Saturday, May 21, 2011

Train Troubles...

                           An Eichelhäher in the cemetary

Monday, March 28th--Bright and Sunny!

We get up early and head over to the Jewish Quarter to visit the old cemetery. It is an enclosed area about half the size of a football field, tucked between buildings but at least twenty feet above sidewalk-level. It is heaped with rows of jutting gravestones because it was the only area allowed for burial when the Jewish community was confined to a small, swampy corner of Prague. Graves would be continuously added on top, raising the cemetery overtime to its current height. The nearby Pinkas Synagogue was especially impressive and sobering with its walls covered in the names of local victims of the holocaust. It also contained a small exhibit of artwork done by children in the Terezien Ghetto. The Spanish Synagogue was our last quick stop before heading back to the hotel to catch our taxi to the train station.

Troubles…the person who had taken our reservation for the train yesterday had written Sunday’s date on it rather than Monday’s…We go to ask for new ones and learn of an accident that had delayed the train for 2 hours. Just wonderful. (They also wouldn't give us new reservations, so we decide to chance it and not buy new ones) We eat lunch and take a walk outside the station while we wait for the train. While out, we notice a girl frantically calling after her German shepherd, who was not paying her any attention. Afraid that the dog might run out into traffic, we stop for a while to see if he would run our way. He does. My mom and another man detain him while his owner catches up. It was rather strange because he still won't come to her. She had to put his collar back on and drag him along to get him to go with her. Later, we saw her in the park with him. He is loose, chewing on a stick by her side. We observed many dogs loose in Prague, but I can’t imagine why she would so readily let him loose again after he had run away. Apparently he was under control and minded her better.

Finally on the train headed for Berlin. The scenery is gorgeous, but I wish we were just a few weeks later, as I’m sure everything would be much greener. The river runs below the tracks to the rights for much of the journey out of the Czech Republic and into Germany, bordered by sloping hills and cliffs dotted with picturesque villages.

We meet Eddie at the train station and drive to Neukölln. His house is near a large field where the wall once stood, separating them from Eastern Germany. Waiting at home are Eddie’s girlfriend Ina and her cousin Sabina. Dinner consists of leftovers from Eddie’s 70th birthday over the weekend—Tiramisu, meatballs, potato salad, bread, cheese, and cold cuts. We are also introduced to Eierlikör—or egg liqueur—which is Ina’s traditional way of greeting guests. It is a thick, syrupy composition made from egg yolks, liqueur, and sugar. They also suggested serving it over ice cream. Mom hated it, I thought it was ok. It probably would be better to serve it as a sauce rather than drink it, because it is so thick.

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