Germany – Part III

***Continued from previous post.

{November 9 – 12:00 pm – Berlin}
On the ICE direct train to Nuremberg. (Cost: €194) The trains are so expensive! It should take about five hours to reach our destination. This morning we were up at 8:30 am (why, on our last day in Berlin, were we able to get up?!) to start packing our things. By 10:30 am we had checked out and walked down to catch the M5 tram to the stop just after Alexanderplatz. Hopped on the S-bahn to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Bought our tickets for the 11:52 am train to Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Grabbed some sandwiches to bring with us for lunch (discount with Welcome Cards).

{November 9 – 7:15 pm – Nuremberg}
Here we are in Nuremberg! The streets are cobbled and the architecture is beautiful. At the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof, we waited in line at the DB kiosk so that we could ask directions to our hotel, the Sorat Agneshof, and purchased bus tickets. Before leaving the station we found a grocery store and bought a few snacks. We absolutely love these refrigerated Kinder snacks:


Kinder treats (iPhone)

From the train station we hopped onto a local U-bahn train. After going a couple stops, we realized that we were heading in the wrong direction! I find the underground railway so confusing to use. We quickly got off and went to the other side of the platform and caught the proper train to Rathenauplatz. Then we transferred to bus #36 and got off at the Rathaus stop. From there we proceeded to get lost in the dark! We didn’t have a map with us and kind of wandered around, going up and down the cobbled, hilly streets dragging our suitcases until we ended up sitting on a bench in what turned out to be Albrecht Dürer Square. I stayed put, munching on a chocolate pastry and guarding our suitcases, while Jordan went in search of our hotel. Less than 10 minutes later he reappeared and told me that we had walked by the street earlier. Figures! Checked into our hotel. The room is small but it was cheap so no complaints! There is a bed, a television, and a good-sized bathroom, which is all we need.


Jordan & I heading to Nuremberg

{November 9 – 10:20 pm – Nuremberg}
After checking into our room on the second floor, we freshened up and went in search of dinner. The gentleman at reception gave us a few restaurant suggestions. More wandering around in the dark took us back to the square and past the castle, until finally we ended up at “Albrecht-Dürer-Stube”. This restaurant is just around the corner from the hotel and came highly recommended. Everyone sits around communal tables and the atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I ordered the pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage, while Jordan had the venison stew. (Cost: €25) We are getting low on cash, better find an ATM soon.


Room (Sorat Agneshof) Bathroom (Sorat Agneshof) Pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage

{November 10 – 6:25 pm – Nuremberg}
After being out all day (what else is new?!), we are having dinner at “Karl’s Brückla”, a restaurant we found randomly.

This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel to save ourselves some time. (Cost: €14) We got a map from reception and pinpointed where the nearest Deutsche Bank ATM is. Walked over to the Hauptmarkt (main square) and found the tourist info kiosk. Purchased a special group day pass for €8 which we will more than make up for just by taking the bus to and from the Documentation Centre. Looked around the square for a little while; all sorts of tables were set up with fresh produce, cheeses, lebkuchen, etc.


Agnes Sorathof Nuremberg Hauptmarkt Nuremberg

Walked to the Deutsche Bank and withdrew €250. And then returned to the Hauptmarkt to catch bus #36 to the Doku-Zentrum stop. Our plan for the day is to spend some time at the Documentation Centre & Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Admission with audioguide to the Documentation Centre is €10 per person. We spent over an hour in there, touring through the exhibits. Although it was very interesting, we got so hot and bored with listening to the audioguide that we ended up hurrying through the last few sections. Most of the information we had already read about in other museums. At the end of the tour we stepped outside to view the inside of the Congress Hall. We handed in the audioguides then went outside for some fresh, but chilly, air and ended up walking around the Congress Hall to take some pictures. Jordan really wanted to see Zeppelin Field so we asked directions inside the Centre, then set out walking again in the drizzle. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Centre. I’m glad we went because it was neat to see. The steps are crumbling and it’s “climb at your own risk” and the immense field is now a stadium.


