tom911 goes to Berlin and Prague

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by tom911, Nov 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Hello this Friday morning from Berlin. Just after 0700 (8 hour time difference from CA). Clear skies and 10C (50F) when I landed here at 1130 Thursday morning. High today is forecast to be 12C (52F). No sign of rain.

    WEDNESDAY

    Caught the 0940 Benicia bus to BART and was on the train about 1015. Arrived at SFO just after 1130. Checked in for my UA coach flight to Frankfurt, with connection to Berlin on Lufthansa. Tried to do this at home but the web site could not check me in for the second flight. Walked over to Subway in T3 for a sandwich, back to the international terminal to start boarding at 1310. Flight departed on time just before 2pm and was a half hour longer than normal due to headwinds (flight time 11 hours). This is an award ticket though I do have to pay over $180 in taxes. About $50 of that is for three domestic flights in Germany that are assessed a green tax. If I had flown to and from Frankfurt I would have paid $129 in taxes. That didn't work (I checked) because discounted advance-purchase train tickets were already gone between Frankfurt and Berlin and I would have paid a lot more than $50. Just captive in this situation and have to pay.

    [​IMG]

    I had a Samsung tablet along packed with video and music and that was much needed on this flight. UA has screens in front of the cabin in their 747s, so you watch whatever they decide you're going to watch. I recognized two movies, one a new one in the Planet of the Apes series, and the other a cartoon feature with talking cars. There was also an interview with a celebrity and a movie that I didn't recognize with some type of army theme. Instead, I watched a movie on the tablet, 4 hour long TV shows, and listened to some music. No power ports in coach, though the battery lasted the whole trip (probably better than 8 hours with what I viewed on the train). Don't think I slept more than an hour as we arrived at what would be 0100 in California.
    Was glad to make it through Oakland without any disruption to BART service. I had allowed an hour extra should there be any problems with the Occupy Oakland protest.

    Dinner was choice of pasta or chicken, and breakfast was a banana, yogurt, cherry filled pastry, and biscotti. On arrival at the Frankfurt airport I popped into the Lufthansa Senator lounge for a decent roll and some mystery meat and cheese. Those airline rolls UA gives you with dinner are horrid so was nice to have a selection of about 4-5 different kinds of decent rolls for my sandwich.

    THURSDAY

    Took the bus to the main train station (hauptbahnhof) and it was nice enough to just walk to my hotel. Underestimated the distance as I was thinking 30 minutes and it ended up being 45 minutes. Along the way I passed the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and Potsdamer Platz which is a new area with shops and restaurants where the Wall formerly stood. When I first got off the bus I could not sort out what direction to go due to all the construction. I had downloaded the Trip Advisor Berlin application which has an interactive off-line map that worked perfectly here. Walked through the train station, went out a different exit, and was on my way.

    I'm at a Holiday Inn Express that's just a block from a, S-Bahn train station. I'm on a 2 for 1 rate that breaks down to $59 a night and includes breakfast and free wifi in the lobby (you have to ask for a code).

    Took a long nap (4 hours) after I checked in and was back out at 1830 for a 4 hour walk about. First stop was a doner kebap shop I've been to before that's very popular in this neighborhood and has indoor seating. Hit an ATM machine in the three story shopping center at Potsdamer Platz, popped into the Saturn electronics store for a look about (only 2 stories where the one by the zoo is 5 stories), walked to Brandenburg Gate and the U.S. Embassy,, up Unter der Linden towards Alexander Platz. Walked a couple bocks around that area sorting out hotels for a future visit (there's an ETAP by Accor, Park Inn by Renaissance, and Motel One which may be a German brand that also has a location by the central train station), all very conveniently located. One of the two airport buses starts from this area. Lots of old Soviet-block style buildings in this area still being converted to commercial use.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As I probably walked about 5 miles, opted to grab the U-Bahn to Potsdamer Platz, and then a change of train to the S-Bahn. This is all covered on a single ticket which is good for 2 hours and costs 2.3 euros (about $3.20). If I intend to do a lot of travel I get a day pass for something over 6 euros ($8.40). Vending machines with video displays in multiple languages are easy enough to sort out. I did check some restaurant menus in the area and might do dinner at one of those on Friday. A number of them are under $20 for a main course. Also checked out three Accor hotels that are just around the corner (an ETAP which has free wifi, Ibis and Novotel Suites). The ETAP can be less than $60 off season. I'm trying to deliberately book properties with wi-fi included when I can.

