Prague Berlin Trip Report

Dec 19th, 2006, 11:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Sorry--was interrupted.

So, other hilites of the free walking tour: Original section of The Wall, and, for me since the last time I saw it was just before The Wall went up, Checkpoint Charlie.

Our guide made the 3-1/2 hour stroll thru central Berlin a real joy--we never contemplated leaving the tour once it started. While it was free, we gave him a good tip (as did most participants). The tour ended up on Unter den Linden near the Museum Island, and after that much walking we all agreed to go back to the hotel to rest a bit. While on the walking tour, we had passed a nice looking Christmas Market at the Gendarmen Markt and agreed to head down there after we freshened up a bit.

After a short rest, we headed down to the lobby where I asked the clerk the best way to get to the Gendarmen Markt. That's where we learned about the Kurtz Strecke fare for taxis. If you hail a cab on the street, you can go anywhere within 2 kms. for 3 euro. Great--so the 4 of us piled into a cab and headed to the Christmas Market.

The market had a 1 euro entry fee, but it was well worth it. Many Christmas Markets do have a lot of schlock and junk, but this one had many good artisans and artists displaying their hand made products. We had Gluhwein, Bratwurst, fried dough, etc. Bought some handcrafted items. Listened to the band and chorus singing Christmas songs. Pictures taken with the slightly tipsy Christmas Tree Man and a very jolly Santa. In short, a good time was had by all.

We did spend quite a while at the market, though none of us looked at our watches to see what time it was. We decided to the Reichstag Building.
BUT on the way, we knew we could not leave the area without a visit to Fassbender and Rausch both to admire their giant recreations of famous people, places, and things in chocolate, but to sample and buy as well. Among their very large chocolate creations are the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, the Reichstag building, the Titanic, the Brandenburg Gate, and Santa Claus.

We left the store about 45 minutes later laden with chocolate gifts, and sated with free samples that took the edge off of our hunger. Walked up to the Brandenburg Gate--very prettily lit up at night, and on to the home of the Bundestag. The dome really is quite spectacular--we went to 3 wrong entrances before finding the right one. I think it was on the west side of the building--up the steps. No problem getting in (it is free) though you do go thru a thorough security screening. They take you to the roof of the building in groups by elevator.

Once up there, we walked around on the roof for a while admiring the various views of Berlin at night. Then we headed up the dome. There are separate up and down ramps spiraling around the dome. You can look down into the parliamentary chamber (open government; legislators be warned--you are being watched). At the top you get a fine view of the city. The construction of the dome is also interesting--there is a shading device that can follow the sun.

We noted that within a few minutes of the time we entered the building, mobs of young teens showed up--school trips we think. Glad we got in before them, as we were getting pretty tired by now.

So back down to the street--in the park across from the Reichstag Building is a small park. On one side of the park someone had set up crosses with people's photos--apparently for people who died at The Wall; and protesting the government not bringing former secret police members to justice. At least that is what our taxi driver told us on the way back to the hotel.

We caught the cab in front of the famous and oh so expensive Adlon Hotel--rack rate from 420 to 12,500 euro a night. Anybody who is anybody visiting Berlin stays at the Adlon. So we got into our taxi and headed back to the Arcotel Velvet.

Our hunger was taken care of at the City Imbiss across the street from the Velvet--excellent donar kabobs for all.

We did take a nighttime stroll down Oranienburgerstr. down to about the Synagogue--the business ladies did not bother us or any other couples as far as we saw. I would also like to clarify that it's not as if there were herds of ladies of the evening massed along the street--just a few here and there on the side of the street with the restaurants (and ATM).

So to sleep.

By the way, except for the few scattered showers on our first afternoon/evening in Prague, we had no rain to this point. Weather cool, evenings briskm days partly cloudy to partly sunny--none of us got cold as we dressed in layers and were sure to have an outer layer that could resist any breezes.

RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 20th, 2006, 07:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Berlin, Tuesday, Nov. 28.

