Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Travelling to Berlin - Berlin days 1 and 2

The travel day on Monday from Prague to Berlin went smoothly and was much more comfortable that the previous rail journey. The trip takes about 4.5 hours but it passed easily and we arrived comfortably at Berlin Central. On the advice of our landlord, we took a taxi which turned out to be a good idea! This flat is in Mitte, part of the old East Berlin, so we have had to walk up more stairs that ever so far - but then it is only a  landing and a half!! The flat is not as good as some others but is humungous and we have pleanty of room to spread out. It is in a good area (there seems to be so many of these in Berlin!!) and we are quite happy!

We contacted Todd and arranged to meet him in Hermannplatz for a beer and dinner, so after quickly learning to navigate the basics of the Berlin Transport system (which is pretty amazing!), and a few moments of panic when we thought that we had stuffed up our Opera dates here too (we hadn't!!) we found ourselves lounging on the window of a grungy McDonalds watching Todd appear from the crowd. Todd seems very well and is living the life of the committed musician, learning classical flamenco guitar, from a guru here in Berlin. Todd kows where to eat and drink so we had a really lovely night with him before Metroing it home and collapsing into bed!! Berlin has a real buzz!

On our first full day, following the advice of a number of pundits, we took the S-bahn (aka above ground rail) from Alexanderplatz to the Zoo station, then sat up the to of the 200 bus while it wound its way back across the city. This was a great thing to do as it gave us, from two different perspectives, a really good idea of the layout of the city. We had discovered Trip Advisor's downlondable app of Berlin (it works off-line) it is really amazing, So, Mick kept up the commentary using this App and his paper map - we know where everything is now ... we just need the time and energy to visit it all!!

We actually stayed on the 200 until its terminus out in the boondocks, went for a longish walk through a park (looking over the fences of a large number of "Allotment gardens"),
had a nice lunch in a cafe where the host's English was on a par with our German (we were happy with our guesses!),
negotiated a significant "service interruption" on Trams successfully and found ourselves back at Hackscher Markt to follow an "Urban Graffiti" self-guided walking tour from Trip Advisor when we bumped into Todd who was busking there!!!

After chatting for a while, we followed the tour (it was really very good indeed ... we must volunteer a few for them for Sydney!!). After a beer by the river, near Museum Island, we realised how weary we actually were so we trammed it home, bought some groceries at the local supermarket, cooked our own tea (an extreme rarity on this trip!!), spent some time on our "electronic devices" and fell into bed!! This is some city!!!

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