Strange sculpture On the bus Documentation Centre Congress Hall View of Congress Hall across the water Pausing in the rain for a photo

Caught bus #36 back to the Hauptmarkt. Looked around at a few shops. I bought a keychain for Lori. Walked around for what felt like eternity before finding a place to eat dinner. I ordered the pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese (also came with salad and fries) and a delicious hot chocolate; Jordan ordered pork topped with a fried egg (with potato wedges, salad, and 2 beers). (Cost: €27) I couldn’t finish my amazing meal because the cutlets were huge!


Press this button for Breakfast

{November 10 – 10:30 pm – Nuremberg}
After that filling meal we hopped on the U-bahn at Lorenzkirche and journeyed to the train station. Purchased our expensive tickets for tomorrow’s ride to Geilenkirchen. (Cost: €230) Also got a couple snacks then returned to the hotel for the night. Too bad we couldn’t stay here longer because we didn’t get to see very much!


Zeppelin Field Hitler's platform Pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese Amazing hot chocolate from "Karl's Bruekla" Warming my hands

{November 11 – 1:25 pm – Somewhere between Wurzberg and Frankfurt}
On the noon ICE train to Frankfurt. Once there we change to another ICE heading to Aachen. From Aachen we will end up in Geilenkirchen where Tammy & Tyler will pick us up. We ate breakfast at the hotel again, then took the bus and U-bahn to get to Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof. We should be in Geilenkirchen by 5:00 pm.

{November 11 – 3:00 pm – Montabaur}
We barely made our connection in Frankfurt. Once we boarded and found our seats there was announcement stating that the train would be delayed 6 minutes. I hope that doesn’t mess up our connection in Aachen. Ate our chocolate cookies for snack.

{November 11 – 6:00 pm – Tüddern}
Made our train in Aachen. Tammy & Tyler were waiting for us in Geilenkirchen, with their dog Doug. Now we are just settling in.

{November 12 – 6:45 pm – Tüddern}
Yesterday we had veggies & dip, various cheeses, herbed crackers, and sliced sausages for a snack at Tammy & Tyler’s home. Later, Tammy made chicken kebabs, rice, and white asparagus for dinner. We sat around eating and watching “Top Gear” on Netflix for the rest of the night.


Trier, Germany

Funky statue (Trier) Porta Nigra Trier's Church of Our Lady

Thermal bath ruins

Today we drove for 2 hours to Trier and walked around the town centre. We bought “cone fries” (aka fries in a cone of paper that we fell in love with in Austria two years ago) and “pizza in a pocket”. Bought a couple postcards to add to my collection. Took some photos of the Church of Our Lady, Porta Nigra (near the tourist information building), and the thermal bath ruins. Beautiful day to be out! I should note that I finally had to pay for use of a toilet today. When you gotta pee, you gotta pee!

{November 13 – 2:40 pm – Tüddern}
Tammy had to work today so Tyler, Jordan, and I drove out to Aachen. We wandered around the area near the cathedral. There are tons of bakeries selling printen (Aachen’s version of lebkuchen). I bought a bag of miniature printen pieces covered in chocolate. The christmas displays in the bakeries are beautiful to look at. Jordan bought a cherry danish for a snack. We found a Starbucks and I had to go in to try the lebkuchen latte; it tastes like a light gingerbread with a lot of cinnamon. Jordan ordered a caramel macchiato and we enjoyed our beverages sitting on a bench by the cathedral.


Enjoying a danish in Aachen Aachener printen Aachen Cathedral

Our main reason for coming to Aachen was to visit the Lindt chocolate factory. Jordan asked for directions in the Starbucks and the girl gave him a free map with the route drawn on. We walked over to the factory, when we probably should have drove. Luckily it wasn’t raining and we all seemed to have plenty of energy thanks to our coffees. When we got near the factory we noticed a huge sign saying “Lindt Chocolate Factory” but neither of us noticed the huge arrow pointing to the left. Instead we kept walking straight and ended up having to walk around the entire perimeter of the factory to find the entrance. Oops! No photos allowed inside the factory and it’s cash or debit only. I went a little crazy seeing all the beautiful chocolate for sale but knowing we could only pay cash, I tried to limit myself. I ended up spending €34 on chocolate! It could have been worse….


