Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 3 and The Boat Incident

Day three in Berlin we had a great plan - a boat tour. My legs were so happy! I wore cute little sliders with zero support because I knew we wouldn't be walking much. I didn't count on getting lost trying to find the boat. But that was after we walked from the hotel to the zoo and Kaiser Wilhelm Gadachtnis Kirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) or what is simply called "the old bombed out church". It was all but destroyed in WWII but the public insisted that the tower remain standing so a new church was rebuilt next to the "broken tooth" tower.

After walking around both the old and new churches, we went to find our boat. We ended up finding a completely different tour company and just jumped on with them. It was a beautiful tour down the River Spree, Lanwehr Canal, and Urbanhafen. At one point, they let us out for 45 min break to walk around. We grabbed some sandwiches at a local bakery (mozzerella, tomato, and basil on a baguette - YUM!) and got back on the boat where they tell us "You have reservation. Not allowed" and pointed at our food. We decided that food was more important than a tour and left he boat. Luckily the rest stop was less than a mile from the bombed church and we knew where we were. So we went shopping instead at Ka De We which is a very expensive Macy's type store with 9 levels of clothing, toys, jewelry, food, etc. etc. etc. The Euro was not kind to us there. Had a quick nap at the hotel and then went out for dinner and found the most amazing chocolate shop ever. It had chocolate sculptures of the Bradenburg Gate, The Titanic, and a working chocolate volcano! I was in heaven!
Travel tip of the day: If you take a boat tour in Berlin - buy the food offered on the boat or eat before you get there.
Bonus travel tip - Do NOT miss Fassbender & Rausch Chocolates at Charlottenstra├če 60. Their truffles are to die for and their dark chocolate coffee bark is the pick me up of champions!

Day 3 pics here

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Berlin, Day 2

This day was the most venue packed and exhausting day of the week. My body never did make a full recovery until Saturday when we laid in bed for 3 hours while Beth was at her performance. I thanked God that it was raining when she got back so we had dinner and drinks at the hotel bar instead of walking somewhere.

So this was Tuesday and we saw St. Hedwig's Cathedral, The French Dome which was a Huguenot Church, the Berliner Dome which I believe was the National Cathedral, the Egyptian Museum, Greek Antiquities Museum, Old National Art Gallery, Alexanderplatz fountain, and the TV Tower. My legs felt like they would fall off and my poor hips were screaming at me. Darn pregnancies were not good to my hips as they were not so kindly reminding me. This is what I get for not running regularly anymore.

Enough whining, this day was amazing. So much history and beautiful art. The gallery was unbelievable. They had a Manet and Monet exhibit. My audio guide said that Monet was very highly critiqued when he first began. There was a painting of a cathedral with people milling about in front of it. They said that one critic looked at it and exclaimed that the people looked like "blobs of spit!" I had to bite my tongue so as not to bust out laughing in the middle of the hushed gallery. I also saw a Van Gogh, a Rembrandt, and the original "The Thinker". It and the Berliner Dom were my favorite aspects of the day. The Dom is a beautiful cathedral. We climbed 270 steps to get to the top and though my legs were trembling from the strain, it was well worth it. The view was nothing short of spectacular.

After all the walking and climbing and more walking, we had time for a short nap while waiting for Beth to get back from rehearsal. Have I mentioned the whole reason for this trip was Beth? She sings with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus who was being hosted by the German Philharmonic for a partnered performance series at the end of the week. It was an incredible performance but that was Day 5 so you'll have to wait. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, so when Beth returns from rehearsal we walked across the street to Ambrosius Bier Garten where I had a huge plate of fried food and beer! Re-energized, we trekked over to Alexanderplatz and went to the top of the TV Tower which brings me to my travel tip for Day 2: Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT go to the top of the TV Tower in Berlin. I costs 9 Euros (almost $15) and it is crowded and boring. The Berliner Dom cost only 5 Euros but it was an entire cathedral. You can also go to the top of the Reichstag Dome for free!

See all my Day 2 photos here

Monday, May 19, 2008

WOW - where to begin?!

Oh. My. God. I am so exhausted! I think we walked about 20 miles each day! My legs were ready to give out of me on several occasions. But it was all worth it for the amazing things we saw and experienced. So let's start and I'll give you a play by play of my likes (many) and dislikes (very few) of my awesome trip to Berlin.

Day 1 - Beat the jet lag!
We arrived in Berlin at 8am which is 2am GA time. I think I got about an hour and a half of sleep on the plane. Beth does not arrive until 1pm so we figure we'll check in to the hotel and catch up on some sleep. Rooms are not available until 1pm. So we walk around the area, have a lovely breakfast of eggs and bread. Lots of bread. And lots of coffee. Then we walk some more. The architecture in this city is just breathtaking! Also breathtaking was how much I laughed about this:

I have an idea that I will be feeling "punkt" when I get my next T-mobile bill after using my phone everyday in Germany. What can I say? I'm kind of still head over heels in love with my husband and have to hear his voice at least once a day. See all the pics from our 1st day in Berlin here
Seen on this first day were the Reichstag (German parliment), the Bradenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial among various pretty buildings that I'm afraid I can't name. This was the least eventful day of the week and it was pretty packed. My Berlin tip of the day: When ordering the "Braised Pork" make sure you have someone to share it with!