We woke up around 8:30 AM--Ambulance for breakfast. We both had Bio-museli cereal and croissant. For drinks I had a latte macchiato and Mrs. Fly some sort of a health/bio/organic/pyramid power fruit drink. 11 euro with a small tip.

The Pergamon Museum was at the top of everyone's list of things we wanted to see in Berlin. So once we got everyone up and fed, we took the pleasant and easy walk down Oranienburgstr. and Praesidentenstr., along the river and across one of the bridges. We crossed to the island near the Altes Museum and National-Gallerie, took a few photos and headed to the Pergamon.

We spent 4 hours in the museum. It is utterly astounding. The recreations of ancient temples, walls, buildings along with the sheer volume and variety of statuary, utensils, tools, and other artifacts is overwhelming. I am always in awe of what human beings from 2,000 to 6,000 years ago were able to accomplish without powered machinery. Intelligence, ingenuity, persistence, and the ability to marshall large numbers of people to a particular task can go a long way.

This is an absolute must-see museum--even if you don't spend 4 hours or more as many people do. Just viewing the highlights like the Pergamon Temple, Gates of Ishtar, and the Market Gate of Miletus is well worth the price (30 euro for 2 adults and 2 students).

We all ran out of energy around 2 PM--constant walking and standing, going up and down steps, and oooing and awwwing take a lot out of one. We skipped the display of Islamic Art--just too hungry and tired.

The hotel had recommended a couple of places near the museum island, so we headed for one of them: Brauhaus Georgbrau, Spreeufer 4, along the river just across the Rathausstr. bridge.

A very pleasant place--clean; shiny copper brewing equipment. We all went with small Georgbraus as we still had a lot of sightseeing to day. Very tasty. For our late lunch, 2 of our group had Brandenburg Bratwurst with mustard and brown sauce, Sauerkraut, and potatoes. Another had just a nice salad and potato soup with sausage. I ordered the special--Eisbein (boiled leg of pork) with Sauerkraut, mashed peas and boiled potatoes, a small beer and a schnapps, for € 9,99.

Everyone enjoyed their food, but my dish was definitely the hit of the meal. Never tasted better, more tender, succulent ham/pork. I gave everyone a taste and then had to beat them back away my plate. I would definitely return here--though in the summer I could imagine it being very crowded with its nice location along ther river. There is a statue of St. George and the dragon in the little square by the restaurant.

Leaving the restaurant, we headed back across the Museum Island--by the time we crossed the island (6 minutes?) the individual who only had salad and soup declared that she was hungry and needed (not wanted, needed) a Bratwurst on a hard roll. Fortunately, we had seen a Christmas Market along Unter den Linden not far from the river.

This was a free Christmas market, and was pretty good, though not as good as the one at the nearby Gendarmenmarkt. This one had more kids rides--ferris wheels and such. HOWEVER, it did have a wonderful Wurst stand, where our hungry Kamaradinen was able to assuage her "need" for a Bratwurst on a hard bun. Interesting to note: She used catsup on her Bratwurst. I would have thought this a sacreligous act that could result in at least life without parole--however, on closer observation we did find some younger Germans who were also using catsup. Maybe a fad among the teen set in Berlin, or a sea change in German food culture? The rest of us made do with fried dough and roasted chestnuts.

We were all quite tired and full of food and drink, so we hailed a cab and headed west to K'damm, the Kaiser Wilhelm Church (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche), and Ka-De-We, Kaufhaus Des Westins (Ka-De-We), the largest department store in Europe. Taxi--10 euro, and a very interesting conversation with the driver who made me use my ancient German; the more I used it the easier it got.

The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. It was getting dark now (after 4 PM), so we did not go into the church or the annex. The Kaiser Wilhem Church was largerly destroyed in WWII. The Germans decided not to repair it, rather to leave the remains as a reminder of the horrors of war. A modern church was built next to it, including a cross made using nails from Britain's Coventry Cathedral which had been destroyed by German bombs. A very moving sight.