    Was back at the hotel about 2230. Checked my e-mail and some news sites and then called it a night.

    New photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Eu...n-November/19901842_tVgXMx#1566109254_NfSWjJg
     
  2. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Love Prague. My favorite city to visit. What do you have planned for PRG?
     
  3. dmel

    dmel Gold Member

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    I've only been once, for work. Part of our team is there. I keep trying to figure out work-related reasons to petition my manager to go back!

    Looking forward to the PRG pics, Tom!
     
  4. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I was last in Prague about 10-12 years ago. I remember I stayed in a hostel that was $8 a night. I've gone upscale now. I'm burning some AA miles for a 4 star hotel and will be there 4 nights. Get breakfast and wifi with that. Cost about 26,000 miles with EXP discount.

    4.5 hour train trip tomorrow morning at about $40. Will crack the guide book open on the way there to refresh myself on things to do.

    Tom at a Starbucks off Hackecsher Markt taking a break
     
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  5. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Hello this Saturday afternoon from Prague in the Czech Republic. I booked a train ticket on-line from Berlin to Prague for 29 euros ($40). This is a Eurocity train, not one of those sleek white ICE (Intercity Express) trains that I love traveling on in Germany, so we have compartments with 6 seats in second class. This is one long train trip at 4 hours 40 mins. At the first stop, just 5 minutes out, we filled our compartment though those folks emptied out at Dresden, about halfway through the journey. Rest of the way I had just 1-2 folks in my compartment for shorter journeys and could stretch out. Power outlets were available but I did not need them.

    Was down for the hotel breakfast in Berlin at 0630 and checked out at 0730. Went to my nearest train station at Anhalter Bahnhof for the S-Bahn train and the overhead track displays weren't matching the train information I had written down. Broke out the tablet again where I had a transit map of Berlin and sorted out that the trains did not go to the end of the line, so was in the right place and saw that the next two trains on my platform went past where I needed to be and just had different intermediate destinations listed. Transferred to the U-Bahn at Brandenburg Gate and then two stops over to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the main train station for Berlin. I have photos of this station in the gallery from earlier this year.

    FRIDAY

    Was out the door after breakfast at 0940 and walked a few blocks to the Topography of Terror Museum. I had been here two years ago when it was under construction, and at that time they had a lot of black and white photos in an outdoor exhibition. Now everything is indoors, along with a section of the Wall outside and some remnants of the below-ground buildings exposed.

    This museum showcases the rise of Hitler to power. It is in the same area as the headquarters for the SD (state police), SS and Gestapo, though those buildings have long since been destroyed. The photos chronicle a period starting in 1933 and include photos of Hitler, Himmler, rallies and concentration camps. Some of the exhibit is pretty dark, showing Jews sent off to concentration camps and hangings. I took a selection of pictures while there and I'm going to put them in a separate gallery. Here's one that stood out for me:

    [​IMG]

    After visiting this museum I walked over to Checkpoint Charlie, where I saw some gypsies hard at work raising money, then down Friedrichstrasse which is lined with shops, cafes and hotels. Look for the squeegee guy in the photos. Continued over to Alexanderplatz and just a block away to Munich Hofbrau where I decided it was time to stop for a beer. Turns out they had a wiener schnitzel lunch special for 5.50 euros ($7.70) so had a late lunch there, too.

    [​IMG]

    Back to the hotel after for a break, and then back out again at 1700. Got the train back to Alexanderplatz and stopped in the Galeria Kaufhof department store for a look around. Picked up a carton of milk on the way out (and they had a huge Jelly Belly display by the registers—these are made in Fairfield just up the road from Benicia).

