Friday, August 5, 2016

Berlin, May 2016

Photo album:

I had the opportunity to travel to Berlin for business in May 2016. Of course, this meant a great opportunity for ItinerantRick to travel along and see the sights with me.

We arrived late in the evening on Thursday, May 26 and checked into the Radisson Blu hotel. Due to being travel-weary, we headed to the hotel restaurant for a late dinner. I enjoyed my first taste of Spargel season with 250g of white asparagus, black forest ham and boiled potatoes. A nice salad rounded out the meal. After dinner, we decided to stroll the 1 mile down to the Brandenberg gate from the hotel and caught some great photos of it in the twilight.

We got up super-early on Friday to do some sightseeing. First up was the Pergamon Museum, which has the Ishtar Gate and a bunch of early near-east artifacts. We spent a couple hours touring the museum and the collection. After that, we headed for our tour at the Parliament building called the Reichstag. It has a transparent dome on top that you can tour by pre-arrangement. The dome symbolizes government transparency since the unification. Following that, we went through the holocaust memorial and had currywurst for lunch at a restaurant near by. The last part of the afternoon was spent at the National Museum, which featured German impressionists and some more well-known impressionists.

Friday evening, I made my appearance at the IATA Hackathon to present the LinkedIn APIs for developers to use. I stayed until around 9:00 pm answering questions and then Rick came by and we walked for a late dinner at a local rotisserie - Rotisserie Weingrün. The most memorable part of that meal was the smoked ribs we ordered.

Saturday, I was at the hackathon until noon and Rick went to see the Topography of Terrors and the memorial at the Berlin Wall where many died trying to cross.

In the afternoon, we hightailed our way to the Eastside Gallery to view the section of the Berlin Wall that's been turned into an art gallery. The murals were really cool, though they put up some fencing around them that made photography difficult. While waiting for the train back, we heard some great local hip hop pouring out of a building near the station.

We had an early dinner at a local place near the hotel, Emmas, known for "schnitzel the size of your head". That was certainly the case, and we shared a single portion! Best schnitzel ever. I spent the closing hours of the evening at the hackathon working with the developers.

Sunday, I spent the entire day at the hackathon, but Rick spent more time walking around town. We were able to share lunch at a local Biergarten - Zum NuSSbaum. After the finalists were announced, we headed out and across town where we enjoyed dinner at the oldest Biergarten in Berlin - Praeter Garten. It was threatening to rain, so we secured a seat under the canopy. That was a good call, as a heavy shower cleared out the place mid-meal. I enjoyed a schwartzbier for my beverage.

Monday, we got to see some sights all day. We spent the early morning at the DDR museum, the church across from our hotel and in the local park. Then, we went up into the Fernsethurm or Telespargel to enjoy lunch with a 360 view. We got a time lapse video of our meal with a huge thunderstorm rolling in.

After a brief rest, we decided to be super-touristy and took a boat along the river and enjoyed a gelato while we were waiting.

Tuesday, we had a nice walk through the center of town before packing up and heading for the airport. It was a fast and furious trip, but we certainly enjoyed our first visit to Berlin.