And back to Germany I go

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After a brief visit to Copenhagen, I headed back down to Germany to visit Berlin. I had an early morning flight so I was thankful that my hotel was so close.  I wisely went to the Star Gold line and had no problems checking in my bags. Security was interesting, much nicer then stateside. So off I go to find my gate and I had the strangest encounter. I was walking to my gate, it was early so it was not too crowded, and a older and younger man are walking towards me. All of sudden, the older man body checked me. WAIT, what? We were not near each other at all, in fact I had moved even further away from him because he was older and appeared frail. Nope, he came right into my path and socked me in the ribs with his elbow, hard.  I’ve always said that I am not afraid when I travel because I am from Chicago, and they just don’t know who they are messing with. Well the reality? I stood there with my mouth open shocked that some old dude just tried to take me down. As I stood there processing, I am thinking maybe that did not just happen, until the younger man started screaming at the older man in some unknown language. He then looked at me and said “So sorry”.

Hmm, I started to wonder should I be worried about traveling to Berlin?

Again this trip was not normal for me, so after collecting my bags, I went outside to catch a taxi. I stood, in what I thought was the queue, which actually turned out to be a bunch a people just standing around. A Danish couple had me the mistake of following me, so we all walked back to the proper queue. Enter the obnoxious Americans.  You know the ones? The ones that make you keep your mouth shut as to keep the fact your American a secret? The Danish couple need a taxi with a car seat, so while we patiently queued, one rolled up and the Loud American, jumped the line and said he had to have it because he had 3 and they only had 1? Seriously? Travel karma is a bitch………

Given my love affair with Hyatt, I booked in at the Grand Hyatt Berlin. It was in a nice location, close the S and U trains as well as the Hop on Hop off Bus.  After I had checked in, I asked the concierge about sightseeing tours, etc. I had read online about taking the City bus around as it covered the same route as the tourist bus. But after what happened in the airport in Copenhagen, I was going stick with my people, fellow tourists, that is.

Berlin is a great! The hop on hop off bus was perfect because while some sights are close to either other, others require some serious walking or train.

There is now a Starbucks overlooking the area known as CheckPoint Charlie. I know because I stopped in for a latte. I admit it, I drink Starbucks outside the US, and while I am at it sometimes I eat McDonald’s too..

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There is some amazing architecture, a mix of old and new and some seriously cool embassies in Berlin.  Of course I did not take a lot pictures, because at this point in the trip, I was tired and being lazy.  And since I’ve already started admitting my weakness, I should also state their might have been too much of this

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I also blame the wine for the next part of this adventure. I was in the lounge, surprise surprise, and they put some snacks out for happy hour. Well I was hungry so I decided to check it out.  I was told it was veal.

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It might have been veal, but it was veal with fish. At this point, if you know me, you know where is this headed.  For those of you who don’t know, I have a fish problem. If I eat shellfish, my throat starts to close. Or if I eat something that has been near shellfish, I get sick. But it usually takes 20 minutes. I have a fantastic allergist, who has schooled me on the dangers of traveling alone, in a foreign country and eating mystery food, but yeah that did not stop me. So I ate it, and it was good, so good I went back for another round.  Only at this point, the lounge attendants say NOooooo, there is fish in that. Oops. So I look at my watch and said oh we have about 20 minutes. What type of fish? I am eerily calm.  Everyone in the lounge is looking at me to see what’s going to happen.  I drink some more wine and look at that it’s been 25 minutes, it was not shellfish. More wine please.

While I am laughing now, I should realize it was probably not funny to those around me.  For the record, and this part is really for my Dr. who might be reading this, I am really pretty good about avoiding all things fish when traveling. When I do travel to countries with languages I really can’t speak or decipher, I bring printed cards that state no fish. I don’t bother to explain, because outside of the US, allergies are not as bad.  And sometimes, even after you explain, no fish, they still give it to you because they think you just don’t like it.  So, usually, if there is any question, I just avoid. And if it’s a buffet, I won’t touch anything.  Maybe I am paranoid, but I rather be alive and paranoid, then fighting for my breath in some funky country where they don’t understand what is wrong with me.

