North America, Europe · 12 Days · 43 Moments · March 2017

Roxanne and Al travel to Spain & Germany

9 April 2017

Flying into Amsterdam. And one last beer!
Departing Berlin.

8 April 2017

And then we wandered around town a bit. Just a couple random photos ending with a photo of our fantastic hotel. Hotel AM steinplatz.
After the boat ride we went to an Irish pub thinking of our friends Bill and Jen. We had nachos which were very good. And of course beer!
We decide to take a river tour yesterday. Unfortunately it was too cold to ride up top so there are not many photos. But I did have absolutely the best cup of hot chocolate I have EVER had. 😍 so there is that!

7 April 2017

Back to Hofbrau! The beer is good but the food is even better!
Checkpoint Charlie
Some more wall photos.
The church of reconciliation ended up of the eastern side of the wall. Unfortunately 95% of its members were on the western side of the wall. The church stood strong, a symbol, from 1961 to 1984. In 1984 the GDR destroyed the church. Just a few short years before the two parts became one again. Now a new church sits in its place. I felt it was an appropriate place to light a candle and pray for peace in Syria.
Visited the Berlin Wall memorial today. This section of the wall is not what we saw last year. Last year we saw the section of the wall that is painted with murals. This section seemed much more "real" and not a tourist attraction. I highly recommend a visit for real stories about how the wall tore the city apart.

6 April 2017

We decided to head home. Found our way back to the train station and had a 21 minute wait for the train. Ok no prob. We waited. And waited and waited. No train. And we don't speak German so can't ask anyone what's going on. We did figure out the police were advising people to find an alternate route. Ummm... we only know how to get home the way we came. And why no train???? I finally convince Al to take a taxi. We wait our turn. And a German lady asks to share our taxi to Berlin. Great. Cuts cost. As we are closing the doors another asks to join us. No prob!! 55 euro trip split 4 ways is much better. I ask if they know why there are no trains. One lady informs us it's due to an unattended suitcase on a train. Oh is thus in Berlin? Nope! Just outside the train station on edge of town is an empty train surrounded by police. Maybe getting the heck out of Dodge was a good idea!
After our tour we wandered the town and did some shopping. 😍 For lunch we had an antipasto tray and beer. Then later...more beer.
More Sanssoucci pics
Sanssoucci castle, the summer home of Frederik the Great of Prussia. Small castle only 9 rooms. He's buried with his 11 favorite dogs on the grounds. Frederik introduced potatoes to his people by having guards stand around his fields but look away as his starving people stole them. Now people leave potatoes on his gravesite. Actually he was not buried on the grounds as he wished until 105 years later...after WWII.
Today we journeyed to Potsdam. (Potsdam was the location of the Potsdam Conference at the conclusion of WWII. Churchill, Truman and Stalin met to divide up Germany and Europe at Cecilienhof castle.) but first we took the S7 to Potsdam and are created immediately with a McD. Yuck! They are everywhere. We decided to take a Potsdam bus tour which included all the important sights. Our first stop was Frederik the Great's guest castle. His castle was too small (Sanssouci). Atop the castle was three naked women holding a crown. These were the "Bitches of Europe" (the three female leaders of his time who caused him the greatest of troubles). They are each showing their bum to their home country and must forever hold his crown up above them. So wish I had taken a time.

5 April 2017

Finished our night at the Hofbrau Munchen. Can't wait to go back.
Walking back to the S station we went by the Brandenburg gate again.
After we visited the memorial to the murdered Jews. Such a moving experience. I find it intriguing that Germany calls it like it is. They don't sugar coat it. It's not a Holocaust memorial. It's the memorial to MURDERED Jews. A must visit every time I'm in Berlin. This time we entered the information center. So moving. Not a word spoken by anyone inside.
We then wandered to the Brandenburg Gate.
We stopped for lunch in Alexanderplatz. While dining I told Al about this amazing Bavarian brew house. I got frustrated when my internet wouldn't work. I wanted to find it to show him. When he went to find the toilette I looked out the window. Could it be? Really? There it was right across the street!! 😂😍😳
After arriving in Berlin we took a taxi to Hotel am Steinplatz. They like color here. 😜 our toilet paper is purple and lime green. But we have a balcony with a view of the next building.
Our day started with a lovely train ride from Hamburg to Berlin. The seats were very comfortable. It was so much better than flying.