Drinking a lebkuchen latte Jordan's caramel macchiato Lindt chocolate factory

Posing in Aachen

We got back to the truck by 1:30 pm just as our parking was about to expire. On the way back to Tüddern we stopped at a gas station in The Netherlands and bought some sparkling Lipton iced tea! Reunited at last with my favourite iced tea. And then the realization kicks in: Oh no, tomorrow we leave!


Sparkling iced tea (iPhone)

{November 14 – 5:30 pm – In the Air}
We’ve been in the air since 2:00 pm. Time to play catch-up.

Didn’t do much yesterday after returning from Aachen. Watched the boys play Forza Horizons on Tyler’s XBox 360. Once Tammy came home from work she heated up some cheesy tortellini for dinner. And of course we snacked on more bread, crackers, and cheese. We talked the boys into turning off their game and instead watched more “Top Gear” episodes that cracked us up. By 10:30 pm we had our things packed and were in bed. I can’t believe how much cramming I had to do to get all that chocolate to fit in my suitcase.


Leaving Germany Plane food A fighter jet outside my window

Tyler came home from work early and drove us to the Köln-Bonn Flughafen. Took about 1.5 hours. He dropped us off at Crew Gate Alpha. After getting the attention of some military personnel on the other side of a glass door, we were let inside and passed through security quickly. We waited outside for what seemed like ages before a bus showed up to bring us to the plane. Sat on the bus with four other people, also for ages, before being allowed to board the plane.

***End of journal.


Welcome home!

The food served on these military flights is so much better than other flights I’ve been on. Each time the stewardess came by, she would give me cookies! The flight home was fine. Jordan and I sat at the front for the first leg of the journey, which gave us lots of leg room. Once we entered Canadian airspace, two fighter jets came up along side the plane and welcomed the soldiers returning from Afghanistan. That was pretty cool!

My chocolate stash and souvenirs:


Kinder and Milka Lindt chocolate bags Yummy Lindt treats

More Lindt chocolate bars

Postcards Magnets

Germany – Part II

***Continued from previous post.

{November 7 – 10:00 am – Berlin}
Another dreary day. It’s cold outside; I’m thankful for my mittens and warm winter coat. Having breakfast at a small cafe just down the hill from the hotel. Scrambled eggs for myself and a bread/meat/cheese platter for Jordan. Reasonably priced. There’s only 2 little tables in the cafe.


Jordan's breakfast (Nov 7) Neue Synagogue City toilet

{November 7 – 7:45 pm – Berlin}
Eating dinner at “Kilkenny Irish Pub” at Hackescher Markt. Splitting a BLT sandwich, which is huge, some water, and pumpkin soup. (Cost: €10) Another long day that I’ll write about when we return to the hotel.

{November 7 – 9:00 pm – Berlin}
I think this is our earliest night! My whole body aches from walking and carrying my DSLR all day. My feet are sore. But it’s been a good day, despite the weather. So, after we finished breakfast this morning we returned to the hotel and filled up our empty juice bottles with water. That will save us a bit of money (mostly for Jordan, as he drinks a lot more than I do). Then we caught the tram to Hackescher Markt and walked over to Museum Island to the kiosk for the Neues Museum. The lady told us it was an extra €4 per person to enter the museum. Jordan was mad about that as we had already paid for the Welcome Cards that included Museum Island. We ended up not paying the extra money. I really wanted to see the Egyptian collection, including the bust of Nefertiti, but we are trying to save money here and there.


