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Trip Report Music, Hippos, Alchemists and More: A Berlin/Prague Trip Report

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Background: My mom (50's), me (30's) and daughter (13) decided on a trip to Berlin for the last week of June, first week of July to visit my cousin who is studying there. We added on a few days in Prague as well. I like to have a daily plan of things to do as a framework and then go from there. It was a challenge to incororate everyone's interests, but it went pretty well overall. DM wanted museums, both history and art, and a smaller town side trip, and DD wanted beach, castle and zoo. I wanted Philharmonic and a good exploration of the Nikolaiviertel, where my family is from.

Apartment: We rented an apartment for this trip. Located on Gartenstrasse literally right behind the Nordbahnhof S Bahn station, it was a good location for us. Close enough to several restaurants and cafes, and right across the street from the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Tickets/Passes: We opted for the 7 day transit pass plus the 3 day museum card. This worked out very well for us.

Day 1: A Long day with a lovely ending

We arrived in Berlin at 2 pm from Boston after connecting through Heathrow. We arrived to find no luggage. The British Airways luggage office had a large sign that said on strike. Great. I went into the Lufthansa office where I was told by a very nice man that there had been a shut down of the luggage system at Heathrow for 2 days and that Tegel currently had 14,000 missing bags. In other words, find a store quick and buy everything you'll need cause you ain't getting your bags. Not a great start.

The driver was very nice and we easily checked into the apartment. We decided to hit the grocery store first to pick up things like soap and shampoo. I also wanted to make sure there was food in the apartment right away., very important If any of you know teenagers you know what I mean.

We had tickets for the Berlin Philharmonic at the Waldbühne for 6:00pm. I knew this was not going to be an easy time. Jet lag, a long flight, it was late. etc. But I really really wanted to see the Philharmoinc and this was my only chance as this was their last performance in Berlin for a while. I suggested I go alone but everyone wanted to come. They thought that before hand of course….

We made our way to the Waldbühne and had to wait about an hour in an enormous crowd to go inside. It was hot. We were standing. People were pushing. It was a challenge to keep the kid happy. We finally made it in and there was not one seat available I mean not one. We had open seating tickets. It's set up like an ampitheatre with just rows of bench seats. There were so many people!!! We couldn't find anywhere and the ushers told me to just give up it wasn't going to happen with 4 people. So we sat along the edge of the steps. I was pretty deflated. I was tired, hot, frustrated, feeling bad for dragging my family. And then, the music started. It was just so magical. The sound of that magnificant orchestra playing out into the night sky. It was just beautiful. It made it all worth it. We stayed for most, but not all of the performance. You have to know when to fold em sometimes.

We left around 10 and had a late dinner of pizza on the way back and fell exhausted into bed. Up tomorrow: Peacock Island and swimming on the Wannsee!!

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