    Caught a tram from here over to Hackescher Markt, where there were street musicians and a variety of outdoors cafes and shops. Walked up to Rosenthalerplatz which had everything from an Easy Hotel (from the folks that bring you EasyJet and the late Easy Everything Internet Cafes--used to rely on those pretty heavily pre-wifi days) to sushi and burgers. Lots of retro shops around here (need an old East German phone?) and clothing shops with names like Cumulus (outdoor wear), Who Killed Bambi (clothing) and Personal Crisis (more clothing). Those names certainly get your attention. I also stopped in a two story Starbucks here which offers free wifi, though a little on the slow side. Had the lightweight tablet along instead of the netbook and you barely notice you have it with you because it weighs so little.

    Back to Alexanderplatz by train and I stopped in the above-ground train station there at a noodle bar with seating for red curry with chicken, vegetables and rice for 5.50 euros ($7.70). Stopped in the plaza for a bit to watch a light show on the side of C&A Department Store celebrating their 100th anniversary in Berlin (a bunch of those photos with different themes) and then back to the hotel after 10. Every time I come by here the plaza is packed with people and skateboarders. It is a major transit intersection with both above and below ground trains as well as trams.

    [​IMG]

    New city photos of Berlin start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Eu...n-November/19901842_tVgXMx#1567825394_mMBLBhp

    Topography of Terror Museum photos are in this separate gallery:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Eu...ography-of/19919560_QR7H5p#1567833073_mp6Schx
    :
     
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  6. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Recap Day 1 and 2 in Prague

    Hello this Monday morning from Prague. Starting my third day here. Weather is cool enough during the day for a polar fleece, but once the sun goes down have to swap over to my winter coat. Have been enjoying bright sunshine which in perfect for walking around—and I am racking up the miles here. A little sore from walking on cobblestone streets all weekend. Can't remember the last time I walked on this much cobblestone.

    Saturday night I wandered around Old Town getting a feel for where things were again. There is a Christmas Market underway in the square with mostly food vendors. At least two of them were cooking pigs over open wood fires. Hot wine was also available. I did pass by one booth that had some nice Christmas ornaments and a box to the rear marked “Made in China” so perhaps not locally produced. When I was at a Christmas Market on the Thames in London last year I bought some items that were made in Lithuania (made sure to ask the merchant) as I wanted something handmade and European.

    One place that stood out in Old Town offered Thai massages, and they had a fish tank in front that you would put your feet into. Got a photo of that.

    I walked up to the National Museum in Wenceslas Square in New Town, passing by the memorial commemorating Jan Palach who set himself on fire in 1989 to protest the Soviet invasion.

    Didn't want to do a restaurant meal so popped into a Subway for a meal near my hotel (149 krone, $8.35).

    SUNDAY

    Hotel has an excellent buffet even though I can't tell what all the dishes are (two looked like cold pasta and maybe potato salad). Started with some bread that I cut myself from a loaf at a bread station, and selected an orange marmalade and butter to go with that. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and hot apple strudel,.along with English breakfast tea and OJ, were plenty to get me out the door.

    Left my hotel walking past the Municipal House and into Old Town Square where a trumpeter was atop the tower signaling it was 0900. Viewed the Astronomical Clock on the tower. From there through city streets to the Vltava River and eventually the Charles Bridge. This area has spectacular views of Prague Castle. Tour groups abounded.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Crossed the river and found another trumpeter at the tower on the Little Quarter side signaling it was 1000. Continued uphill to Prague Castle.

    Arrived at the castle and toured St Vitus Cathedral, St Georges Basilica, the Royal Palace (no interior photos allowed unless you buy a photo permit, but not missing anything as there's not much decoration or ornamentation inside), and the Golden Mile which houses shops and rooms showing how folks here lived years ago. I was most fascinated, though, by the extensive armor collection—no two pieces looked alike. Lots of photos of that collection.

    [​IMG]

    Back into town mid-afternoon. Should mention that entry to the Castle grounds is free, but it will cost you 250 krone ($14) for the minimum tour which includes entry into the places I went to. A higher price ticket is available and includes some art galleries.

    Dinner tonight was in a shopping arcade near my hotel with a number of restaurants with table service. I went to Uno which featured traditional Czech dishes ready to try something out. I had marinated beef in a cream sauce and a Kuladja soup with sour cream, potatoes, dill and mushrooms, both of which were very good. Had a small beer with that (Pilsner Urquell Czech beer) and total bill was just over $18 with tip. The main course was only $9.

