Berlin,Germany November 2014

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And my final stop, Berlin. I had visited Berlin this summer, so I had done the “major” sites. I enjoyed it enough to want to go back to visit.  And well you already know of my love of Christmas Markets.

I arrived in Berlin by train from Dresden. Again with the laziness, I took a taxi to my hotel, Grand Hyatt Berlin.  That lucky taxi driver is now the owner of my Ipod. Yes I still carry an Ipod and all I have to say on the matter, is mind your business. (Yes I mean you, Whitney and Kevin)

This summer I used the Hop on Hop off bus for all my transportation needs, because it was easy. This trip I decided to walk around because according to the map the sites were close by. Which was probably true, but it was COLD.  So first stop? Yep, you guessed it, Gluhwein and a Bratwurst.

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There are over 100 Christmas Markets in Berlin. There was no way I was going to hit 100, but I figured I could visit some of the majors.  I started in Potsdamer Platz as it was right next to my hotel. It’s claim to fame is that is has snow hill for tubing.

I then headed over to Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt, which is probably my all time favorite market.

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Gluhwein, Langos, Hot Belgium Waffles….. Magical…….

I did manage to do some actual siteseeing, in between eating and drinking.  I booked a early tour of the Reichstag. And given that I still had not mastered the train/tram/bus system, I walked.  It was cold, but I got to see a not crowded Brandenburg Gate. IMG_2783 IMG_2786

I checked out the Topography of Terror and then the Jewish Museum. They had a interesting special exhibit on circumcision, Snip/it!

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And finally back to the Christmas Markets, I finally had to breakdown to get a tram/train ticket. I visited the markets at Alexanderplatz,  Kaiser Wilheim Church and Charlottenburg Palace.  They were all quite nice, but the winner is still the one at Gendarmenmarkt.

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I will be heading back again, no question. And with that I say Auf Wiedersehen

 

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.