Guess what? Another Christmas Market next to the church! Yea!!!! No more food this time, however some shopping was done to the further expansion of our Mastercard bill. This market had a mix of regional, national, and international goods for sale. Small and some of the merchandise was very nice.

The avenue to Ka-De-We was nicely decorated with many lights, trees, etc. and the streets were crowded with shoppers. Our first sight of Ka-De-We included the store windows decorated for Christmas. I'm not sure that Xmas purists would have been especially thrilled with the displays.

The windows had beautifully decorated Christmas trees--unique color combinations and decorations. However on a closer viewing, the dressed mannequins were somewhat short of traditional. Female mannequins were dressed quite provocatively--instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in onlookers heads, it would be closer to whips, chains, and bodice-ripping romance novels. We found it interesting (we are all pretty much Buddhists or other sorts of heathens).

The store is big. Big. The two couples had different goals--us for Christmas stuff, the younger set for clothes and shoes. So we separated and agreed to meet on the food floor in an hour and a half.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 25th, 2006, 02:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Ka-De-We does have it all. Mrs. Fly and I were interested in Christmas decorations, Christmas cards, and small gifts. We did pretty well, and prices weren't bad. We bought some Made in Germany wooden tree decorations; Christmas cards; some stuffed animals (Ka-De-We bear included); "certified" bits of the Berlin Wall--some on postcards; and a few other items. I was especially on the lookout for Ampelmann goods, but nothing in the store's assortment tickled my fancy.

Back together on the food floor, we enjoyed a snack of sushi and beers. Though not the same as in Tokyo, it was pretty good. We walked around the store a bit more, then got a cab back to the hotel (10 euro) to rest before dinner.

One of our party is a big fan of southeast Asian food, and there is a Malay/Singapore/Indian fusion restaurant right across the street from the Arcotel Velvet--the Mirchi, invitingly lit with torches and gas heaters.

Service was very good, the room interesting, and the food tasty (though, according to our expert, not as spicey as in the "old country.") Amongst the group we had: Shrimp shumai, wontons, chicken saytay (the least successful dish), prawns Singapore, chicken wok (a mountain of food), and something else I can't remember the name of. All-in-all an enjoyable meal with more food than we could finish.

It was 11:30 PM when we emptied our last bottles of wine and beer. So we headed across the street and to bed.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Alas, Wednesday Nov. 29, our last full day in Berlin and Europe for this trip.

We made our last day a daytrip to Potsdam to see Frederich's Sans Souchi and other palaces. Had croissants, coffee, juice for 4 at Ambulance, then took the U-bahn to the Friedrichstr. Station. Bought an all-day group ticket good for trains/trams/buses in Berlin and Potsdam for 15 euro. It was a 40 minute trip to Potsdam--quick and easy.

In Potsdam, there was a fellow showing visitors the way to the "bus stop." Unfortunately the "bus stop" he directed us to was for the tourist buses--he worked for the company. We were not interested in a tour bus, so we had to renter the station and walk to the other side for the main municipal bus plaza. No big deal--but the 10 or 15 minute delay did end up getting us soaked when it started to rain a bit later.

Got onto the #695 bus to Sans Souchi. The bus stop at the palace is actually a few minutes walk from the bus stop--and that's when we got our first real rain of the trip (we'd only had some scattered showers on our first evening in Prague). Of course we had all neglected to bring umbrellas as the weather report had been for partly cloudy skies that day. I had my trusty fedora on--offered it to Mrs. Fly but it didn't match her outfit. Everyone was already wet anyhow.

Got up to Sans Souchi, bought tickets, milled around in the gift shop for a bit. Went out and took some real atmospheric photos around the back of the place. The views are great with everything green and misty, patches of thin fog, eerie looking ruins in the distance, etc.

