Traveling to Europe has always been a dream of mine, and one that has finally been realized.
Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Berlin, Germany, for the debut of the all-new Smart ForTwo and Smart ForFour. Although it was for work and we only had a day and a half on the ground, it was well worth the long trek. Flying business class didn’t hurt, either. We left Monday afternoon, and after a quick layover in Amsterdam, we landed in Berlin Tuesday afternoon.
The World Cup had just come to a close as well, and as we came upon the baggage claim in Germany, we saw all these red suitcases with numbers. Turns out the German soccer team’s flight landed around the same time as ours. The airport was swimming with people trying to get a glimpse of the new World Cup champions, but we were on a schedule and couldn’t stick around.
The half hour drive from the airport to our hotel gave us a good look at what the city had to offer, and I was surprised how much it reminded me of New York City. It was completely different, but it had that same air about it. We got to our hotel and only had a few minutes to freshen up before we were off to lunch in the city.
Afterwards, we were able to visit the Daimler Art Collection at Haus Huth, the last house standing in its neighborhood after WWII. The building itself offers so much history, but the art collection it houses was truly spectacular. I’ve never been a big art person, and modern art even less so, but there were a few pieces that I couldn’t help but appreciate. The writer in me wouldn’t let me just pass by them without a photo or two.
We were greeted by one of the curators of the collection, and were given a brief overview of the current pieces on display from the collection, all the way down to the couch we were sitting on. Yes, even that was part of the display.
My favorite piece was by the artist, Gertrude Stein. The piece itself doesn’t seem much like a poem, but artists take liberties in their work and this one just seemed to grab my attention and refused to let go. Pictured are three frames consisting of the same dance steps. Stein draws a line to specific words in the explanation below, and the title of the piece, Repetition, fits perfectly.
The poem itself reads:
This is my good side.
This is my bad side.
This is my suicide.
These are good lines.
These are bad lines.
These are borderlines.
After our trip to the art gallery, we were off to the hotel to hop on some Smart eBikes, bicycles with a small motor attached to them to help when traveling over long distances. Although they don’t actually pedal for you, the bikes give you a boost whenever you get tired or are going up hills. With four speed and power settings, it was an intense and fun ride. Our short trip took us around some of the more important museums of Berlin, and a local coffee shop that everyone in the group was raving about. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, so I took my time taking in the sights during the hour and a half ride. It didn’t help that it was blazing hot, but it was fun nonetheless.
But we didn’t travel all the way across the globe just to take in the sights. We were there for work, even though we seemed to have a lot of downtime. The next day it was time to see the debut of the all-new Smart ForTwo and ForFour. Of course, these were the Euro Spec models, but we could extrapolate what we thought would be heading to the states.
We arrived at the Tempodrom to a mini festival. Pun intended. There were women walking around with tutus filled with miniature macaroons and cupcakes. It was a delicious site. But what caught my eye the most was the beach volleyball. Yep. In the middle of the event, there was a temporary beach volleyball court, complete with the Olympic German team. I was awestruck to say the least. Luckily, I was able to have a conversation with one of the players, and I have to say just how nice this man was. It was a great experience and one I would love to repeat.
The card debuted in spectacular fashion, and from then on, it was a giant party filled with good company, great drinks, and amazing food. This trip was too short for me and I do hope I get the chance to travel back to Berlin in the future. A day and a half was too short.