4 April 2017

I had a personal walking tour today with Jutta. She took me around the city sharing its history. We visited the town hall which is both a federal and city building. It pays homage to the federal leaders with city leaders above showing that the city is far more important. On the street Jutta showed me where people could place memorials on the sidewalk I front of the building where there Jewish family member was taken from and later executed in a camp. Also we visited the Elbe philharmonic hall which opened only in January some 700 million euros over budget.

3 April 2017

Today began at 4:30 am prepping for a 6:45 flight. Flight made but was delayed so we missed our connection to Hamburg. 😳 we spent 53 minutes in line to rebook flights. Brussels Air had no room for us so they sent us to Lufstana. From Brussels we flew to Munich and then onto Hamburg. The flight to Munich put us in the last row of the plane with a very nice Frenchman named Bertram. Lots of laughs at our situation! Bertram was quite large so it was a tight fit in the row for the three of us. But we made do! It's all an adventure, right?

2 April 2017

Nothing like wandering Bilbao to see a monument to John Adams. Dinner was a repeat of last night with the addition of grilled shrimp followed by bunny macaroons. 😍
More pics in Santurzi, Spain
After church we took the metro to Santurzi.
This morning we went in search of breakfast before church.

1 April 2017

After dinner walked around Bilbao.
Our dinner last night consisted of assorted pork meats and assorted cheeses. Wonder. So good we ate it again today.
After a rest we went to the Guggenheim Museum. Not a fan of contemporary or modern art. But I can now add Picasso and Andy Warhol to the famous original works of art I have viewed.
Lots of rain creates beautiful flowers
I love the streets of Spain. The buildings are beautiful.
Today we are in Bilbao, Spain. Beautiful city. Our hotel is right across the street of the Guggenheim museum. Tomorrow we will visit the museum. Today we walked the city.
Today was amazing! I was fortunate enough to be included on my husband's tours of wind turbine production including wind blades by Acciona of Spain. Couldn't take pictures because we were exposed to cutting edge wind industry technology. As a non-technological person o was very impressed with the culture of the company. People were genuinely excited about their product. You cannot fake that excitement. The presentations were not above my understanding. The presenters included me. They talked to me, not just Al. I was very impressed by how included I felt. The turbines I saw being built were 3megawatt units. OMG! They were massive!!! I got to go inside one unit. Yup. I walked inside the actual unit. That's how large it was. It made the Oregon units look itty bitty in comparison. I also visited a blade manufacturing plant. Today they were completing a prototype heading out for testing next week ( definitely no photos allowed). These blades being manufactured were HUGE!

31 March 2017

Tonight we walked Pamplona with Enrique. Pamplona is were the infamous running of the bulls occurs. OMG! We walked that route. Seriously! The running of the bulls!!!! I want to come back and watch a bull fight and watch the running of the bulls. Once every 5 years or so someone dies with the running of the bulls. Can you imagine? The US would shut that shit down immediately after one death!! But it continues here every year!

30 March 2017

Our dinner tonight at our hotel. Al thought he was ordering tacos. Nope. My sandwich was amazing! Loved the egg in the whole. The local beer Alhambra (green bottle) was great. Kept the bottle because it was neat...can you say vase?
Speaking of the Subway. We managed to get to the City Center and back. Only one little hiccup in that I didn't know how to operate the subway doors. Apparently they don't just open at each stop. 😳 missed our stop and had to back track a bit. 😂
Travel is especially rewarding when you get to meet up with friends from previous trips. Tea with Irati in Madrid.
The streets of Madrid City Center. Arrived this morning at 8:30. Checked into the hotel and slept until 2pm. Yikes! Decided to check out the town. Hopped on the Metro and headed into the City Center. Yep. We managed to figure out the subway. 😁

29 March 2017

Off to Europe!
Starting off with first class service!
Taking off from Duluth!