The tour was in German only, but Rufus Jr. and I spoke enough German that we were able to get the gist of what the guide was saying and pass it on to the non-German speakers in the crowd (about 1/2 of the people on the tour). Also the guide was very good about answering questions from English speakers and giving summations of her spiel as the group went from room to room.

Sans Souchi is opulent--It is good to be the king. It was built as a summertime retreat. The park area is huge and contains several palaces, pavilions, servant quarters, restaurants, etc. Think if you had all the money you could possibly want and a decorating taste that included a love of lots of gold and gems and rare woods--then pack as much as you can into a very large building. Opulent is the word. It is good to be the king. Being November, the gardens were not at all in bloom, but the "front yard" was still impressive. Several acres with broad steps leading to pools, fountains, and such. It's well worth seeing.

We again hopped the bus to visit the "New" Palace (the rain had stopped). This one was built for the King's guests--the University of Potsdam is nearby. We were all feeling a little bit hungry by now, and there was a little cafe right by the entrance to the New Palace. We stopped and 2 of us had potato soup with sausage, while the other 2 had cake and apple strudel, with bottled water and coffee for 18 euro.

As with Sans Souci Palace, the tour was in German, so our dimly remembered high school and university German came in handy. This palace is the ultimate guest house. In terms of spaciousness and the opulence of decor, it sure beats the spare bedroom of the Firefly's domicile. Again, we enjoyed the tour, but frankly I was feeling a bit weary (somewhat too much liquid refreshment the night before) and was not totally tuned in at this point.

I do remember one absolutely mad room (The Grotto Hall) with the walls entirely covered in minerals, semi-precious stones, and fossils, plus shells and other treasures from the sea. It's good to be the king.

We were in Potsdam from around 11 AM to 4:30 PM, including travel to and from the train station and seeing the two palaces. You could easily spend a couple of days in Potsdam as there's a LOT more to see than what we saw. But it was a very pleasant afternoon trip--even with the rain.

We mostly dozed on the train back to Berlin. Walking back to the hotel from the station along Oranienburgerstasse we saw a sign advertising a Karl Langerfeld photographic show. The women decided we should see it, so we went in. It didn't cost much. Apparently Karl was in love with some young American guy and took lots of photos of him in and out of various outfits and against various backgrounds. It was interesting, but not something I'd go back to see again. Finally got back to the hotel at around 6:15--warm showers, a bit of rest, and then to dinner around 7:30.

None of us wanted to go very far, so we asked the desk clerk if he could recommend a nice place nearby--not a German restaurant, we'd been gorging ourselves on German dishes for 3 days. He recommended an Italian place just about 3 blocks away on, as I remember, Hannoversche Strasse--under 5 minutes walk from the hotel if not counting store window gawking time.

It was called something Rossa--I think red horse or red stallion or red rider. Something equestrian at any rate. We have their business card, but I haven't been able to find it--I'll post the actual name and full address when I find the card. Because we really enjoyed this restaurant.

It might have partially been because it was our last night on this trip, but we just had a grand old time. Upon entering the place we were warmly and robustly greeted by the owner. The place was pretty full and we might have been the only tourists in there except possibly for the people who were speaking Italian at a nearby table.

All of the staff (I'm not sure they were all Italian, but I am sure they were not German--at least the ones who waited on us) were very upbeat, smiling, gracious, and welcoming. We were able to quickly arrange drinks (3 Prosecco with Holunder Sirup and 1 Camapari and soda). A couple of toasts and a few laughs later our wonderful appetizer platter arrived.

I must note that English was not really spoken by any members of the staff we encountered--but with our few words of German, their few words of English, hand gestures, smiles, and a couple of drawings, we managed to have a great meal. Not quite sure what each and everything we had was, but it was all delicious and none of it was moving on our plates.

