin proper to a small town called Kleinmachnow. Our daughter escorted us around town and we walked to the Berlin Brandenburg International (BBIS) school, an International Baccalaureate school, where she is currently student teaching (hence one of the reasons for this trip). Along the way, we saw various trees and flowers already blooming, much earlier than when we left Colorado! An older man was walking his very cute Westie in a forested area not far from the BBIS. After touring the school grounds, we opted to walk a path that led us through the forest along a large lake. After a very long lakeside walk, we climbed a short distance to an abandoned castle (our retirement home, Kaitlin kidded), the Hakeburg Castle. The huge, stately castle sat overlooking the lake through the trees and was a complex of marvelous older buildings, complete with a cobblestone courtyard and conservatory on the side of the actual castle as well as a neglected formal garden area in back. We lingered there a short while, looking around and dreaming, if only that MegaMillions jackpot were ours! Finally we hiked back down a different (and, thankfully, shorter) path to where we had entered the woods. Opting to go back to the bus stop a different way, we walked back down the hill through a residential area (and saw two honest-to-God fixer-uppers for sale) to wait for Bus 623 to take us back to Berlin Zehlendorf.

After our extensive morning walk, it was time for lunch. Tomasa’s Restaurant’s posted menu had some interesting gluten free options so we decided to try their food. Kaitlin and I decided, not being as hungry as the others, we would share the gnocchi with shrimp and lachs. This turned out to be a fortuitous plan because the food portions were HUGE! The dish was very tasty and paired wonderfully with my Berliner Weisse (a very famous Berlin drink of weiss beer and raspberry syrup – yum)!

After lunch activities included more walking and riding the S-Bahn train to the Brandenburg Tor with a short stroll through part of the Tiergarten, all the while taking many snaps with the camera. Back past the Tor and the US Embassy onto Unter den Linden (where the street is appropriately lined with linden trees) led us to the Volswagen Automobil forum Bentley/Bugatti showroom on Friedrichstrasse. Upon entering the showroom/museum, a black Bugatti Veyron (th red accents, of course) was prominently displayed -- a source of much excitement for those brave enough to enter the building. While my husband Randy stood in awe, enjoying the view of the fastest European supercar in existence, I marveled (and took multiple photos) at the Bentley sedan displayed next to the Veyron. After a short tour of the rest of the museum, we walked south on Friedrichstrasse to the Ubahn station, hopped the U1 back to Uhlandstrasse and walked back to Hotel-Pension Kassandra.

Once we left Nana back at the room to recooperate from the day’s activities, the rest of us walked a few blocks and discovered a small health food store to stock up on some gluten free snacks. Then back around the corner to Uhlandstrasse we looked for a Konditorei to consume some late afternoon coffee and cake. At Kaffee Rosterei there were many tea and coffee varieties to select from, as well as multiple types of cakes and pastries (even a gluten free cake)! After a relaxed hour with a large latte and slice of cake, we meandered back to the hotel for the remainder of the evening.

Updated: 2012-06-27T15:28:07.908-07:00