We arrived at around 7AM Saturday morning. I had spent the night in a coffin with 5 other people, but, surprisingly got a decent sleep.
I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting much from this city. Berlin had never made list of must-see places, and besides the Berlin Wall, I didn't know much else about it.
Perhaps due to our amazing tour guide I've changed my mind. I love Berlin and would love to live there for a little while. I was blown away by the history of the city and the beauty that has come from the ashes.
This is the moment to the Jews that were killed in the Holocaust.
It's bizarre and strange. Rows and rows and rows of concrete blocks. It cost $27 million Euros. It's an effective memorial though.
I may have gotten lost in there and almost been left behind by my tour group.
What does one do in that situation?
I don't know what I expected The Berlin Wall to look like.
Ironically, they're now doing a lot of work on the remaining portions of wall to keep it up and in good repair.
When they built the wall, they put the concrete sewer pipe halves on top as there was no way to grab onto the wall and thus climb over.
While everyone else has to double park, the little smart car just side parks and takes up a tiny amount of space. I'll take one.
We took a train to Prague on Monday morning and arrived mid-late afternoon. The hostel guy suggested a pub around the corner for dinner and recommended the garlic soup. Seriously, who eats garlic soup? Pfft.
However, as it was the cheapest thing on the menu I got brave and ... cheap.
And it was amazing. Seriously, ah-maz-ing. I may or may not have eaten there the 3 nights we stayed in Prague. And I may or may not have ordered the garlic soup each night. I'm pretty sure that a.) they call me Garlic-Soup-Girl at that pub and b.) garlic is coming out of my pores.
[Side note: did you know there is pore, pour & poor]
I felt small and vulnerable the moment we stepped off the train in Prague. I had no clue about the Czech language and it was all rather confusing.
We spent a lot of time looking for the Charles Bridge. We found many bridges and met many Charles' but the Charles Bridge hid from us until our last day. But it was impressive once we finally found it.
Here we are on another bridge.
So we spent quite a bit of time poring over this map. Searching for our place in this world, for where we wanted to go, and how we could get there. We saw a sign for the station Kouření zakázáno and looked for where that was on the map, but alas, we could not find it for Kouření zakázáno meant: No Smoking. I'd like to think that was the end of our stupidity but we may or may not have searched for this same stop later again in our trip.
I had heard reports of a singing fountain. The Krizik Fountain uses music and lights and water to put on an amazing display. So I headed in the fountainous direction one night, and I was all prepared to part with $200 korunas to watch a show. However I got there a little early and found a little gap in the fence from which I was able to watch the earlier show - and it was good! And it wasn't a bad view - for free. And so I stayed to watch the next show, from my gap in the fence. A few other el-cheapos saw what I was doing and searched for their own gap. Alas, none to be found. And so I had them lining up behind me asking for just one minute.
Then I got wise and decided to charge for my gap.
I made a fortune!
Nah, not really, but I should have charged them all.
We also visited the John Lennon Wall, which I loved. But I think I'll save that for it's own blog sometime...
....was an expensive city centre filled with amazing buildings that reached the sky. It was narrow streets and tall buildings. I did escape to the Danube for a short while which was lovely.
I'd heard that you could get in to the Staatsoper for standing price if you lined up early enough. I got there almost an hour and a half early and there was already quite a crown lining up for these 4 Euro tickets. But I did get in and got to see an Italian Opera.
I also sat near Meryl Streep. I may or may not have spent a substantial amount of time during the Opera deciding whether it was Meryl Streep or not.
But I'm going to stick with yes, it was.
I'd also heard that you could get cheap tickets for the Volksoper - if you were willing to sit in the not so favourable seats. But after standing for the previous night I was willing to sit!
We got tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet, or Das Nussknacker. I was sharing a platform with a lovely old couple who for some reason had bought a third seat on the front of the platform for no apparent reason and allowed me to sit with them.
Very lovely. She spoke a little English but tended to mix it with a lot of German and so I am quite proficient at smiling and nodding.
But the Nutcracker was truely amazing and I felt like I was whisked away to a fairytale for a couple of hours.
I also got to spend some time with George Clooney.
And after taking the night train home from Austria I am glad to be home in the land of the familiar. Ironically so. I'm glad for some clean clothes and my.own.bed.
And - whilst away - spring seems to have sprung in Zurich. Amazing colour everywhere and tonight I am going to the Burning of the Böögg.
More on this later...