22 May, 2014 Dresden

We left Berlin for the day and headed for the beautiful city of Dresden in our little rental car. We had some traffic jams leaving the city, but soon we were going just fine. Our old GPS was working fine until it told us to exit the autobahn and take this other road. The autobahn signs said that Dresden was straight ahead. We went straight and soon the GPS showed us in a green field. I guess that section of road was newer than the GPS maps. Claire slept a bit along the way but was tired of being in the car seat when we arrived. We drove towards the city center and found a parking place. Dresden is a beautiful city that was badly destroyed during the war. When we lived in Berlin in 1989-92, much of the city was still in rubble. That has now been rectified. The destruction took place at the end of the war and locals think that the allies should have been prosecuted for war crimes.2014-05-22 01.45.53

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We found a nice place for Claire to crawl around and play during our long walk through the old town. We saw the Opera,2014-05-22 01.50.09

Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche

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2014-05-22 03.12.51the Palace, and the Frauenkirche. They had started rebuilding this magnificent church the last time we visited, 10 years ago. In 1992 it was still a pile of rubble. It is an amazing building now. There are many other historic and beautiful buildings throughout the city. We ate our lunch and had an ice cream snack on a bit of grass. Claire loves to crawl around and had a blast doing it. Mark and Liz don’t get too upset if she gets dirty.2014-05-22 02.55.20
We walked back through the city on our way to the car. Dresden is indeed a fantastically beautiful city. We started on our journey home. The roads were getting heavy and it took us much longer than the 2 hours Google Maps had said it would take. Regardless, it was a wonderful day and the weather was fantastic.
We weren’t finished yet. We got back to our apartment at 4:15, dropped off our stuff and parked the car, then took public transportation to the Olympic Stadium. We got there right before they closed down and they charged an admission fee that we considered too high, so we didn’t go in. Mark and I have been there to see an NFL preseason football game in 1991. We continued to Spandau and visited the Zitadell. We ate at a sidewalk restaurant and enjoyed Spargel, (white asparagus). We were exhausted by the time we returned home.

Berlin 21 May, 2014

 

We slept in until 7 as yesterday was really an active day. (Dale writing) I walked to the store on the corner for breakfast goodies. It was again a rather warm day. We went off with Mark, Liz and Claire on a walking tour. Well, we took the U-Bahn to various places, starting at Checkpoint Charlie. It looked much like it had, but the actual checkpoint had a different trailer – much like the original 60’s version. They had “American” MPs there, but they were Germans in American uniforms, charging people to have photos taken with them. That ticked me off. There were probably many who thought they really were American MPs. The haircuts and the shoes were dead giveaways, not to mention their inability to speak English.SAM_4676

 

Sign at the old Checkpoint
Sign at the old Checkpoint

We walked on to a “Topography of Terror” display which displayed the history of Nazis in Germany.

Wall of Terror
Wall of Terror

It was really hot and sunny, so we took Claire in her stroller and walked to a shady place and waited for Mark and Liz. There was also a museum there and a long stretch of the Berlin wall. We walked on to an old guard tower, and we couldn’t tell if it was in the original place or not since all signs of the old wall have been removed.

East Berlin Tower
East Berlin Tower

We walked on to the Potsdammer Platz and there was a guy with a speaker going on about politics – bottom line, if we don’t go back to the old politics of Germany, we are doomed.

A bit of the wall
A bit of the wall with Mark, Liz and Claire

We walked to the Holocaust Museum. It wasn’t open the last time we were in Berlin ten years ago.

Holacast Memorial
Holocaust Memorial

We were then near the Brandenburg Gate where we walked around a bit.

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate

We were entertained by an organ grinder. We visited the Museum Island, spending time in the Pergamon, my favorite.SAM_4699

Pergomon
Pergamon
Istar Gate
Istar Gate
Mark and Liz in Pergamon
Mark and Liz in Pergamon

After visiting the Museum, Claire needed a little break, so she got on at the nearest area with grass.

Claire
Claire

We had Doner Kebabs for dinner and Janet enjoyed a vegetarian one.

Berlin Doner
Berlin Doner

We also visited the Nickolai Viertel and saw the Rottes Rathaus and the Berliner Dom.

Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom
Dom
Dom

It was a long ride home on the subway but we were really tired, again.

Tuesday 20 May, Berlin

We got up early again and we all ate breakfast in our room. When we were ready for the road, we did indeed go by car. Our first stop was the Botanical Garden and it was easy to find.

Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden

The weather was warm but okay. I don’t remember the garden as well as Janet and the kids do as they went often without me. We spent a lot of time in the big greenhouse. Claire was an angel in her stroller. Mark was disappointed that there were no longer turtles there. After walking a long way in the garden, we returned to our car and drove to our former living area. We found a place to have lunch in a park near JFK School.

JFK School
JFK School

After a quick lunch we went to the school. An assistant principal was at the gate and he welcomed us to walk around the school since Mark is an alum. It was a lot of fun for Mark to walk around and refresh his memory of the place.

We went by our former home on Leuctenburgstr and I rang the doorbell, hoping to gain entry to the yard. That was the house where the governing mayor moved into when we moved out.

Our first home in Berlin
Our first home in Berlin

We drove around the area some, and visited Krumme Lanke and walked by the lake.

Mark & Liz at Krume Lanke
Mark & Liz at Krume Lanke

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It was beautiful and there were still bodies with no clothes on, as we remembered. We drove by our home on Kleiststr and viewed our old home. Again, I rang the doorbell, but no answer.

Our second home in Berlin
Our second home in Berlin

Next we visited nearby Mexico Platz and had ice cream. After our first course of ice cream, we ordered a spaghetti Eis, and it was yummy.

Mexico Platz
Mexico Platz

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We drove to Potsdam and visited the Neues Palais, which is still under renovation (for at least 10 years and counting).

Neue Palais
Neue Palais

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Janet wanted to walk to the Sans Souci, so Mark walked with her and they took Claire in the stroller, Liz, and I went in the car. There was a big rainstorm as we were driving. It was hard to find a place to park, and I did some illegal things to park, but eventually got to a legitimate parking area and walked to meet up with Mark, Claire and Janet.

San Souci
San Souci

It rained for a bit but eventually quit when we dashed to the car. We drove back to our hotel to feed Claire and get ready for a dinner invitation we had. We got in traffic and were a bit late as we got to the Rakow’s street but didn’t know the house number. I had to go door to door, but found it. Holger wasn’t there yet and the Grunewald’s joined us for a lovely evening and dinner.

The Rakows and Gruenewalds
The Rakows and Gruenewalds

It was really hard to find a place to park at the apartment when we returned. Mark Liz and Claire got out and Janet and I drove around for about 20 minutes before we found street parking.

May 19 2014 – Copenhagen to Berlin.

Janet woke me up early on this Monday morning – saying “It’s almost 5 a.m.” when in reality it was almost 4:00. We slept for a while, had breakfast and then got on the Metro towards the airport. Although there is only one route, we had to change trains due to construction. We got to the airport just fine and got the keys to our rental car. We had to walk a long ways to the garage with the cars and once there, we realized that we needed a car seat for Claire. This meant walking way back to the office and then return to the garage. This little delay caused us some concern as we had to meet a ferry to Rostock. We came close to not making the ferry, but as luck had it, we made the connection with all of 5 minutes to spare. We were one of the last cars to drive aboard.

The ferry was very comfortable and we found some nice seats and enjoyed the view and had something to eat. We talked to an older couple from Sweden, and there were on their way to Italy for vacation. It was only two hours to cross to Germany and we were soon back in our car and driving on the German Autobahn. We navigated our way just fine with our old GPS, stopping twice for potty breaks. We were very pleased to find our accommodations with little difficulty. We parked our car along the street and moved into our room. There was a food store just down the street so I went there to shop. While walking around I heard some say, “Gutten Tag” but I ignored it until I saw a baby in a stroller who sure looked like Claire. We had our room on the 3rd floor and Mark and Liz on the 1st floor.

We were all hungry so we chose a place from the Rick Steves book and Mark led us there using subways. The place was crowded but the food was excellent and inexpensive. I had a good German meal and would have been happy to eat there every night. We returned to our apartment and planned the next day out with Mark and Liz and called it a day. We had been cool or even cold prior to this day, but it was warm. I only brought one short sleeved shirt. Big mistake.