Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'm back!

We had an absolutely WONDERFUL vacation and I'm very happy to say that Greg made an excellent travel partner! I have been to Berlin many times but this time I really enjoyed playing tour guide and showing Greg the sites of my birth city. It has changed so much over the years since the wall came down. We went to the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie to learn the history of the Wall and the many escape methods used by people over the years to gain entry into the West. Some very innovative ideas including tunnels, hiding in shopping bags, suitcases, amplifiers and even surfboards. There is very little left of the Wall these days, but one of the pictures below is a small slab left as a reminder. No trip to Berlin would be complete for me if I did not visit my most favourite fountain in the whole world, Neptune's Fountain at Alexander Platz. I could spend hours examining this beautiful sculpture, there is so much detail involved.

After a few days in Berlin we took the train to Prague. I would totally recommend taking the train anywhere in Europe as it is extremely comfortable and reliable. We stayed at a couple's home in the outskirts of downtown Prague. I can not even begin to tell you how nice these people where! Charles met us at the train station and had already purchases tram tickets for us. He brought us to his home, 10 minutes later we were back on the tram and he brought us to Old Prague Town to make sure that we knew how to get there and home again. He gave us a fantastic tour of his favourite places in Prague which were a little off the beaten path. He brought us to his family Church which is heavy, heavy Baroque and has not been renovated yet. The gold gilt on the painting frames were blackened with centuries worth of dust and grime but that just made the goosebumps so much bigger. The organ in that Church had been played upon by Mozart and Bach.
Prague was absolutely beautiful, however if I could say one negative thing about it, it would be that there were SO many tourists, that it felt a bit like Disney World. Overall though: a must-see.

Amsterdam? What can I say? It is a beautiful city with it's canals and canal houses. Everywhere you look, is pretty. OK, maybe the red-light district is not so pretty, but it's worth a few minutes visit just to see what the hoopla is all about. We did visit Anne Frank's Haus which was for me, a very moving experience. I'm very glad that I read her diary last month and it was fresh in my mind. ~~~And Amsterdam...very relaxing ;)
We walked and walked and walked hours each day in all of these cities and I think we must have climbed miles of stairs, but none of the stairs were as crazy-steep as the ones in Amsterdam. OMG! It was 73 steps to our tiny, teeny-weeny room and by the time we got to the top we'd be huffing and puffing and fall onto our 3/4 bed! Greg could touch the walls when he spread his wings, that's how small this room was.
On our last day I had planned for us to take the train to go to Keukanhof to see the tulips. Unbeknownst to me, we were too late to see the spectacular bulbs so I was greatly disappointed when after an hour and a half of travel, we walked into the park and there were just a bunch of dead leaves. It was kind of like how The Griswald's must have felt when the rides at Wally World were closed!

This was the perfect vacation, the perfect amount of time and the perfect travel companion. We are already making a list of where to go next May...I do believe that hubby has caught the travel bug!


Donna said...

Lovely photos, as usual! Can't wait to see more -- there are more, right?

atpanda said...

Awe! That sounds wonderful! Loving your pictures. Very thoughtful.
And you bad girl! Hope you didn't misbehave TOO much in Amsterdam. ;-)

Bob-kat said...

You're back! :) So glad you had a wonderful time! Those photos are great - have you any more? Your Prague pics take me back to my visit last year. I had such a good time despite the tourists who were mostly at the castle (did you go there?). can't wait to hear and see more if youa re willing.

Pez said...

Great pictures! I am glad that you and Greg had an awesome time. Share with us some of the places on your list for next year!

Kristi said...

Welcome back! I'm so glad the two of you had a blast together. I loved reading this post and of course, your pictures are amazing. Oh Europe, how I miss you! I'm SO living vicariously through you right now.

moon said...

AWESOME POST AND PICS! Look forward to seeing happy u had a great time and loved sharing it with your hubby. Doesn't get better then that. Like pez suggested, let us know what kinds of places u may go next yr. Can we take votes? throw in our 2 cents worth? haha, kidding, but would be great to be part of your thinking process.
Glad your back btw. Welcome home.