Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sam Explores Germany & Switzerland Pt 7

Thurs Sept 3/09

Woke up at 6:35am…actually Pat told me that I was snoring really loudly last night and she didn’t sleep at all. SORRY PAT! I can’t help it sometimes… Anyway, we decided that we would do a free day tour at 10:30am. We got ready for breakfast which was from 7-9am. I met Margaret and Pat in the breakfast room.

After eating breakfast, we checked out early as we are leaving tomorrow at 5:30am. Our train leaves at 6:08am for Munich. We bought another transit pass and headed out. Today was a crazy weather day. It was cool outside, but once we had been walking for 10 mins or so, it started to periodically pour. Pat decided to buy an umbrella. Margaret and I had hoodies on, so we decided to hold off on getting umbrellas. Soon it began to really pour, so we got on a bus. We didn’t realize that it was the wrong one and didn’t even stop near where we were going! We all kept an eye out for a station sign and finally got off at another station. We took the S line back to our regular stop Zoolischgarten (sp?) and headed to the DUNKIN’ DONUTS where the free tours would start.

Once there, our group was picked up by Katie and we went back on the trains to go to Friedricsen (sp?) Station. Their company offered two tours today – Sachsenhausen (Concentration Camp) or FREE walking tour. All of the tours began at Brandenburg Gate and we ended up with Paul as our guide. He’s an Aussie who has been living in Berlin for two and a half years. We covered the history of Berlin, Brandenburg Gate, the hotel, the embassies, the chancellor…,

Of interest: Fredrick the Great, the monument with the woman holding her dying child – handfuls of dirt from different battlefields, the end of the Berlin Wall, East & West Germany, Holocaust Memorial (which was quite an experience…you really feel swallowed up walking around the uneven blocks and uneven ground), Nazi building, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler’s Bunker (which is now the site of a parking lot in front of a building that used to be the S.S. housing)…

-A Former Wonder of the World: Ishtar Gate-
At the end of our tour we went to the Pergamon Museum that housed the Ishtar Gate which was part of the Walls of Babylon. There was some really interesting stuff there. The wall is SUPERHUGE and I’m always amazed at how well the museums preserve their artifacts. We did an English audio guide tour and it was very busy that day. We continued to take pictures of surrounding buildings and sites as we left.

For our last dinner in Berlin, we went to a pub/restaurant. Margaret and I ordered smoked pork with sauerkraut (sp?) and potato dumplings. Pat ordered the goulash. The portions were MEGAHUGE! We couldn’t finish it all! We all ordered Berliner Kindl to drink…we had to have one last beer in Berlin.

After that, we went to a supermarket to buy some snacks for the train. We walked Margaret back to the hotel and Pat and I went back out with my netbook. We wanted to use the internet, so we parked ourselves at a restaurant called GOODLIFE, a Thai restaurant which advertised they had wireless, for dessert & Strongbow. Unfortunately it didn’t work so we ended up just drinking and eating fried bananas with ice cream. Headed back to the hotel to briefly sleep before leaving for our train.

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