Anyway, we had ordered 4 different appetizers that came out on one platter for us to share. All excellent. For the main courses we had: Pasta with lamb sausage (melted in my mouth, and so savory); ravioli with truffles; a wild boar special of the evening; and pasta with mushrooms, crayfish, and garlic sauce. Again, all excellent. Had a nice wine Novelle d' Montepulciano to accompany the meal. For dessert, panacotta with strawberries, affogato al cafe, and pistachio tartufo--plus coffee.

The food was great, and the service attentive, warm, and friendly without being obtrusive.

I have to go now, will finish this later.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 30th, 2006, 04:07 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 865
Wow! What a wonderful report! Just read it in its entirety. Don't know how I managed to miss it before.

Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. I enjoyed Berlin, too, and I absolutley love Prague. Two excellent choices.

Your children are so very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel with you and your wife. It sounds like the two couples traveled together very well.

Looking forward to seeing the pictures.
lucy_d is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 05:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Aha, the Italian restaurant our last night in Berlin was "Cavallino Rosso" -Hannoversche Str. 2
tel 030 - 27 90 83 14

Among the appetizers we had were tomatoes with fresh mozarella (Insalata Caprese); marinated artichokes; tuna canape-type things.

Mrs. Fly and I only paid for the booze, so I don't know what the final bill was. But pasta dishes were around 10 to 12 euro and seafood generally 15-20 euro. I don't remember any individual dish on the menu being over 20 euro.

Families with young kids: They also have a children's menu.

And a lunch menu with items ranging from under 5 euro to around 8 or 9 euro. Plus a lunch special with either appetizer and main dish or main dish and dessert (both followed by an espresso) for about 12 euro.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 981
GREAT report - I really enjoyed it. I realize this is relative, but did you feel like you had enough time in Prague? Your itinerary was made of sights we would like and at a good pace - were you satisfied with the amount of time your spent there? We too would spend just about a full day at the castle complex and would spend a lot of time at the decorative arts museum . . . I'm in the VERY VERY early stages of planning a trip and I'm trying to get a grip on how much time we would spend in this beautiful city.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
Margo_Chester is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 08:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Hi, Margo.

I think given the time of year we were traveling that 3 days were fine for Prague. If it had been warmer weather, we probably would have wanted to add a day trip or two.

We actually moved at a fairly relaxed pace in Prague--we didn't "schedule" anything, we didn't start out at the crack of dawn each morning, and if someone felt tired or needed to rest for a bit we didn't hesitate to stop for a while for a cup of tea or coffee or a beer or just a breather.

We did a lot of gawking and window shopping when walking from place to place as well.

4 full days would have been better, but 3+ days was just fine for our group.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Dec 31st, 2006, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 981
Thank you - that is exactly the type of information I was looking for. I usually schedule days so we know when things are open and can group activities together no matter where we go, but I do want our Prague trip to be a relaxed pace like yours. Thanks for answering me!
Margo_Chester is offline  
Jan 1st, 2007, 01:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
When I left off above, we had just finished a very pleasant dinner on our last night in Berlin. We strolled through the area for about 45 minutes on a meandering route back to the hotel--window shopping, taking in the architecture in the area, observing the night life around us. Nothing from this walk stood out, but it was a pleasant evening walk.

Before we'd left the hotel to go to dinner, I'd called KLM to see what time we should arrive at the airport (Tegel). Was told at least 2-1/2 hours before scheduled flight time--which would have us arriving at Tegel around 8 AM. So I told the crew to meet in the lobby at 7:45 AM. This was not greeted with much enthusiasm as no one wanted to leave Berlin to start with, and we had been rather relaxed about getting started in the mornings up to now.

I was in the lobby at around 7:30 to settle the bill and have them call a cab. There was bit of a problem with the bill as it didn't give us our internet discount rate for the last two nights of our stay. The desk clerk caught the error and corrected it with some computer fiddling. I had excess euro, so I paid part in euro and the rest with credit card. They called a cab and we and our luggage piled into a Mercedes and off to the airport.

