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October 10th. This was a partial travel day, and our first day in Berlin. We flew into Berlin-Tegel mid-morning, Germany time. I did manage to get a few pictures during the flight.

A few photos while we were crossing over Great Britain. I actually took quite a few pictures at this point, when the sun was just starting to show pink in the east. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough light for the camera, so most of them didn't turn out.

Interesting - note the Rolls Royce emblem on the side of the engine

Sunrise barely visible over Great Britain

Morning sky turning pink
The east coast visible
The east coast visible

Big white building in courtyard
Tight parking in the courtyard
Something about Berlin and bears

Here are some pictures of our hotel courtyard once we arrived in Berlin. The transatlantic flight was uneventful, as was immigration in Berlin-Tegel airport. We grabbed a taxi, and embarked upon one of the fastest and most terrifying cab rides I've been on.

The ride was fast, damned fast, through the narrow streets of eastern Berlin. There was a lot of construction going on, and people park in odd places, so there were several close calls with immobile objects. Our driver didn't appear to be concerned, so I mentally closed my eyes and hung on. And before you folks from New York or Shanghai start piping up about how much of a wussy I am, yeah, I realize that. Where I'm from, you don't need taxis.

He got us to our hotel, and his car fit snugly through the driveway through the hotel to the courtyard. We had arrived, and happily the hotel employee at the front desk spoke English.

Berlin has a thing about bears, so this bear statue was in the hotel courtyard, right outside the main entrance.

The hotel was not overly fancy or anything. Rather, it was clean, simple, and utilitarian. We had given our AAA agent a per-night budget of $100, so this is one of the cities we could have benefitted from a higher budget.

These are our rooms. Simple, clean, nothing to write home about.

The bottom photo is the view Tracy and Rob had from their room's window.

Rob in their hotel room
More like a dorm room
View out Tracy and Rob's window

Strange shower doors
The haunted fan

My room had a few unique traits to it. The first is the interesting shower doors - they parted at the corner to slide right and left. Kind of a manual Star Trek effect, I'd never seen shower doors like this before.

The second is the evil bathroom fan. In the picture, you can see the center part of the fan - when turned on, that part dropped down out of the outer portion about an inch, and made a rather scary mechanical growling noise. If you're expecting it, it's just a weird noisy fan.

However, at 12:00AM in a strange city, it makes you poop a little. The night before we left for Prague, my bathroom fan did exactly that - it turned itself on at the very stroke of midnight, making that horrible growling noise. The switch was still off, but it was running. Fear the fan.

We had been following a special diet for days, one that is designed to combat jetlag. It consisted of eating high-protein breakfast and lunch, and a high-carb dinner. Also, the day of the flight, you had to have coffee or tea at a very precise time in the evening. It's supposed to "reset" your body's internal clock, and ease the transition into the new time. As much as I was dreading yet another high-protein anything, I have to admit that it worked wonderfully. We felt tired the first day in Berlin, but nothing like the last trip.

So, to keep things rolling in the right direction and not fall asleep, we struck out on foot to see some of Berlin. We were staying in the old East Berlin, so some of the surroundings were Soviet-era, while the rest appeared to be typical European.

Here are two streets we walked along. Note how narrow they are.

Interesting - also note the dogs, and the fact they're not on leashes. We found this to be very common, and to make it even more amazing, the dogs stayed right with their owners while sitting/walking/riding.

Picturesque street
People socializing on the street
Amazingly well-trained dogs

<-- Oct 9th   Oct 11th -->

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