    [​IMG]

    I saw that the Municipal House had a concert with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and I did drop by there just before 8 to check it out. Tickets were out of my price range starting at 700 krone (about $39). There are concerts in churches all over town so I'll get to something before I leave that's more in my price range. I did this on my last trip a dozen years ago as well as going to the opera. Not planning a visit to the Opera House this trip. Brochures for these events are in my hotel, in front of the churches, and sometimes handed out by folks in front of the venue. None of them have prices, though.

    New photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Eu...h-Republic/19953291_zLT7Gq#1570990050_DRRzTS3
     
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  7. dmel

    dmel Gold Member

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    Great pics, Tom. Glad you're having a good time in Prague. Hope I make it back soon.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  8. Lufthansa Flyer
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    nice report so far, but you are in prague and you ate at subway??? did you go into Lobkowicz Palace on the Castle Ground? thats the highlight of the grounds with original mozart and beethoven manuscripts. hope you got a chance to see it
     
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  9. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Yes. I've done the same in London and other European cities when I don't want to sit down in a restaurant and commit the time to that. At least I've got away from McDonalds which I visited in my backpacking days.

    No, wasn't on my list of places to go. I spent a couple hours at Prague Castle and then hiked back down. I spent my time in the armor collection, St. Vitus Cathedral, St George's Basilica and the Royal Palace and hiked back down to Old Town after those. I felt my time was well spent visiting those venues.
     
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  10. spesalvi

    spesalvi Gold Member

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    I enjoyed reading your latest TR thanks, if you are still in Prague (well about an hr train ride) and interesting church to visit is the http://www.kostnice.cz/ The Bone Church in Kutna Hora
     
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  11. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Kutna Hora is MAGNIFICENT!! The priest goes to Rome, the Pope tells him go back and build a church out of bones. Priest goes home and gets right on it.
     
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  12. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Are the subways substantially different from the the typical USA one's? You've peaked my curiousity!
     
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  13. tom911
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    Pretty much the same as in the U.S. About the only time I visit one in the U.S. is predeparture at SFO if I'm not getting a meal or arrive very early for a flight. Haven't been in the one in Benicia in years.
     
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  14. tom911
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    Looks like I'm going to the ballet at the Opera House tonight (other option in my price range was an organ concert in a church--everything else I looked at with classical music was $39 for the cheapest ticket). First ballet for me. Last time a dozen years ago I did my first opera here (Turandot by Puccini). I passed on the cheapest tickets at 100 krone ($5.60) and bought the next tier up in the balcony at 300 krone ($16.80). Probably can't do that in San Francisco at that price. This ballet is set to Phantom of the Opera.

    Just had a nice Italian dinner (four cheese penne, soup, 1/2 liter Czech Budweiser) for $14 plus tip. Had to be adequately fueled for the ballet at 7.
     
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  15. GreekDeno

    GreekDeno Silver Member

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    Thank you very much for the detailed report, pics. I'm probably going for the first time in January for a long weekend and looking forward to it.
     
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  16. tom911
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    Hello late this Wednesday afternoon from Berlin. Coming up on 1645. Just arrived here after a 4 hr 40 min train ride from Prague. I deliberately picked a hotel just a 10 minute walk from the train station so I wouldn't be scrambling across town on foot or by tram with a rollaboard and daypack for my 1030 departure. Worked out perfectly and very happy with the hotel (Best Western Meteor Plaza). Burned off my last krone on bottled water and chocolate bars in the train station and leave with 28 cents worth that I could not get rid of. I looked around for a charitable donation box and couldn't find one. You often see these at airports. Hopefully I'll get rid of the change on the way home.

    It is foggy and freezing cold in Berlin. Quite a change from a few days ago. Was only outdoors for a 2 block walk to my hotel near Potsdamer Platz but need to be in the winter coat when I head back out. Checked a weather site and it shows 43F.

    MONDAY

    I set off on foot up to Wencelas Square in front the the closed National Museum, taking time to take a photo of the memorial for the victims of Communism and the Wencelas statue. From here a walk past the Opera House and over the old train station which adjoins the new train station. They've kept the old structure in place as a museum of sorts and I took a couple photos of it. The new station is more modern with shops and cafes.