Arrived at Tegel in about 25 minutes--a little over 2 hours before flight time. I like the way Tegel is set up--you're dropped right at your gate. It's not a large airport and it's easy to move about, though there isn't much moving about to do as you are at your gate when you enter the place.

But when we got to the gate, they said it wouldn't be open until 1-1/2 hours before the scheduled flight time-- whoever had told me 2-1/2 hours before was mistaken. So we went to one of the snack bars and had an assortment of goodies and coffee. I visited one of the shops and bought an Ampelmann coffee cup and a set of Ampelmann cookie cutters. (The Ampelmann sugar cookies I made for Christmas were a big hit with our little group as they didn't know I had purchased the cookie cutters).

We did eventually get thru security at our gate--though one of the group had absent mindedly put a jar of German mustard into her carry-on bag--a gift for a relative. It had to be dumped (though she did find the exact same mustard in a German store in D.C. upon returning home).

The day was cloudy and there was a little rain spitting down. We got very close to take off time before they put us onto a bus to our aircraft, so I knew there was some sort of delay.

Once on the airplane the pilot announced that weather problems and a temporary radar problem in Amsterdam would delay our takeoff for up to one hour. Fortunately the delay was only 1/2 hour as we started our scheduled 90-minute flight to A'dam.

Unfortunately we began to circle as we approached Schiphol--another temporary radar problem. We only had 50-minutes between our scheduled landing and the scheduled takeoff time of our flights to D.C., so I was hoping we might get a free night in Amsterdam.

By the time we landed, got on the bus and were deposited at Pier C, it was 12:30 PM. We decided to make a run for it to the other side of the airport. Rufus Jr. dashed off ahead of the rest of us (he was, after all, an All-American athlete only 2 years ago--not to brag or anything).

Sure enough, we made it to the gate just as they were moving to close boarding--takeoffs had also been delayed by the radar problems. No free night in Amsterdam.

The aircraft was only about 2/3 full, so I left Mrs. Fly the two side seats we had reserved, and moved across the aisle to the center row where there were four empty seats--the aisle seat on the far side being the only one occupied. It was nice to be able to stretch out a bit--though I let the Sri Lankan lady in that other aisle seat take most of the space as she had already been traveling all day from Dubai.

The flight was uneventful--typical airline food. Friendly cabin crew. On demand movies and TV shows again made the flight go quickly. The 4 coffees with Bailey's Irish Cream that I had helped a lot, too. Enjoyed several non-USA films and some creative short subjects. Chatted with the Sri Lankan lady when she wasn't snoring. She was on her way to Arlington, Virginia to work as a domestic for a couple from Saudi Arabia. She was concerned about the cold weather and how she would react to it. I filled out her immigration and customs forms for her.

We landed at Dulles about 1/2 hour early--around 3:15 PM. No problems at immigration though there were a lot of people--the line moved right along. Our luggage was waiting at the carousel and we breezed through customs with only a hello and "Welcome Home" from the customs agent.

One thing I don't like about Dulles is that they do not have any private parking lots at the airport--at BWI you call the private lot when you get your luggage and a shuttle is usually there by the time you walk out the door. And they drop you right at your car.

Since we were in the public long-term lot we got to wait about 15 minutes before a gold lot bus came along--fortunately we had a parking space right by one of the parking lot stops because it was raining.

We knew that returning to the D.C. area in mid to late afternoon would mean we would have to fight rush hour traffic on the way home to central Maryland. And it was just gawd awful! Adding to the rush hour mass was construction on the airport highway and on the Washington Beltway, plus a couple of bad accidents.

It normally takes us about 1-1/4 hours to get from Dulles to Westminster, Maryland--after 1-1/4 hours we hadn't even made it half way. So we stopped at a Japanese/Korean restaurant we know and let the traffic sort itself out while we had sushi, tempura, tea, and sake.

