Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 46: Return to Berlin

Well, the bad news is there is still a bad wifi connection, more mosquitoes buzzing around Chris' head, and Venice definitely has the cold that Xander and I had.

A last look at our hotel (says hotel on the left) and our location.

The good news is we have time to shop for souvenirs!

There is a toy store the kids have been wanting to visit. We went there first. But, as Chris and I predicted, it was mostly.... toys. Things we can see anywhere. So the kids concede and don't buy much there. Venice did find a few cute-cuddly hedgehogs and I found a grammar game (yeehaw!) but then we were on our way to the many "real" souvenir stores.

Looking for a good spot to put our lock.
The first one we entered is the oldest store in Salzburg (if you believe). And all the items we were looking at are handmade, not made in China (if you believe). So, it's a perfect store to buy lots of souvenirs. We did go to a few other stores along the street, but the content seems to be the same in each store. Not too much variations either, pretty much the EXACT same stuff. Xander did find his favourite t-shirt. A green shirt that says, "No kangaroos in Austria". I guess they get confused with Australia all the time. Makes me think of our New Mexico, USA license plates, always getting confused with Mexico.

Venice really wants to buy a lock to leave on the Love Lock bridge. I know it's mostly for couples in love, but why not a family? So, we buy a red lock, and write Baileys on it (the store even had a sharpie for us to use, they are well prepared for this tradition!) We walk to the bridge, the kids find a good spot and lock it away. Venice threw the key into the river and we will all love one another forever, or so the lore promises!

Working together to put the lock on, lock it, and toss the key.

Showing our lock has a good view of the Fortress. 

Back at the hotel, we finish up packing, call a taxi and head to the airport. Um, this taxi driver is crazy. I do think, in general, the drivers here in Salzburg are more aggressive than those in Berlin and I thought Berlin drivers were aggressive. Turns out, there's still a sense of common sense in the Berlin drivers... with this taxi (and remember the fast bus drivers) there's a little more "out of control" feeling. When driving well over the speed limit, on the wrong side of the street, to pass someone on a city street... it gets a little "white knuckle" feeling.

At the airport, we have no trouble with any kind of border control (none on the ride there either). At check-in, our passports are checked, but that happens where ever we travel, so nothing new really. By the way, did I already say that America is the only place you have to remove your shoes when going through security? I think I did. It's still awesome.

The trucks (top), Filming a scene in the car behind the tree (bottom-left)
Some of their lighting equipment (bottom-right)
We are flying a new-to-us airline. It's €35 a ticket, plus €15 for a bag. Pretty cheap. The biggest downside is that we fly into Berlin's "secondary" airport, so it's a 60 min travel home via public transport (or a $50 taxi?) Oh, and if you want in-flight water or a snack, you will have to pay for it. But, on a short flight (ours is only 90 minutes, max), who needs that? So, perfect. No wonder so many fly and visit all sorts of countries within Europe. Cheap flights can be easily found.

As we walked from the Bahn station to our apartment, we found several large white trucks parked on our street. Turns out, some scenes of a movie ("Berlin Syndrome") are being filmed on our street. So, for a few days (and into a few early mornings) they will be here to offer hair and makeup, wardrobe, catering, etc. It takes about 30 people for the one scene we saw being filmed (however many actors in the car, two holding a black backdrop, a couple camera people, the director, and lots of people on hand watching, probably waiting to do other jobs like hair, get coffee, etc.)

After starting laundry (it will take me about 4 days to do all of this laundry!), we head out to dinner (because who wants to cook the first night back after a long trip?)

It's a nice feeling to be back in Berlin. Austria, I have to say, was easier than Prague, as the language was the same and the system, or infrastructure, seems familiar. However, Berlin is "known" and it feels comfortable. I do still harbour bouts of anxiety when going to a restaurant without Chris, or having to deal with the big market (where you have to talk to the butcher and answer questions about a membership card and packing your own items, etc.) but all in all, it does feel comfortable here. I know the Bahn stations (and destinations which makes it easier to know which side of the track to wait on), so getting around has become simple and almost second nature.

So, as we ease back into our routine, I leave you with this image (I forgot to include it in the post from the gardens at Schloss Mirabell) of a unicorn. Enjoy.

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