Sea Life Berlin (or, Berlin, you are no Bangkok)

If you know my son, you know he loves sea creatures. He may be in an insect phase at the moment, but the underwater world is his first and deepest love.

As luck would have it, Sea Life Berlin is within walking distance of my brother-in-law’s house. I’m familiar with the Sea Life aquarium brand from our breathtaking trip to Bangkok Sea Life Ocean World last year, which was the most spectacular aquarium I’ve ever visited. Seriously, click through and look at our photos from last year. That place is amazing.

Compared to Bangkok, Berlin was just kind of…meh.

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Sure, there were some weird things…

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and some close encounters…

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and some things lurking in the deep…

…but none of the drama and majesty of the Bangkok experience.

The highlight, though, was the AquaDom, the largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium in the world. It holds a million liters of water, 1,500 fish, and is 25 meters tall.

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Photo credit: By Dellex – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7511724

More than just a huge fish tank, there is a built-in transparent elevator in the middle.

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The ride up and down takes about eight minutes and was the highlight of our visit to SeaLife Berlin

I’ll just close with this gorgeous photo from Bangkok. Perhaps if my expectations were a tad high.

Bangkok sharks

Don’t feed the wildlife

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A Few Days in Berlin

My brother-in-law lives in Berlin with his family, so we headed north for a long weekend. It was Hugo’s first time to meet his cousins in person and to say he was thrilled to have another child to play with would be an understatement. He would disappear into his cousin’s room for hours at a time, the two of them playing with Lego or dinosaurs or Star Wars ships or whatever it is little boys do, while we adults happily sipped our coffee in peace. This is why people have more than one child, right? They play happily together all the time, right??

We did a little sightseeing, too.

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We wandered through the Brandenburg Gate

And in and out of the concrete monoliths of the Holocaust Memorial.

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There were a lot of other visitors on such a bright, sunny weekend

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It doesn’t take long before you are alone in the narrow canyons

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Known formally as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, it consists of 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern. They are designed “to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.”

Not everything in Berlin was a somber reminder of turbulent history. We had a chance to visit the farmer’s market at Kolwitzplatz and eat food from food trucks.

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I think Hugo will eat pretty much any kind of food from a truck

But mostly the weekend was a chance to reconnect with family we don’t get to see in person very often.

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Plus lots of shoulder rides, Lego space ships, and trips to the playground.