One of the few remaining places with the wall still intact in Berlin
As usual, tried to pack too many places into not enough time – but part of that was an error in planning logics. Plan was to go to German speaking countries as a substitute for Annelise not going to a 3 week course, visit Croatia which had long been on our list to visit, tie that into the only two weeks Alex had available and my work obligations the following week, and not spend any money on the transatlantic airfare. The arrival/destination was based on what I could get with frequent flyer miles – so into Munich and out of Vienna for the girls, out of Dubrovnik for Sharon (who had less vacation available) and I would figure mine out later. The day after booking the ticket, I received an advert that Paul McCartney was in concert in Munich and it was already sold out. Then about two months before the trip – I got another advert that Paul McCartney had added a second German show. I logged in and immediately got tickets. Then about a month before the trip I got another advert that Paul McCartney was adding US shows – and noticed that the show on June 14 was in Berlin, not Munich. So had to rebook a portion of the of the air tickets (in all we were on 19 different booked segments) and planned to drive from Munich to Berlin and stay in Berlin another day – cutting time in Munich and Croatia. But in doing so allowed us to visit Dresden a place to which we would have never gone.
Berlin and Munich
I had been recently to both so in a way I became the travel guide. Euro 2016 formed a backdrop as every night there were games and TV’s set up in outside locations. We saw Germany play in Munich – I was surprised at the lack of enthusiasm – maybe in the preliminary rounds they just assumed that they were going to win or maybe because we were at the Hofbrau Haus and not many Germans go there. Visited the tourist spots in both, but came across a local street fair which was good – it is always the unexpected. They served beer in glass mugs but charged a $2 deposit….so we have a glass mug now. Lots of rain as well so we ended up at more indoor places and hop on/hop off buses. The girls seemed to like Checkpoint Charlie Museum the best – I like it as well if you go to Berlin it is a must.
Driving from Munich to Berlin on the autobahn sounds great – but in the rental Ford Montero station wagon it isn’t quite the same as a BMW commercial. Nurnberg was a nice town and we spent some time in the War Crimes Museum that was at the courthouse where the trials took place. Learned a lot and how a just system provided a path forward for Germany rebuilding without having issues that it had been oppressed – that is that WWII actually ended instead of years of continued conflict.
It is the surprises in travel that make it worth it – many times the actual sites aren’t as impressive as the HDTV drone footage that cuts out the surrounding areas, As we were driving through the former East German town with the block apartments I was second guessing if this was a place worth stopping for a night – then we came across a river and it was like seeing Venice, Paris, or Florence. Stunning and almost 100% rebuilt as a bombing raid had destroyed most of the town. Almost like a theme park it was so clean and tidy – parking garages under the medieval sites and many new hotels/condos with modern amenities. Definitely a destination in its own right.