Berlin & Vienna
Arrival in Berlin
Our last ridiculously early morning travel day went fairly smooth. Out the door by 3:45am onto a bus (It was literally a Night Bus, just like Harry Potter! And it felt like Harry Potter too as our driver was a crazy man and the other “characters” on board were quite…interesting to say the least. – Red) where two of the crassest (not classiest) drunken British girls were arguing about who said what behind who’s back, onto another bus to London Stansted, through a mass cluster of people bottle-necking to security and onto our Berlin-bound winged bus, formerly known as RyanAir. Once in Berlin, we had to play a game of train hopping and eventually made it into the city.
Once again, we were blown away by the awesome AirBnB that awaited us. After the hostel/frathouse we stayed at in London, (and the elf attic before that! – Red) this was a beautiful, quiet dream. And dream we did, for fourteen freakin’ hours the first night in a king-sized bed (and Vegas-like curtains – Red). It’s been awhile since we’ve slept in a bed in which small bulging springs weren’t abusing us all night. Just lovely.
Of course we went to see Star Wars on opening day, I don’t think it matters where in the world we are, we would always make Star Wars happen. Who passes up the opportunity to stand in line with a bunch of German-speaking Wookies (yes, along with grunts and growls, they also speak German) and German Jedi fighting with lightsabers? The difficulty is finding a theater that doesn’t dub over the movie; which involves going to a German movie theatre and asking in broken German if the American movie is screened in English. We finally found an English showing, that wasn’t sold out. So, off we went to see Star Wars on a giant screen that only German’s could engineer, in 3D.
(One word – AMAZING! – Red)
Berlin is definitely the most modern looking city that we’ve been to. The entire city center was being renovated while we were here, so there wasn’t much to see there except an incredible construction operation. Literally, the entire section was under construction simultaneously with some of the most incredible organization I’ve ever seen.
One very unique tourist attraction is the Berlin Wall. Some sections are still standing as a monument, or reminder, of what took place in this city. It’s incredible to think that it really wasn’t all that long ago. Each district seems to still have a distinct feel to it’s architecture and streets.
It really was so striking to see pieces of the wall still standing and Checkpoint Charlie just down the street from our place. It wasn’t that long ago that this beautiful city was divided. Germany in general has had one of the most interesting histories. It’s almost like a new country as it has rebuilt itself so many times. Yet even with its historically rough past, it is one of my favorites. The people are so nice and helpful, the food is great, and the cities are so clean and welcoming. I definitely look forward to exploring more of Germany in our future.
We finally got to wake up at a normal-person-time on a travel day. (Unfortunately, we’re all messed up still from so many crazy travel days, different timezones, and late nights that normal for us has been 11:00pm. But anything is better than 3:00am! – Red) We had a short flight from Berlin to Bratislava, Slovakia. From the airport we boarded a bus that smuggled us across the Austrian border into Vienna. We then hopped on the underground and rode to the center of the city to out beautiful hotel.
Yes, that’s right, hotel. Christmas in style, thanks to Lee and Erin Harris. They were supposed to meet us here, but with my sister-in-law ready to have baby #2, they opted for a Northern California Christmas. It’s okay, we thoroughly enjoyed your hotel room in your absence 🙂 Wish you could have been here! (It wasn’t the same without you! 🙁 – Red)
The Christmas market here was awesome. It was beneath the old gothic-style city hall. They didn’t have ice-skating, unfortunately, but they did have pony rides. Double unfortunately, they wouldn’t let Red ride a pony. No big kids allowed. (I guess my fun ended at Platform 9 3/4 – Red)
We ate tons of local food, drank tons of mulled wine and enjoyed the beautiful light displays. We really would have appreciated a little snow in Vienna. But I have a feeling we’ll get plenty of snow in Colorado over the next few months.
But mainly, we lounged in our luxurious hotel room, watched tons of Christmas movies, ordered way too much room service, and basically just lived like royalty for a few days. We had been looking forward to this relaxing part of our trip since he beginning and took full advantage.
Thank you so so much again to Lee and Erin for a fabulous Christmas gift! Even though we missed you all, it was really nice to have a quite comfortable holiday with my bearded man. – Red.
And for our final stop of the trip….. back to BUDAPEST! We promise to keep it clean this time ;). We hope.