Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bustling Berlin

After our great visit with the Luminatis, we had just a few days until our next housefull--the Minnerys! How fun it was to have our family come and stay. Mom and Dad decided to go on a trip with us, so we took the train up to Berlin. What an amazing city! There was so much to see two full days were hardly enough time to scratch the surface. But we take what we can get!
Having fun on the 6 hr train ride.

We arrived at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof and took the S-bahn to our stop. Up we came from the escalators and voila! The Brandenburg Gate. Amazingly enough, it survived WWII only to be walled off in no-man's land between East and West Berlin. When Germany was reunited in 1989, the gate was "freed" and it now stands as a poignant symbol of a united country.
We highly recommend where we stayed--Apartements ab Brandenburger Tor. There were seven of us and we had a three bedroom, two bath, kitchen, living and sitting room apartment. It was about a block away from the gate (and Unter den Linden) and walking distance to Potsdamer Platz--excellent location! The Holocaust memorial was right outside our window, and the circus-top in the distance is Potsdamer Platz. Also, Dunkin Donuts (which are all over the city) is 1/2 a block away. We ate there every day. :)
Starbucks right at the gate. This is across from several embassies, including the American.

Dinner our first night. It was so crowded at Potsdamer Platz!

The Festival of Lights was also going on first night we were there and it was fun to walk around and see so many neat displays on the buildings. This shot of the Brandenburg Gate shows the word "light" in many languages.

This was one of two displays on the American Embassy. The other was MLK and "I Have  A Dream."
Miranda got a lot of free rides, as we didn't take a stroller. She loved it.
We walked down to Checkpoint Charlie one morning and had to laugh--what WOULD be the restaurant right beside the old checkpoint? McDonald's. Of course!

We also went inside the Wall Museum, which was full of so much history about the wall, the people who lived on both sides, those who risked everything to get across it, and how they did so. Even the girls were interested (for the most part).

Nana and I took the girls back to the apartment while Grandpa and Jon visited the German History Museum, but we took a short detour through Alexanderplatz so I could say I was there. Remember that scene in the Bourne Supremacy where he "kidnaps" Julia Stiles in Berlin? Yep, happened right here. I was so excited. (Eye roll from Jon.)

Another amazing site was the Reichstag. It's the main German gov't building in Berlin and it has this incredible dome on top. The views to the city are amazing! (I didn't post any pictures--you'll just have to go there and see for yourself!) Be sure to pre-book an appointment--it's the only way to get to the dome.

Another incredible part of our trip was reconnecting with old friends. Jon and Brad graduated high school together (oh-so-long ago!) and Brad and his family are now with the State Department in Berlin. So we hopped the train out to see them and enjoyed a great (but too short!) evening together. Sorry, Fiona--I didn't get a picture of you. :(
Here's the second generation. Brad and Fiona have kids of similar age to ours, and they all hit it off really well. Ellie was in tears when we had to leave her new BFF's house and go back to the train. Thanks again for welcoming us to dinner--adding seven people to a family of five is no small task!! 
Being silly on the train.

Loving the leaves in the Tiergarten

The Brandenburg gate, as seen from inside the Tiergarten.
An incredible shot Jon took out of the train on the way home.
 Thank you, Nana and Grandpa, for such a fun visit and trip!! We loved having you here and look forward to seeing you next in the States!!

1 comment:

b.niel said...

very cool. what an awesome trip!