Our Trip to a Baltic Sea cruise on Princess Cruises - Monday, August 1, 2011-Berlin, Germany

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August 1st 2011
Published: August 3rd 2011
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Rise and shine, 530am, in morning was the way the day started, however this is a good. My daughter was celebrating her 20th birthday on the cruise. What an awesome way to spend your birthday. Great memory maker. The weather in the morning was foggy, drizzle, and very cool, jacket weather. Our port was Warnemunde, Germany.

Just an interesting point, about 90% of Berlin was total destroyed during WWII bombing. It is amazing how they have rebuilt after so much destruction.

Today was to be a long day, leaving at 645am and arriving back at the ship at 8:00pm. After eating breakfast at 6:15am, we met for our tour at 645am and then proceeded to the port area. From there we walked about a ½ mile to board a charter train. The train was scheduled take 3 hours. Thank goodness the temperature was cool because the train was not air conditioned. The four of us boarded the train (regional train DB in German) and were very fortunate to find our own compartment to sit in where we could close off our door. The compartment was a 5 seater, however only the four of us sat there. We had hot water for coffee and tea waiting for us. Later during the train ride our host provided muffins and additional drinks. We also we received a map and guide for Berlin. This gentleman was very accommodating and friendly. We really enjoyed looking at the countryside from the port to Berlin, however we also noticed there were several building empty and not taken care of. Very run down. During our tour, we were scheduled to see the following areas; Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, photo stop of the Charlottenburg Palace, eating lunch at Opernpalais Opera House for lunch, a Pipe Organ Recital, and Pergamon Museum.

Berlin Wall
Visiting part of the one mile length of the Berlin Wall left is incredible and hear about its history is mind boggling. At one point, before the dismantling of the wall in 1989, the wall was over 800 miles long. The wall separated east and west Berlin and on either side they knocked down. Much of the remaining wall has been decorated with paintings. Where the wall used to be is marked on the ground surface with two bricks side by side. Some of the areas where the wall used to be now have either roads or buildings in those areas.

Checkpoint Charlie
This is one of three checkpoints used during WWII. It was manned by US Forces. According to our tour guide, there were actually three checkpoints and they were associated by A, B, and C. Checkpoint Charlie was C. Allied forces were the only ones allowed through there. Although the site still remains, the checkpoint is not controlled by anyone, rather there are two people dressed in military gear posing for pictures and charging 2 Euro’s.

Opernpalais Opera House
For lunch today we visited an old opera house, Opernpalais. We entered the building and went to the second floor which looks a small concert hall; similar to an actual concert hall we saw a concert in back in March while in Vienna. Our menu included a soup, Poulard Breast filled chicken with young spinach, vegetable variations with fresh herbs and rosemary potatoes, and a vanilla ice cream tarlet with homemade red fruit jelly dessert. Since my daughter was celebrating her birthday, I said something to the tour guide. Before dessert was served the waiter staff brought out the dessert with a sparkler (representing a candle) as her birthday cake. We spent a little less than an hour here.

Pipe Organ Recital
When I heard we were going to visit a cathedral, which is actually a Lutheran church, they were going to hear a pipe organ recital I knew I would be in heaven. This is one my favorite things to do when in Europe is visit churches with pipe organs. It is very rare I ever get to hear the organ play. They played 4 numbers which included, Toccata d-Moll (Bach), Prince of Denmark’s March (Jeremiah Clarke), Suite goithique op. 25 >>Priere a Notre Dame>Toccata<< (Leon Boellmann) . I was lucky that I brought along my iTouch. My son showed me how to record sounds. I ended up putting the iTouch on the balcony ledge and recorded the 13 minute recital. This was totally awesome.

Pergamon Museum
I had no expectation of this island museum. I know my father-in-law heard it was a great museum, however I had no idea. We had one hour to explore this museum of antiquities. It is probably the best museum I have ever seen which displays and demonstrates ruins from Greece, Turkey, and now Iraq. Although not all the stones were original, many of them were. They represented Pergamon Altar Hall, Hellenistic architecture, Roman architecture, Babylon, and archaeological finds from Assur. Since we only had one hour at the museum, we were able to take the highlights tour with our audio player.
At about 5:15pm in the afternoon we heading back to our train for the 3 hour journey back to our ship. We were able to sit in the same compartment. During our trip back to the ship, we received a tray of food which was pretty interesting. It included a pimento/relish/cheese sandwich (yuck), some type of beef jerky, peanuts (something finally good), tic tacs, yogurt, pudding, and some mystery bar with cream. What a combination of stuff…

We did not arrive back to the ship until 8:15pm. After cleaning up we ate a late dinner in the dining room at 9:00pm. This is a very dinner, but worth the wait. After dinner my wife and I went to one of the lounges and danced for a bit and then off to sleep.

Our next day is a sea day, so there will not be a travel blog for this day. It is a formal night, so I may post some of these photos later.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


10th August 2011

Hi, Todd, I have read your travel log about visiting Berlin with much enthusiasm. Let me add some remarks. The train that took you from Warnemünde to Berlin and back was a regional old-fashioned train. The German Railroads Co. ("Deutsche Bahn") is in the process of modernizing their old wagons, this will take time and money. The wagon you were in has heating and ventilation systems, but no air conditioning. Modern trains - many of them owned by rival railroad companies in Germany - have very modern equipment with air conditioning and ticket vending machines inside their trains. In a comment made a few days ago about your upcoming visit to Berlin I had already mentioned that I absolutely love Berlin and its history. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that I once had a girlfriend living in Berlin-Steglitz (West Berlin), who took me to all the fascinating places in 1963, two years after the Russian Prime Minister Chruschtschow had ordered to build the Wall. He complied to the East German Prime Minister Ulbrecht to close the hole for East Berliners in the "Iron Curtain" to flee to West Berlin. Charlottenburg Palace is the official residence of the German Federal President (Christian Wulf), the current head of state was born in Osnabrück, just ten minutes by car from where we live. Enjoy your tour, and a belated Happy Birthday to your daughter from Mary and me. Heiko
10th August 2011

Thank you very much for the additional information about the Railroad. The train ride not narrated so your information is very helpful.

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