Copenhagen and Malmo

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Since I was traveling to various cities on this trip, I constantly checked the weather to make sure that I had the proper clothes.  While it would have been a great excuse to go shopping, I am paranoid and rather be prepared.  For weeks, the various weather apps were showing that the weather in Copenhagen would be in the low 70’s. Even after I arrived and I discovered that was clearly not true, the damn weather app insisted on sticking to it’s story.

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I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and take a boat tour. It’s about an hour and takes you around the various sights of Copenhagen. Including the local bathing spots, which are all clothing optional.

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Copenhagen is a interesting mix of old and new. I would definitely go back and visit again, when it’s not as crowded. But be warned it’s on the pricey side.

Malmo, Sweden is quick train ride away from Copenhagen. It’s big claim to fame, this twisty building and this cool lighthouse

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and what’s a trip to Sweden without a selfie?

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Since there was no Hyatt in Copenhagen I stayed at the Hilton. It was located at the airport but the train to the City only took about 10 minutes.  I will say that outside of the United States, Hilton’s are pretty great, and this one was really nice. I was able to get check in when I arrived and was upgraded to executive floor, which gave me lounge access.  I like lounge access because it gets me out of my room, especially if I have to work. So after a hot afternoon of sightseeing, I would head back to the hotel, grab my laptop and head to the lounge to “work”.  It’s interesting to how different people behave in the lounge. Now I am not going to lie, I like to get my wine on, but never to the point where I am drinking all the liquor in the lounge.  One night there was a family of 5 having dinner. Then their cousins and grandparents joined in the action. It took 5 refills, before I was actually able to get something.

While the food was enjoyable,  I was not going to make dinner out of it. But I sure did enjoy getting my wine on………

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Flying to Copenhagen

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When I started car shopping I knew I wanted to do European Delivery, if possible, depending on which car I went with. I also knew that I was planning on attending a party in Germany in July. So when I finally decided to purchase the car, I asked if would be possible to do delivery in July.

Of course, I should have known it would not work out as planned. The party was in Hamburg on July 26th. So I had asked if would be possible to do delivery in Leipzig on July 25th. Well we know how this story ends, due to the new model debut, the track time at Leipzig was all booked up. My only choice would be August 11th, if I wanted Leipzig. Or I could take July 7th or 18th in Stuttgart. Hmm. so I either fly over for the 7th and fly home and then back to Hamburg, or I take the 18th and take a nice summer vacation. Option 2 just made more sense.

Originally I was hesitant to drive around for days on end, so a short and simple road trip was planned. But then I had 5 days before I needed to be in Hamburg, so then what? I thought about various places, like Malta or Greece or Poland, but I had little problem, Baggage. I was traveling for 12 days so I had some serious bags. Too much to be schlepping on the train. And have you seen what airlines charge these days for bags? So my options were limited to flying on Star Alliance. And of course there had to be a Hilton or Hyatt. And I wanted to take advantage of the fact it was summer.

So given all that nonsense, going to Copenhagen checked all the boxes. SAS flew direct from Frankfurt, there was a HIlton, and it’s just beautiful in the summer.

So I corral all my bags and head to check in for my flight in Frankfurt.Where I proceed to make a big stink because they try to tell me I need to pay to check my 2nd bag. Fine, I tell the agent, just charge me, it’s wrong but I am not going to argue. The agent I am not oh wait I am sorry you are correct you don’t have to pay. VICTORY for like 2 seconds. Why would I fight with the agent taking my bags, they may end up in Timbuktu……

I make it to the gate area and I overhear some Americans talking. It’s funny the things people will say when they think those around them don’t understand. It was quite entertaining.

And finally board the plane, luckily it’s a quick flight because I am not sure how much time I could handle having my knees in my throat

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