    Bought an all day ticket for tram/Metro at 110 krone (about $6) and took the train back to Old Town.

    Popped into an electronics store for a look about and then boarded the #22 tram which I thought would take me back up to Prague Castle. It would if I had boarded the proper direction. 20 minutes later, after a scenic tour through some Prague neighborhoods miles out from the city center, I got off the tram, crossed the tracks, and headed back into the city. Stayed on the tram and is traversed the hills around Prague Castle and came out about a mile above it and walked back.

    [​IMG]

    Time for a beer and I found a nice neighborhood restaurant in the basement of a building that looked perfect. I had the front section all to myself (pretty quiet around the Castle when it's not a weekend) and ordered a half liter of Pilsner Urquell for 59 krone ($3.30). These are the times I review my guidebook to see what's around me and where I want to go next.

    [​IMG]

    Headed back out and wandered around the neighborhood, popping into one closed church that had an open chapel on the side that was quite ornate. Walked back down to the city with some impressive views on this route down. Saw quite a few outdoor beer gardens advertising they were open until midnight but clearly not this time of year as they were empty. You'll also see Prague's version of the Eiffel Tower. I hiked over to that park last trip but never found the time to get over there on this one. You can get up/down by a funicular that comes out close to the river.

    Stopped by Old Town where the Christmas Market was underway. I had a dish with pasta, sauerkraut, ham and onion in a cheese sauce that is sold by weight (39 krone for 100kg, about $2.20 for 4 ounces). My bill was 179 krone which is about $10, so I had them remove some as that was more than I was expecting (hard to tell what you're paying until they weigh it). The person in line before me did the same thing, Ended up with $5 worth which was plenty.

    TUESDAY

    The sun is gone. Cloudy all day today.

    Walked down to the Vltava River and saw the tour boats parked. They must run a minimum schedule middle of the week in the winter. Next boat was 50 minutes away so I kept on walking. An hour ride is 220 krone ($12.30).

    Went over to the Jewish Quarter and purchased a 300 krone ticket ($16.80) that allowed entry into six different venues. First was the Maisel Synagogue which dates back to 1591. Second was the Pinkas Synagoue which dates back to 1479 and now contains the names of 77,000 Czech Jews, who were sent to concentration camps, inscribed on the walls. Third stop was the Old Jewish Cemetery, followed by the Ceremonial Hall and Klausen Synagogue (1694). My final stop, two blocks away, was the Spanish Synagogue which was built in 1868 in a Moorish style. Sadly, no photos allowed inside these. If I had taken them you'd see all the names of those sent to their deaths inscribed inside the Pinkas Synagogue and the ornate interior of the Spanish Synagogue.

    [​IMG]

    Checked two more classical concerts for tonight and they both started at 700 krone ($39) so that must be the standard pricing now in larger halls. The only other options I could find that were less was an organ recital in St. Giles Church where I had been on Saturday on the way to Prague Castle, or Phantom of the Opera at the Opera House. The lowest price at the Opera House was 100 krone ($5.60).

    Walked over to the Opera House to buy a ticket and found out that this version was not an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical production, but rather a “ballad” (or at least that's what I thought the ticket seller was saying). I didn't care as the ticket I bought was only 300 krone ($16.80) and I did want to take a look at the building interior where I had been to the opera about a dozen years ago on my last visit. Left with ticket in hand and it came to me that “ballad” really meant “ballet”. Yes, I was going to the ballet.

    On the way back to my hotel I spotted a nice Italian restaurant with a cozy atmosphere and reasonable prices. Had tomato soup, a delicious four cheese penne, and a half liter of Czech Budweiser beer (they had this brand name long before it came to the U.S.) for 259 krone ($14.50) plus tip. Can't do that at home.

    Arrived for my first-ever ballet and took my seat in the second balcony. Took a bunch of photos of the grand interior. All I could think about was the pain these ballet dancers must be in dancing on their toes the whole performance. I could barely stay awake. Bailed when they had intermission 70 minutes into the performance. The one highlight for me was the orchestra. They must have had 30-40 musicians in the pit below the stage.