Reichstag government building

Next we hopped onto a double-Decker #100 bus and got off in front of the Reichstag building. Nice to finally see this place in the daylight. Took some pictures and Jordan took a couple with me standing in front of the building. Left there and walked back to get some daylight photos of Brandenburg Gate. And then finally continued walking until we reached the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. We walked through the stelae until we found the main entrance to the underground museum centre. We went through security (they scan our bags, coats, etc just like at the airport) and entered the free museum. The warmth inside was wonderful. We spent some time inside, walking through the Holocaust exhibits room by room but there was so much information and things to see that we just skimmed through. I don’t know how to describe the feeling I got from seeing the exhibits….


Brandenburg Gate in daylight Stelae Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in daytime

Jordan replicating a postcard we saw

Moved on to the Topography of Terrors building to use the free washroom and to see the Berlin Wall in daylight. So far we haven’t had to pay for use of a toilet! By then it was raining and we decided to make our way to the Natural History Museum. Took awhile to find Invalidenstrasse but I remember we took a U-bahn and then walked some. On the way, since we were getting hungry, we bought some fries from a currywurst stand. They were so good! While walking by Potsdamerplatz I spotted waffles so we stopped for one of those too (nutella and whipped cream). I ate the whole thing myself! Once we reached the museum we got reduced admission with the Welcome Cards. We spent an hour and a half there. The first exhibit room is filled with dinosaur replicas. As we continued through, there were many neat things to see like precious rocks, replica animals, solar system, etc.


Berlin Wall Fries from currywurst stand Belgian waffle with nutella Naturkindemuseum Jordan with a dinosaur Earth

Zirconia

Tiger Jordan at the museum Amorak truck

After that museum we made our way back to Hackescher Markt to the Irish pub for dinner. Jordan was determined that we would locate the Volkswagon dealership we had walked by on Friedrichstrasse the other day, so off we went again! We did find it, after asking a local who Googled on his smartphone, and spent some time looking at the Amorak truck. Boring for me, but fun for Jordan.

{November 8 – 12:00 pm – Berlin}
So jet-lagged still! I don’t remember feeling so tired and achy the last time we came to Europe. Ready to head out for the day. The original plan was to go to Charlottenburg Palace today, but it will depend on how we’re feeling after lunch. We should have been up early in order to spend a good amount of time at the Palace.

{November 8 – 1:30 pm – Berlin}
Still haven’t made it to Charlottenburg Palace. Took us forever to find a place to eat, like usual. I don’t know why that is. We seem to wander around for ages before agreeing on a restaurant or cafe. Finally we settled on “Cancun” in Alexanderplatz. I ordered the chicken quesadillas and Jordan’s having chilli. We shared a banana milkshake. (Cost: €15) Before we found the restaurant, we wandered around Alexanderplatz and viewed the giant World Clock. At a store just off the main square I bought a pink Berlin bag (Cost: €6), keychain (Cost: €4.44), and deck of cards (Cost: €3.95). The cards are for Angela.


World Clock Quesadillas at "Cancun" In front of Marienkirche and TV Tower Posing with a giant seahorse Grosser Stern Sculptures in Grosser Tiergarten

{November 8 – 8:15 pm – Berlin}
At the Landsberger Allee S-bahn station having pizza and chicken schnitzel cheap. I don’t know the name of the restaurant. We didn’t make it to Charlottenburg Palace as I wasn’t feeling well after our Mexican lunch (although it was delicious at the time). I felt better in the late afternoon and it didn’t make sense to go all the way out there by then. Mostly we just walked around and explored the city. Took a few pictures of the Rathaus (city call) and Marienkirche with the TV Tower in the background.


Funkturm (radio tower) Motorbike sculpture Pizza for dinner (Nov 8)

Ended up on an S-bahn to the Zoologischer Garten station, then bus #100 to Großer Stern (in Großer Tiergarten) to view the giant Victory column. We spent a bit of time there, but as it was raining and getting dark we wanted to keep moving. After taking some pictures, we caught the bus back to the Zoologischer Garten S-bahn station. Jordan had found something called Funkturm Tower (radio tower) on our map and wanted to see if we could find it. So we got on another S-bahn and headed over. We did end up finding it after a lot of walking. I’m not even sure which station we got off at. If I wasn’t so terrified of heights, we could have gone up the Tower in an elevator. I’m not so fond of elevators that you can see out of.