Arrived home around 8:30 PM. Tired but still with a glow from our trip memories.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2007, 07:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
These are the places and things that stick out in my mind--that does not mean that all the other sights and experiences were not worthwhile; these are just what stuck with me the most.

Both hotels, the Bellagio in Prague and the Arcotel Velvet in Berlin, had good service, up-to-date rooms with more than adequate space, and excellent locations. I recommend them whole-heartedly and we enjoyed our stays. However, we are not normally big hotel people--we've always preferred B&Bs or smaller, family-run places. Places where we can get a feel for what it's like to actually live in a real, typical dwelling of the area--even if only for a few days. We enjoyed the hotels, and they certainly have certain advantages and extras we don't normally get at B&Bs, but we missed what, for us, are the advantages of the smaller places.

We enjoyed our car ride from Prague to Berlin--Mike's Chauffeur Service did a great job at a reasonable price, and we had some interesting experiences along the way (as well as some enlightening commentary from Uncle Jan now and then). It's the first time we've hired a driver--always used rental cars and trains before--and we enjoyed it for this particular situation.

While we mostly walked in both cities, public transportation was easy to use and reasonably priced.

Cabs in Berlin are a pretty good deal, especially if you have 3 or 4 people in your party. And the trunk of a Mercedes cab can easily carry luggage for 4--if 3 of the 4 use carry-on size suitcases.

Tegel is a very manageable airport with a very "user-friendly" design, at least it was for us on our travel day.

It's hard to find a bad beer in Prague or Berlin--they may exist, but we didn't find them in spite of frequent samplings. You might not care for a particular style of beer, but it's not because it's bad beer.

High points in Prague: Prague Castle with its various palaces, churches, lanes, musuems--and views from the Castle; Decorative Arts Museum; pub meals and beers; Mucha Museum; museums and cemetary in the old Jewish quarter; wandering around and enjoying the architecture--old and new.

High points in Berlin: Our room at the Velvet--comfortable but different from other hotels; Eisbein and beers at Brauhaus Georgbrau and pork schnitzel and beers at Baeren Schenke; Gluhwein and Bratwurst at the Christmas markets; the Ka-De-We experience; brushing up on my German with the cab drivers and desk clerks and anyone else I could find with patience; Kaiser Wilhelm Church; the free 3-1/2 hour city walking tour; the new Holocaust memorial; the Pergamon Museum; Potsdam/Sans Souci; book burning memorial; fun dinner at Cavallino Rosso--my newest favorite Italian restaurant outside of Italy and the USA.

Sharing the experiences with a couple about 30 years (MORE or less) younger than us, and seeing through their post-1970s eyes as well as our own post 1940s eyes (and vice-versa).

And as corny as it may be, meeting nice people in both cities--people who were willing to help without our asking; share some of their life experiences across the bar over a couple of beers; and to turn what would have been a wonderful tour of the sights into a memorable life experience.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 641
RTF, thanks so much for a lovely trip report.

Woody is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,404

Thanks for the report. Enjoyable as always.

If you don't mind, I have a couple of questions:

Did you eay any currywurst in Berlin?

Did your younger friends make a side trip to Dresden?

Bird is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Hi, bird.

No the currywurst--I'm allergic to cumin, so I can't eat anything with curry.

As to Dresden, there was so much to see and do in Berlin that they decided to visit Dresden on a future trip. They had "read" somewhere that there wasn't that much to do in Berlin but changed their minds pretty quickly after the first day.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 891
Tagging for future use.....
sallyjane3 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 05:10 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 891
Great report. Tagging for use for my trip!
sallyjane3 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 09:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Topped for Sir911
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,404

In retrospect, if you could have added a couple of days to your trip, would you add them to Prague or Berlin?
Bird is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Tough one, Bird, but looking back I would say Berlin. There is just so much to see and do in the city.

However, if we'd been there in a warm weather month, I might opt for Prague because there are several day trips I'd like to make in that part of the Czech Republic.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 16th, 2007, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,053
almesq is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:25 PM.