Back from London, Paris, and Berlin

Jul 28th, 2004, 02:24 PM
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I think your travel mode with your son sounds perfect for parents with independently minded teens: have breakfast together, parent zooms off to explore while teen sleeps/relaxes at the hotel until s/he is ready to go. Meet up for a late dinner, and perhaps a stroll - perfect!

But the crucial west coast question - did he skateboard in Europe?

BowenLinda is online now  
Jul 28th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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He didn't skateboard, but then that's not his thing . This method did work out really well. We did do laundry together, and we spent the first evening in London before we left for Paris going to dinner and seeing a musical.

My daughter will be 14 when I take her next year, assuming all works out. I'm much more nervous about allowing her the same degree of freedom at that age. Not only is she younger and a girl, she's much more extroverted and less cautious by nature. I'm not sure how to resolve that.
WillTravel is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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In one instance, I was almost ripped off by a waiter in Paris when I paid. The bill was about 9.10 and I gave him 20 Euros. He tried to give me back only 0.90. Almost instantly he ran off. I stood stunned for a second and then I said fairly loudly something like "Why are you giving me back only 90 cents? I gave you 20 Euros." A waitress nearby called him back and without even hesitating he handed me the 10 Euros. I quickly took off, but so quickly I left my umbrella! The same waiter then ran after me with the umbrella when I was partway down the street. So was he being nice? Could it have been an honest mistake? (I doubt it.) BTW, I would have left a tip prior to the attempted ripoff, but was not interested in doing so afterwards.
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Jul 29th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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I took five of the Paris Walks and they were very much worth it: Ile de la Cité, Marais I and Marais II, Latin Quarter, and Montmartre. I would liked to have fit in more if I could have. All of the tour guides seemed really interested in what they were doing and quite knowledgeable.

In general on this trip, I found guided walks in all three cities to be very interesting, a good way to see a lot of things in a short time, and a bit of a nice social break, considering I was alone almost all the time.
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Jul 29th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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The recent question about the Reichstag reminded me of another incident in Berlin. My son went to the Reichstag around 8 PM and found a long lineup. While waiting in line, he was treated to a fair-size group of young American men talking very loudly with an incredible amount of profanity, again as if no one in the line could understand them! Then it came time for them to go through the security scan procedure. One of them had something or other, so it was taking a bit of time to sort out. The other men, again loudly, kept saying stuff like, "*!?x)!, let him go, he's not a terrorist", etc. My son was cracking up as he was telling me this, because it was amusing to watch and thought this was hilarious in a strange way and of course ridiculous.

Later in our trip we were eating at a cafe in South Kensington. Down the street comes a barrel-bellied American who yells loudly to his companions for all to hear, "So do you want to eat here or eat downtown?" My son got an attack of the giggles and had a hard time stopping, just because it all struck him as so funny to hear.
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Aug 1st, 2004, 08:43 PM
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Some pictures:



I'm most emphatically not a photographer and everyone has no doubt seen more than enough pictures of Paris. Berlin is a little less known, but still there are many better places to look than my pictures. But I know some people really like looking at amateur photo albums, so for those people, have at it!
WillTravel is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for sharing your photos. Having visited Berlin last year, I also agree that it is one of the most underrated city in Europe. I wonder if you have any more comments/thoughts on Berlin (or your son's opinions)?

BTW, I don't know if you read the "Bourne Supremacy" post on this board. The movie has lots of Berlin scenes, if that's of interest to you/your son.
yk is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 01:03 PM
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I read these entries with interest as I plan to go to these same cities at the beginning of September. Could someone suggest what kinds of clothes I should bring to suit all three cities? Is a raincoast/umbrella needed in early Sept?
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Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:45 PM
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yk, I have heard of that movie but haven't paid any attention. I'll definitely look into it.

TOMI, I suggest you have a rain poncho in your daybag and an umbrella. A waterproof windbreaker might be okay if you don't mind the weight (we got along without them). I'd assume the weather in each city will have evening temperatures in the 50s or 60s, and daytime temperatures from the 60s to 80s. I had all sorts of weather during my trip. Several days in Paris and Berlin were in the 80s and sunny. One night in Berlin we had what was described as the worst thunderstorm in memory. It was absolutely drenching (and was followed 36 hours later by a day that was nonstop rain). Several days in Paris were rainy and cool.
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Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:50 PM
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As to thoughts about Berlin, I have a really hard time getting away from thinking about the horrors of WWII and what the German government did, followed by a Communist totalitarian regime in East Germany. On Terry Brewer's tour he had specific stories about many different sites, such as here was the spot of the Jewish hospital and the Jewish girls secondary school and how they were "emptied." Here was the spot where Hitler would watch the parades; here was Herman Goering's "Air Transport" ministry (a cover for the air force Germany wasn't allowed to build according to the Treaty of Versailles). Here's a bit of the wall and here's how the guards would kill attempted escapees. And so on. So in a way Berlin is like walking among not-so-long-ago horrors. But of course that's not how it looks now and you can almost forget all of the horrors while looking at a newly constructed, reemergent city.
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