***Continued in next post.

Germany – Part I

Our short trip to Germany in November 2012 was a much-needed getaway. Both of us were feeling the stress of living apart and trying to sell our home, so we really needed this time together. I booked the time off work knowing that we wouldn’t know if we were on the flight out of CFB Trenton until 48 hours prior. We figured that if we weren’t able to go to Germany, we would still use our vacation time and go somewhere tropical instead. The reasoning behind Germany was that our friends are still posted near Tüddern and we wanted to visit them one more time before they come home in Summer 2013.

I had just over a month to save up some cash, and unfortunately I was only able to put aside $500 CAD. Once turned into Euro, that chunk turned into a measly €375, which I knew from our previous trip in 2010 would not get us very far. My darling husband agreed to withdraw cash once my money was used up, though, as the trip was his idea and his “treat”.

On November 3rd (coincidentally my sister’s birthday) we found out that our house was SOLD–I signed the papers at work–and that we were confirmed for a November 4th departure out of CFB Trenton to Köln-Bonn, Germany! Talk about an exciting day. The stress I had about the house selling and my worries about not being on the flight all culminated into a burst of happiness that day. And then I had to rush home to pack! Good thing I had already drawn up an itinerary, including a list of things to do and see. I do love TripAdvisor. 🙂

Once we leave Ontario, all times listed reflect local time in Germany (6 hours ahead). And so, my journal:

{November 4 – 8:30 am EST – CFB Trenton}
Here we are sitting in the waiting area at CFB Trenton. After quite the eventful drive (aka the search for diesel and an open gas station extremely early in the morning en route), we finally got checked in. And even that part wasn’t easy. A slight hiccup occurred and I almost wasn’t allowed on the flight due to my husband not putting my name down on his leave pass that his boss signed off on. Luckily they were pretty easy going and allowed him to login to something-or-other to show proof that I am indeed his wife. Crisis averted!

After check-in, we drove over to long-term parking and then walked over to the Mess Hall for breakfast. Since it was so early I couldn’t eat much, just a bagel with cream cheese. Jordan ate lots. Then we bundled up again and walked to the MP shack to register our vehicle. And yet another walk from there back to the terminal building. They really need a shuttle service in the winter!


Germany

{November 4 – 11:00 am EST – Quebec}
Short flight from Trenton to Quebec. I think we are in Montreal to pick up more soldiers. We are so lucky to be allowed on this military flight! The plane we are on is like a normal Air Canada plane, except that we can sit wherever we want. Just waiting around while the plane is refueled, then we will continue on our way. Next stop, Köln-Bonn Flughafen.

{November 4 – 5:10 pm EST – In the Air}
Just ate our second meal on the plane. The first meal was sweet n’ sour meatballs with rice and assorted veggies. The second one was a sandwich, cole slaw, gouda cheese, juice, and a package of “Ah Caramel”. We should be landing in about 1 and a half hours, sometime after midnight local Köln (Cologne) time.

{November 5 – 2:45 am – Köln-Bonn Flughafen}
Not off to a great start! We had a mishap with the train ticket machine and of course as it’s wayyyyy early in the morning there was no one around to help us. At first the ticket machine was not working at all… blue rebooting screen, loading screen, then it kept repeating. Finally the stupid thing loaded properly and we bought 2 tickets for the 1:30 am train heading to Berlin, only to find out that that train had already come and gone while we were struggling with the machine. We were very tired and irritable at this point. Now we are waiting for the 3:15 am train, hoping that we can still use the €194 tickets. So expensive–there goes most of my cash!


