Berlin at Last!

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Leonardo’s come back to Paris. Well, not for good. He’s just spending a few days here before he goes to Berlin which is really just a stepping stone for San Francisco while he sorts out his US working visa.

The most moving moment in Berlin - one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall

The most moving moment in Berlin – one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall

We’ve been to Berlin before. One of Jean Michel’s sons, Forge Ahead, was doing an exchange at the faculty of medicine there for six months so we decided to all go and pay him a visit at the same time – my two children, Leonardo and Black Cat, and Jean Michel’s other son, Thoughtful.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

After consulting with the German exchange student who was staying with us, the first thing we did was to book online for a hotel in the Mitte district for a long weekend and reserve our flights, with the exception of Thoughtful, who wanted to take the train and stay longer with his brother.

The Brandenburg Gate is the trademark of Berlin. The main entrance to the city, surrounded by the wall for thirty years, was known throughout the world as a symbol for the division of the city and for the division of the world into two power blocs.

The Brandenburg Gate is the trademark of Berlin. The main entrance to the city, surrounded by the wall for thirty years, was known throughout the world as a symbol for the division of the city and for the division of the world into two power blocs.

Do you remember that volcanic cloud from Iceland that hovered over Europe and caused havoc with European flights in 2010 for five weeks? Well, it was exactly then.

The Berlin Parliament or Reichstag Building

The Berlin Parliament or Reichstag Building

Like the Australian that I am, I suggested we could drive there, but Jean Michel pointed out that it would take us so long to get there and back that it wouldn’t be worth it. So, with the exception of Thoughtful, we had to cancel everything, hoping that we would be able to postpone our bookings and not lose them altogether.

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral

We finally found another date that suited everyone in May – not an easy task – and re-scheduled our flights. Unfortunately we lost the hotel booking as there was no room left on the weekend we chose. Thoughtful took another overnight train ticket.

Inside the stunning Pergamon Museum

Inside the stunning Pergamon Museum

The day he was to leave, there was a massive train strike in France and his train was cancelled. We jumped on the Internet to find a flight for the next morning. Our plane was full, but we found an earlier one for him. I didn’t double-check the departure date and had pressed the button before realising I had bought a non-reimbursable return ticket for the following day.

The Spree River

The Spree River

Thoughtful then reminded us that he would be coming back by train as planned so we found another one-way ticket and I let Jean Michel press all the buttons this time …

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

Leonard, Black Cat, Jean Michel and I got to Orly airport next morning in good time (Thoughtful had already taken off) and checked our flight on the board. “There’s a problem with our flight, Mum”, said Black Cat, “It’s been cancelled”.

By then, I was beginning to wonder if the whole thing was jinxed.

A squat in Berlin - a most unusual experience

A squat in Berlin – a most unusual experience

We made a beeline for the airline information counter. It turned out there was a strike in Madrid and our plane hadn’t been serviced. We finally managed to find another flight to Berlin via Amsterdam that would only make us 3 hours late but we would have to hurry to make it. Fortunately, we all had carry-on luggage only otherwise they wouldn’t have taken us!

A beer bar  bike

A beer bar bike

When we finally touched down in Berlin, I heaved an immense sigh of relief! And as you can see from the photos, we had a most enjoyable weekend. You’ll also be pleased to hear that we arrived home without any further mishaps.

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3 Responses to Berlin at Last!

  1. Gigi says:

    Oh my lord, a Beer bar bike? I have never seen/heard of them before….but I’d like to bet an Aussi invented it…it has Larikin written all ore it!

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      The Germans are pretty big on beer. Sometimes there were 20 different beers on the menu in a Gasthof in Bavaria!

  2. Pingback: Post-Holiday Depression and Miscellaneous Holiday Photos | Aussie in France

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