Wednesday, 23rd July

Lazy start to the day with a home cooked breakie, we packed up all our stuff and headed out of Berlin toward Hamburg via the Autobahn by around 11am. It was a 3 hour trip via the Highway or 7 hours via the backroads, with an expected temp of 36 degrees today we decided not to be in the car all day. Ps. The Autobahn is not nearly as impressive or scary as we’d thought it would be. It’s actually just a big highway with 4 lanes both sides and no speed limit.

Arrived in Hamburg ahead of schedule so did a detour into the City to have a quick look around, grab a town map and have a drink break. The train station is massive!!!!

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We’re staying in an apartment just outside of Hamburg (about 15 mins drive), so after doing some shopping we checked in.

The apartment has a pretty cool view and we have a little mate to keep us company for the next two days. How cute is Maya!

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Early night ready for lots of sightseeing tomorrow.

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2014 European Adventure Germany

Tuesday, 22nd July

Today was surreal. No really, it was all about Picasso and Paul Klee amongst others.

Started off our morning with a home cooked organic breakfast, we’ve broken up our adventure by staying in some apartments via Airbnb, the best part is having a kitchen and being able to cook our own food.

Berlin has fantastic public transport, you can buy a day pass for about 8 Euro that allows you to use any tram, train or bus for the entire day until 3am the next morning.

We negotiated a tram, then a bus to the Museum Berggruen this art gallery has over 100 Picasso pieces and it was incredible. There was also work by Henri Matisse, and Alberto Giacometti. Across the road there was another gallery that is included in the admission – The Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg which had a Paul Klee exhibit, so after looking through both galleries, a coffee and a shared croissant we were kept busy until lunchtime.

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Close by to the Museums is the Charlottenburg Palace, it’s the largest palace in Berlin, and the only surviving royal residence in the city it was originally established in 1699 and is absolutely beautiful.

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A bus and a train and we went to the seedy tourist side of Berlin, Check Point Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial. It was hectic, full of tourists and we both really didn’t think much of it all.

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We decided to go back to the apartment for a late lunch/early dinner (awesome steak and salad) and a nap 🙂

The days are long here in Germany at the moment, sunrise before 6am and sunset around 9.30pm, so after a good nap we headed back out at 8.30pm to return to the Brandenburg Gate, we wanted to see it at sunset and had heard that it was beautifully lit up at night.

What an awesome evening, a balmy 26 degrees with a cool breeze, we set ourselves up in a perfect spot in front of the gate, had a few beers/wines, chatted and took a million photos 🙂 Such a perfect way to finish our trip in Berlin – off to Hamburg tomorrow.

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Monday, 21st July

Bec has been sick with a mutation of the “airplane flu”. After trying to kill it with cold and flu tablets (called “antigrippine” in Dutch) she still isn’t getting better. We had to take her to a doctor – no mean feat in a country where you don’t know the language. After a few helpful people enjoyed practicing their English, we managed to find one who not only checked Bec out and gave her instructions on how to get better in German with sign languages, but also proscribed natural based anti-biotics. The best part? He didn’t even charge for the consultation! Really nice guy and so helpful.

After Bec had taken her pills, we were off to do some site seeing. Bec has got the whole public transport thing wired with the help of her iPhone. We caught a train and a bus and ended up at the Reichstag Building.

The Reichstag building was built in 1894 and was basically a government building. It is massive and impressive and a huge tourist attraction.

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After looking at the building and snapping a few photos were stopped for some food and drink (schnitzel and beer) and then headed around the corner to the Brandenburg Gate. It was built in the late 1700s and is a sort of gate to the city. It was badly damaged in WWII, but has been restored.

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From the gate you can see the Victory Column. We decided to walk there through the forest/park and take some more pics. Although it was a long walk on a hot day (around 35 degrees), the forest was cooler and we saw some great stuff along the way.

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From there we caught a taxi back to the gate and walked through the city. We saw some amazing sites, like the square where the famous book burning took place –

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– and also saw the Gendarmenmarkt, a square that has a concert hall and a German and French cathedral on either side of it. We were lucky enough to catch some traditional German dancing there as well!

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After that we went to “Museum Island” where there were lots of museums on a island made by the main river through Berlin – the Spree. We didn’t have time to visit inside them, but the buildings themselves were magnificent.

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After that, we went home exhausted. Tomorrow we hope to see more sights, but these photos are only the very edited highlights of what we saw!

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Sunday, 20th July – Hannover to Berlin

During this trip it was a rare treat for us to stay in a hotel that wasn’t an Ibis. Therefore we got up excited about the included buffet breakfast waiting downstairs. After enjoying (amongst other things) fresh waffles and orange juice we headed off to explore Hannover.

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At 7.30am it was already 25 degrees we were in for a scorcher, so we were pleased to get an early start as usual.

The city of Hannover was hit hard in World War II due to its location to Berlin and its manufacturing activity at the time. It was a strategic target and the Allies attacked it fiercely, more than 90% of the city centre was destroyed in 88 bombing raids until eventually taken under control by the Allies. The buildings and ruins therefore have many interesting stories, such as the Aegidienkirche built in the 14th Century but not rebuilt, rather kept as a memorial.

The town feels traditional, its buildings and architecture particularly in the old town have not been remodelled nor modernised.

   

This massive church was in the middle of the Old Town and Keith’s favourite 🙂

 

In nearly every German town there is a Rathaus or Town Hall it generally plays an important part in the Town’s culture, whether it be for daily/weekend markets, concerts, town meetings etc. The Rathaus in Hannover was especially beautiful.

 

After looking around Hannover it was time to head to Berlin, this was a trip that unfortunately we had to do via the highway as time just wouldn’t permit going an alternative route (3hrs vs 5hrs).

Unfortunately Bec’s ‘plane flu’ had progressed to something more sinister, so once arriving in Berlin and checking into our accommodation for the next three nights, she crashed out. We’ll have an interesting visit to the Doctor tomorrow 🙂

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