NH Alexanderplatz Breakfast omelet Single rose

{November 5 – 5:15 am – Near Düsseldorf}
At last we are on our way to Berlin after yet another issue. We are finding the tickets to be slightly confusing to decipher. First we jumped on the regional train to Köln Hauptbahnhof (HBF) and then transferred to the ICE to Berlin. We had to pay an extra €45 to stay on that train. Jordan was not impressed, especially after all the problems we’d encountered so far, and he tried to explain our situation to the ticket master (machine not working, original train leaving while we were in the midst of purchasing tickets, waiting around for hours in the cold, etc). I handed over the cash as I just wanted to sit in peace for the next few hours and not have to worry about changing trains during the journey. (The train ride from Köln to Berlin is about 5 hours.) The first ticket master couldn’t understand English but he got another one who could and after speaking with him he encouraged us to go to the customer service kiosk in Berlin since we had photographic proof that the ticket machine wasn’t working properly. I seriously hope we have no more problems because I want to enjoy this beautiful country!

{November 5 – 11:30 am – Berlin}
Berlin! We are sitting down to lunch near our hotel, the NH Alexanderplatz; starving and exhausted! Once we reached Berlin Hauptbahnhof, we purchased Welcome Cards (72 hours / Museum Island) that we plan to use tomorrow. The cards include unlimited use of the city’s transportation system in ABC zones, entry into the Museum Island museums, and discounts at other attractions and restaurants for €36 each. Jordan filed a complaint at the Deutsche Bahn customer service kiosk.

(Side note: We didn’t receive a refund for the extra €45, however a few weeks after our return home we received a DB voucher for €45. That’s great, but we can’t use it as we are in Canada. I ended up mailing it back to Germany to our friends’ place so that they could use it.)


Our room (NH Alexanderplatz) Hawaiian pizza from "Rocco" Halo sign

From the main train station we hopped on Bus #142 and got off at the base of the hill (Landsberger Allee) near NH Alexanderplatz. Our room wasn’t yet ready but they said to come back in a couple hours and it would be. Off we went to find something to eat! I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but the waiter was very exuberant and literally scooped us off the street and into his restaurant before we could protest. A huge cheese omelet and Sprite for me; cheese and fruit platter for Jordan.

{November 5 – 11:30 pm – Berlin}
After a very long nap (I think we slept 8 hours), we showered and around 10:15 pm headed out to find dinner. Apparently this is very late for eating, but we were starving again. Got on tram M4 at the base of the hill (€2.40 each) and got off at Hackescher Markt. Found a pub but they were no longer serving food. Walked over to “Rocco” and the guy there said the kitchen was closing soon but we could order pizza or pasta. We ordered a Hawaiian pizza, iced tea, and a Strongbo for €17. Not sure how much we’re supposed to tip around here.

{November 6 – 1:45 am – Berlin}
After eating we walked around for awhile to tire ourselves out. Not too cold, just wintry enough that we needed thin mittens and a hood to cover our ears. Walked by three prostitutes, which Jordan found amusing. Saw a Starbucks advertising lebkuchen latte; might have to try one of those! Finally we made our way back, on foot, to Landsberger Allee.


Ready for our first Berlin day

{November 6 – 11:30 am – Berlin}
So much for getting up early! I’m so jet-lagged, it’s unbelievable. All I want to do is sleep. Finally we are heading out for the day. Plan for the day: Find breakfast, er, lunch and visit some museums.

{November 6 – 9:10 pm – Berlin}
We spent the entire day walking around and exploring the city. I will write about our adventures once we return to the hotel. Right now we’re sitting down for dinner at “Roma” on Friedrichstrasse near the Orianienburger U-bahn stop. I ordered tortellini with tomato sauce, smothered in cheese, with a Sprite; Jordan had chicken and broccoli pizza and fries. The food is good but I’m so tired that I can hardly eat. After the waiter cleared our plates, we waited another 10 minutes and finally asked for the bill. Time to head back out into the drizzle and head home.


