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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

The Germans are so..on time!

GERMANY | Friday, 25 July 2008 | Views [507] | Comments [1]

We arrived in Berlin early afternoon and had a few hours to kill before meeting our host. So we did what every american does while travelin-we went shopping! Jessica needed a new bathing suit and I was searching for this shirt I saw in Krakow that was not my size. The weather was also crappy so we were trying to avoid the rain.

We met our host, Birgit in front of the train station and she whisked us via the metro to her flat. She immediately made us feel very welcome and comfortable in her great apartment. She gave us her bed and took us out for Mexican food. It was not even that bad, who have thought in Berlin. The next day we set off for the "free tour" of the city. It was four hours long and actually only cost us 5 euros for a tip. Our tour guide was irish and dropped out of law school to give tours. There were 35 in a our group, let's say 20 gave tips, the average seemed to be 5 euros, and two tours a day plus special requests well you do the math!

We saw the Brandenburg Gate, Jewish memorial, Hitler's bunker, berlin wall, checkpoint charlie, etc...Let me say that so far Berlin is a great city, lots going on and so vibrant even if it rained every day! Plus you have to know the city is 800 years old but really just 18 years old since the wall came down. After the tour we squeezed in the Hamburger art museum. The next day we hit the Berlin wall and its famous graffitti art and the wall documentation center with its remaining wall and death strip which was right before you hit the wall if trying to escape. Jessica got a little piece of the wall but in reality there is not much of the wall left in the city. Our host Birgit also helped us arrange a rideshare to Munich, our first for the next leg. We ate middle eastern food and watched a movie on the couch, we were tired...

On Saturday Birgit went with us to meet our ride. Good thing because they did not show up! She was very helpful and called her friend who got on the internet and found us another ride leaving an hour later! Birgit was our saving grace. We met our ride and his other passengers traveling in his work truck for a 30 euro and 6 hour ride to Munich. Not bad for a couple of world traveling yanks.

Munich in the land of Bavaria, almost would know it was Germany because they consider themselves Bavarian before German. We happened to arrive on the 850th year anniversary of Munich to see Jessica's old high school friends who both live in Munich. She has not seen them for 15 years so it was a happy reunion. Lena and Sommer have been in Munich for over 8 years. Lena is married to a nice, talented German fellow named Burnhart(sp) and has lots of children, two young ones. Summer works at the university which Lena did as well before taking time away to raise Riley and Charlie. We stayed a night with Lena and missed most of the crazy celebrations in Munich because we were tired.

The next day we got a late start(slept in) then went into the city to see more celebrations with Sommer and Lena. We said goodbye and called our host Ingo who lived about 40 minutes away from Munich by train. He met us at the train station and it was a bit of a surprise mostly because Ingo is a big, big guy! He is 6'8" and a half with a nice bald head and a big sense of humor. He took us home to meet Angela and Caroline his girlfriend and her daughter. They set up in their spare room on an air mattress but not before I had leftovers and gummy bears. But not just any gummy bears, Haribo gummy bears from Germany the best in the world! Ingo and the ladies would disagree and this was the beginning of our frequent debate on which gummies were better.

the next day we spent the morning trying to arrange travel to Prague only to discover everything was booked unless we wanted to pay lots of euros. So Ingo helped us arrange another great rideshare for 20 euros each to Prague but not leaving until Friday, it was Monday. Ingo laughed at us and kindly offered his flat for another few nights, thankfully. So we called Lena and Sommer again to meet at the biergarten a few nights later when we all had more time. after getting a late start the next day for more Munich sightseeing we decided to come back on the train. However, not only did we forget Jessica's phone, Ingo had an evening meeting and had sent Angela's number so we could call her when we got back from the train to get picked up. He sent her number to Jessica's phone, oops' oh and to make matters worse, my phone died right when we got off the train. So we waited around for 2.5 hours at the train station from 7:45 to 10:00ish for someone to maybe come get us. Meanwhile asking to borrow different cell phones, first sending a text to Ingo, next using a payphone to leave a message then finding a couple to make another call to Ingo who told us we were using the wrong number! We finally reached Ingo who laughed at us and said next time remember your phone! Indeed!

The next day Ingo lent us their bikes and we set off for Munich riding along the river(20km). About 4 km from Munich Michael the magnificant got a flat tire which will forever remain a mystery and we commenced walking the bikes into Munich. We found the metro and illegally took the bikes onto the train so we could get into Munich to do some business. We called Sommer who met us for tea and soda and then made our way back on the above ground train for Ingo's house. Ingo was rowing that evening so earlier that morning he gave us what he now calls the  "couchsurfing" phone for visitors who need to call him or who forget their phones! Angela and caroline picked us up and served as great pasta salad. Jessica and I decided to take a day trip with Lena and Charlie to the castle that Walt Disney modeled the Magic Kingdom after. It was a beautiful trip save one thing... Charlie is a 1 year old and he decided the car was not for him this day so he cried almost the entire way there and back. I of course was in the seat with him trying to learn the subtles methods of appeasing a one year old. I failed, miserably! A one hour drive to the castle took us four hours but it was a beautiful day and the castle was pretty nice to look visit (see pictures). We ended the day getting back to Munich late for some swing lessons with Sommer at a local club. I learned some new swing moves and brushed up on my three step. Jessica learned some swing moves and how not to lead! That one likes to be in charge... We had a great time and took the train home to get ready to leave the next morning for Prague. We had a longer but defintely fun and exciting time in Germany. Berlin was the highlight for both of us and it was really good to see Jessica reunited with Lena and Sommer. Prague awaits...



I have to agree with you Mike, Haribo gummy bears rock!

  Lacey Jul 30, 2008 6:55 AM

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