A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Day 16

Copenhagen to Berlin

IMG_0666.jpgIMG_0667.jpgWe put our packed suitcases out last night for collection. So this morning all we had to do was to finish our last minute packing in our hand luggage. We had to be out of the cabin by 8 so we took our hand luggage with us to breakfast and then disembarked. We caught a cab through Copenhagen to the airport. We had a coffee whilst we waited for our flight.
The plane was relatively small, 2 seats each side of a narrow aisle. The flight to Berlin was blissfully short, just 40 minutes. We collected our luggage, walked out the Nothing to Declare gate and that was it. No need for passports despite the change of country.
We took a taxi to our rental apartment but the driver typed the wrong street name into his sat nav system and took us to the wrong destination. He had an English vocabulary of about 10 words, but that still beats my German vocabulary. Upon realising the error he keyed in the correct address and we arrived about 45 minutes later than expected. The detour took us about 10 km out of our way but fortunately our landlord waited.
A word about our taxi drivers. Just as bad as at home if not worse. Both ran red lights and sped and weaved through traffic changing lanes without a care. In Berlin a bicycle braked suddenly beside us causing the bicycle behind to lock up her front wheel and the rear of her bike came sideways and hit our taxi. Luckily she was not hurt and no damage to taxi.
The apartment was booked online but is a private rental. The owner spoke good English and helped us with a map and some directions and information. The apartment is very clean and comfortable. The view from the back windows is of an intact section of the Berlin wall. It is about 20 metres away and we are on what was the Eastern side. We walked to a local supermarket and bought a few essentials as we are here for 3 nights. Our sightseeing starts tomorrow. We will walk to a local Vietnamese Restaurant shortly and attempt to order in English. It could be entertaining.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 09:48 Comments (0)

Day 17

Berlin

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We woke to heavy rain and a forecast of more to come. We had a chat to our daughter, Simone on Skype and had a good connection. We contemplated staying in as the forecast was expecting afternoon thunderstorms. We decided to go anyway. We walked in light rain to the S line station nearby. To do so we passed through a section of the old wall and went from East to West. We bought our tickets and caught a train to Brandenburger Tor.
The subway brought us out just metres from the Brandenburg Gate. It was drizzling so we got a few quick snaps and got on the hop on hop off bus. We completed around half a lap and got off at Checkpoint Charlie. We had a coffee at the nearby Einstein Café and a currywurst lunch at a stall over the road. We looked around a little then got back on a bus and completed a lap. By this time the rain had stopped so we walked some more. We walked through the Brandenburg gate, past the Holocaust museum and on to the Sony Centre for a bit of shopping. We went into Starbucks. I don’t lose my cool often but I was not impressed with the lack of service and told them so. Needless to say we left without our coffee.
We caught the train back and walked back to our apartment and now we have bright sunshine. Their forecasters are no better than ours. The doom and gloom didn’t eventuate. We later walked to a nearby French Restaurant for a very nice meal. May of today's pics are not up to scratch due to the bad weather. We have shared some that are ok.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 00:26 Comments (0)

Day 18

Berlin

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After breakfast this morning we walked back to Nordbahnhof station and caught the train 2 stops into the city then changed trains to another line and travelled 2 stops to Alexanderplatz station. Beside the station is a shopping district with large stores around a square. One was an electronics store called Saturn. It is along the lines of JB Hi Fi but bigger. We found and bought a portable navigation device to use to find our way when we collect our hire car tomorrow.
Earlier in the day before we headed out we were in touch with our daughter Bronwyn. She kindly helped us change the pickup point for our hire car from one airport to the other. We will now collect it from Tegel Airport, the one we flew into, and the one we can get to in just 20 minutes on a direct train service from Nordbahnhof.
From Alexanderplatz we walked a short way to a shopping mall called Alexa where we had some lunch in the food court and then trawled the shops, collecting a few items. There was a supermarket in the basement and we purchased a few items there so we could eat in tonight.
Then we started on the return journey. This consisted of the walk to the train, choosing the right train, changing trains, getting on the right one again, and then the walk back. We were both a tad weary after all the walking and all the stairs. So we will have a quiet night in and repack ready for our road trip that starts tomorrow.
There were not many photo opportunities today. We took a few snaps from the station in town where we changed trains and also from our living room window. The trees that line the street are laden with what look like small apples.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 10:06 Comments (0)