Statue in the lustgarten Berlin Cathedral Unter den Linden Pergamon Altar 087_2012_11_06_5534 Sitting with part of Pergamon Altar Ishtar Gate Vessels Islamic horn

{November 6 – 11:30 pm – Berlin}
Now that we are back, I will write about the day. Once we left the hotel this morning we walked to the grocery store at the base of the hill and purchased yoghurt with granola, 3 beverages, and a snack-size baguette sandwich filled with ham, mayo, tomato and lettuce. With our tummies full, we used our Welcome Cards to catch the tram to Hackescher Markt. From there we slowly walked over to Museum Island. Strolled through the lustgarten by the art museum and took some photos. Somehow we ended up missing the Pergamon Museum, which is what I really wanted to see, by walking right past the kiosk for the Neues Museum and turning down a long path lined with tall trees. The path lead to the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). We kept walking and eventually turned right onto Unter den Linden; after walking past the DDR Museum I realized we were going the wrong way. Sat down on a bench to consult our map and figured out that we needed to head back toward the Neues Museum kiosk and then keep going down the road to the Pergamon Museum. (All the construction going on is confusing.) Entry to the Pergamon Museum is included in the Welcome Card. We spent most of the afternoon in there, perusing all the neat artifacts. Photography is allowed so I took quite a few pictures. Bought a couple postcards and a bookmark on the way out.


Berlin Cathedral

After the museum, we wandered over to the Cathedral and for €4 per person (discounted with Welcome Card) we were allowed inside. Once we entered the sanctuary it was very quiet and awe-inspiring. The domed ceiling is beautiful. Non-flash photography is allowed. We sat in the silence for awhile, then continued our exploration of the cathedral; there are a lot of exhibits and things to see. Finally we walked up to the dome of the building using the indoor walkway; once outside, the views are unbelievable! Jordan took quite a few pictures. After that we did a quick visit of the crypt and then bought a couple cookies from the basement cafe.


Domed ceiling Town hall seen from Dome View from Dome 211_2012_11_06_5661 Brandenburg Gate at night The Reichstag at night

Back outside into the cold. Hopped onto double-Decker Bus #100 and got off near Madame Tussaud’s and walked to Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate). As it’s dark, pictures are difficult without a tripod. Walked by the Reichstag government building as well. Back-tracked a bit and discovered the outdoor Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The stelae are different heights and seem to go on in a maze. Once again, pictures were difficult in the dark. We ended up getting lost trying to find Checkpoint Charlie and ended up walking around the Sony Centre and the Topography of Terrors building. The outdoor exhibit was closed so we went into the Documentation Centre to warm up and use the free washroom. We viewed some of the exhibits but there is so much information to read that it would have taken us all night.

Finally found Checkpoint Charlie at Friedrichstrasse. Not that impressive. Decided to get dinner first before going in the museum. We walked and walked and couldn’t seem to find any restaurants that weren’t fast-food until we came upon “Roma” close to Orianienburgerstrasse. We decided not to return to the Checkpoint Charlie museum due to tiredness.


Berlin Wall memorial Sony Centre Reading info at Topography of Terrors Checkpoint Charlie Cheesy tortellini from "Roma"

After dinner we just missed the M6 tram and ended up walking back to Hackescher Markt. Caught the M5 there which goes past our hotel. However we didn’t realize that the tram doors don’t automatically open at each stop; you have to hit the “STOP” button to open the doors. Seems straight-forward now, but at the time we assumed the “STOP” button meant the tram would stop and the doors would open. We ended up going 2 stops past our hotel before we figured this out, and as soon as we managed to get off the tram we couldn’t stop laughing about it. Maybe the button should say “OPEN” instead of “STOP” for silly tourists like us?!


Reflection (iPhone)

Reflection (iPhone)


Back in our room. There is only one towel in the bathroom and the duvet on the double bed is twin-size. During our nap yesterday we must not have realized how little the blanket was. And there’s no way we were sharing one towel. I went down to the lobby and asked for more towels and a second blanket. The guy at reception didn’t seem to think it was strange that our double room only had one towel and one twin duvet, but more were sent up later.

***Continued in next post.