Friday, July 4, 2008

Der Unabhängigkeitstag

We had such a nice BBQ planned for the Fourth of July -- Berlin is full of parks and in many of them you can bring your own grill and have a cookout. I made star-shaped stracciatella meringue cookies with red, white, and blue sprinkles. I even tracked down sparklers so we could have a mini fireworks show. The weather has been perfect for the last several days: high 70s, blue skies with only a few picturesque puffy, white clouds. But we woke up this morning to thick gray skies and a precipitous drop in the temperature. And then it started to rain and didn't stop all day. As I wasn't invited to the opening of the US Embassy here, we dragged ourselves across the park to The Bird (an "American Steakhouse and Bar" - really an "authentic" American Burger joint, where they charmingly have "angry hour" instead of happy hour (so-named, I must conclude because the American staff there is trying (and succeeding) to outdo the famed Berlin rudeness) and declare that soft drinks and juice are available for "sissies"). It wasn't the most festive of Fourths, but at least the burger and fries were good. And, as we were traipsing back through the park, the Embassy was setting off their fireworks. We stood on the hill and watched the show (I provided a concert of patriotic (American) songs sung loudly and seriously out of tune for all within earshot).

So now that we've made what we could of this rainy Fourth of July, we are off to Ukraine. Why? (everyone asks): for a week of vacation or honeymoon number one (as I like to see it). We will try to avoid the radioactive berries and mushrooms, eat as many varenyky as possible, and possibly find out what all is fuss is (or was) about Chicken Kiev. Details to come......

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