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  • Writer's pictureNikki Martinez

Wandering Berlin, with Childlike Wonder

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

It's been a while since we've been out and about. The boys choose a kayaking adventure; we girls want city tripping in Berlin.

Traveling is different now: Negative testing is required everywhere; online booking before entry; limited slots. But with a little creativity, we can still do a lot.

So, we decide. No boring museums or adult cultural tours! Only 8-year-old-approved FUN.

There's the Zeiss Planetarium, one of the largest modern stellar theatres in Europe! And the Studio of Wonders, a recently opened playhouse for picture-taking!

Over 20 interactive installations, and no crowds, for once :)

"Follow your curiosity, get creative and just have fun," the girls at reception greet us.

And so, we do.

What else do we get up to in nine days?

There's the Zoo, and art stores...Boesner, Idee...and more art stores! We gush over paintbrushes and glitter glue.

Some museums we do check out:

We also linger in an artsy courtyard with galleries, outdoor theaters, and the magical Harry Potter store.

We peer into the BonBon Factory, where the candymaker crafts original Berlin bonbons, a 100-year-old art, before catching a clown act at the outdoor Galli Theater.

Walking the streets with my daughter, I'm aware that TIME is our greatest gift.

Time...that thing that can't often be measured or saved, or stored.

So we spend it, with joy.

I also spend it thinking, "As parts of the world reopen, is it less vibrant? Less safe to travel? When masks stifle our do we return to normal?"

We return the way Sunrise does after a long night: slowly, peeking at first, and then in full, soaking up all the good energy.

There are new sights, tastes, feelings. We listen to mixed languages on the street. The daughter asks me to teach her more Filipino words.

"Gutom na ako!" becomes her favorite line.

We turn a corner to Gleimstrasse and try Nepalese cuisine at Holy Everest. Simple outdoor tables, friendly staff, and a healthy, vegetarian Thali plate.

"Ang sarap!"

Strangers welcome us; local tour operators greet us with genuine smiles, relieved to be working again.

Our first steps may be slow, but they are still exciting. We walk with joy, feeling how our bodies were meant to move, meet challenges, and wake up to new beginnings. Walking rekindles that sense of wonder.

On the fourth day, we finally buy a train ticket.

The movement, chugging on underground tracks feels liberating. All my initial fears of venturing further are erased.

At the newly-reopened Futurium, interactive digital displays, and a cute robot welcome us. Here, everything revolves around the question: how do we want to live?

We want to live, with wide-eyed wonder.

We want to live in a world with space to create, discover, explore.

We want to live in a world where freedom means having a choice, and a voice.

We forget we're wearing masks, and focus only on happy things. At the river, we reach the water's edge and watch it flow.

The unicorn making rainbow bubbles at the Brandenburg Tor blows some magic our way.

We can't travel far yet, but we can move together. And travel, this time around, is about discovery, not distance.

We wrapped up the memorable week with a little work--Alex sat in a studio production while I recorded a voiceover for a United Nations Environment Program. Thank you to SoundGround Studio in Berlin and Tofu Creatives!


...What wonderful things--sights, sounds, or tastes--are you looking forward to on your next travel adventure?

Wishing you wonder, a new discovery, and more TIME with your loved ones this weekend!


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