Day 19

Prague

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It was quite an interesting and eventful day. I walked to the station with the intention of catching a train to the airport to collect our hire car and drive it back to our apartment. The train came on time and I left the train at the Tegel station. Unfortunately, Tegel station is nowhere near Tegel Airport. That was not expected. I asked where the airport was. The Gentleman I spoke to had as much English as I do German – not much. He pointed me in the direction of a taxi and after a short walk I found one. The taxi took me the rest of the way to the airport and I collected the car. The portable navigation device showed me the way back and I followed it ok.
There was no parking outside the apartment so I double parked while I went up to the apartment and ferried our luggage bit by bit down to the car and loaded it. Our trip to Prague was to take us through Dresden so I put in an address in Dresden expecting us to take us along the way to Prague. Wrong! Apparently there is a Berlin suburb of that name and it took us right into the heart of Berlin instead of away from the city centre.
When we realised the location was incorrect we inserted a Prague address whilst we stopped at a traffic light and eventually we found our way onto a freeway heading East to Dresden. Within a short distance we found ourselves in an unrestricted speed zone (aka autobahn) and put the foot down. We reached speeds in excess of 160km/hr a few times.
Across the border in Czech Republic we missed a turn and found ourselves on some back roads and spent around a half an hour trying to find our way back on to a road to Prague (or Praha as the locals call it). We saw some old villages along narrow, bumpy lanes but in the end the sat nav found its way back. In fairness, some road works blocked at least two of the routes it tried to take us on. We had a few passing showers along the way and our 100% rain record remains intact.
The rest of the journey into Prague was ok except for a close call with a Prague tram that had no intention of taking any prisoners. The Apartment is in a pedestrian mall and we had to show a traffic policeman our accommodation voucher to be allowed to drive up to the front of the apartment building. We checked in ok and left them the car key to valet park for us. We are in the heart of the old district and probably will not need it till we leave.
We have a modern one bedroom apartment with a small but well equipped kitchen and a balcony that extends the length of our sixth floor apartment. The view from the balcony is great. After briefly settling in we walked the local cobblestone pedestrian streets and took a few more photos. There are plenty of restaurants within a short walk and all reasonably priced. We got a few basic groceries to tide us over for the next few days while we were out.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 11:19 Comments (0)

Day 20

Prague

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We decided against an organised tour today. We are staying inside the old part of town and all we need to see is within walking distance. So we walked the old streets. Before we got far we found a guy selling Segway tours. We took the opportunity to try them ourselves. All you do is hold on and lean in the direction you want to travel. Sounds easy but it had me going in unplanned directions. I think I could have mastered it given more time but maybe next time.
Not far from our apartment we found a market and we browsed the street stalls. Of particular interest was the Cannabis Chocolate. Send us your orders quickly. We leave here soon. We continued on into Wenceslas Square. I climbed the Church Tower to get some photos and found in the process that Darlene could have come as well as there are lifts that take you up to the top. The lifts were busy so I used the stairs, the ramp and the small spiral staircase at the top to get to the lookout tower. The view was well worth the effort.
After returning to ground level we walked towards the river and found an outdoor eatery and had a light lunch there. We then crossed the river on the Charles Bridge, a pedestrian bridge lined with vendors selling all sorts of products, including while you wait portraits. We walked across and up to the Curious Church were Darlene checked it out whilst I walked up a steep side street and then climbed over 200 stairs to reach the Prague Castle. The view was excellent and worth the climb. We walked back toward the river through an area referred to as Prague’s Venice and over another bridge and back to our apartment.
We have a lot of excellent photos, too many to upload for the Blog. The weather has been fine, our first fully dry day since the start of our holiday. As I write this in the early evening I look out over blue skies and bright sunshine. Prague is a wonderful city to visit. There are a few too many souvenir stores, even for my liking, but it is well worth the visit for the beautifully preserved old buildings, laneways, churches, squares and bridges. If you come here you must stay in the heart of the old town as we did. It is well worth the premium you pay.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 11:04 Comments (0)

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