    There was a couple that in front of me that tried to take some photos. In a dark hall those LCD-screen cameras do stick out, and an usher was down pretty quickly to remind them photos were not allowed (an announcement had been made before the production started). Walked around for a while, grabbed a Diet Coke from a street vendor, and called it a night.

    [​IMG]

    The last section of my Prague photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-Eu...h-Republic/19953291_zLT7Gq#1575593161_2gWZd8q
     
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  17. tom911
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    Let me know if you need any help sorting things out. I'm home this weekend.
     
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  18. tom911
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    I'm at Berlin Tegel (TXL) on the way home. 55 mins door to door from my hotel with two train connections (S1/U55) and the TXL bus from Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Have a whole section of the Lufthansa business lounge to myself before heading off on my first flight to Dusseldorf (DUS). Departure in just over an hour. Going to be one long day.

    Yesterday I walked around Prenzlauerberg on the east side of the Berlin where the elevated U-Bahn runs through the middle of the street. Sort of reminds me of New York City and sections of the subway there. Lots of tree-lined streets and leaves coming down. It was a winter coat day and it was cold and foggy when I left my hotel. Later in the day the fog did lift and you could see the moon. Probably still in the 40s at best. Looked at shop windows and architecture and had a pretty nice time. Even found a spot with free wifi to check mail.

    Had an encounter with a ticket inspector on the U-Bahn train out. I mistakenly thought the 6.30 euro ticket was a 24 hour ticket when in fact it runs out at 0300, so the ticket I purchased on arrival was no longer valid. Got off the train next stop and bought a new ticket. Was probably confused because in Prague they advertise a "24 hour ticket" and should have recalled the rules were different here in Berlin as I've had tickets here before. At least they didn't fine me. Won't do that again.

    Spent the rest of the day in Alexanderplatz Christmas shopping. Stopped in the restaurant at Galeria Kaufhof department store for some items from their buffet table (scalloped potatoes, veggies) and then back to the hotel. Before heading out for the evening I hit a supermarket across the street for some Christmas gifts. Exact same items I bought there were over twice the price at Galeria Kaufhof which surprised me. As this might be viewed by some that will be receiving those items, won't go into further detail.

    Earlier in the day I visited the Christmas Market at Potsdamerplatz, but it was more focused on food and beverage than Christmas gifts. They even had a ski slope set up. Alexanderplatz is building their Christmas Market right now and here are trucks on the plaza with various pieces to put it together.

    I'll get some more photos up when home. Haven't had a block of free time to work on yesterday's photos yet.
     
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  19. tom911
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    Long day today with TXL-DUS-LHR-SFO flights. DUS-LHR had a 45 min ground stop due to fog at LHR. By the time I made it to the gate at LHR T1 it was 20 mins before departure, a little too close for comfort. Glad to make that flight as UA only runs the one nonstop in the winter. I had an economy window seat (no economy plus in weeks of checking).

    Did hit Lufthansa business lounges in both Berlin (had cheese, sliced meats, and a pickle), and Dusseldorf (just a Diet Coke), over an hour at the first and about 20 minutes at the second.

    Only recognized two movies on the overhead monitor, one with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, and another with Jim Carey. Didn't watch either of them as I had the tablet with plenty of video along and good battery life.

    The passenger in the middle seat next to me missed her BA LHR-SFO due to the fog problems at LHR. She could not get there from DUB to make that flight. Imagine she was disappointed at not having the type of IFE in coach that BA provides. She seemed pretty restless the whole flight. Wasn't going to lend her my tablet, though.

    After not seeing a single drop of rain in 9 days on the ground in Europe, arrived at SFO to pouring rain. Even with having to circle north of the Bay Area for a while, still made my connections on BART/bus to get home. An hour later I would have been stuck over in Walnut Creek begging someone to pick me up.

    Off to bed.
     
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  20. tom911
    Original Member

    tom911 Gold Member

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  21. GreekDeno

    GreekDeno Silver Member

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    Thanks again for the details. I booked tix for Jan so this has been very helpful. I will certainly let you know any questions I have and again I appreciate the offer.
     
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