On our last day of vacation before the school year begins, we took a leisurely stroll through the Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest and probably most beautiful park. Known as “das grune Herz der Stadt” (the green heart of the city), the park offers endless opportunities for exercise, relaxation, contemplation, and even nude sunbathing.  In the midst of this peaceful afternoon of aimless ambling, we came across a professional womens’ in-line skating race that snapped us out of our own personal reveries.

As many of my friends know, I have fantasized (yes, it’s a fantasy because I am chicken and very insecure about my athletic abilities) about taking up in-line skating in Berlin. I loved roller skating as a kid but never mastered ice skating as an adult in Montana.  In-line skating seems like the happy middle ground; it appeals to the kid in me that wants to feel the wind in my hair and the older me that wants to buff up my middle-aged body.  The professional women skaters were a bit intimidating, but they were followed by a group of non-professional women racers who were a lot slower and didn’t have absolutely perfect bodies.  These women inspired me, so who knows, maybe I’ll be in the race next year.

After I tore myself away from the dazzle and excitement of the skating races, I was once again  enveloped by the calm and soothing atmosphere of Berlin’s Tiergarten. Whether it be food, culture, nature, or sports, Berlin seems to offer enough opportunities for discovery and enrichment to last a lifetime.