Getting Closer to Home

Trip Start Apr 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 17, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sickinger Hof Berlin
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of Germany  ,
Monday, June 11, 2012

We decided to stay in Gorlitz another night instead of facing the hustle and bustle of Berlin.  We went down to the train station to see if our ticket was good for the next day - only to find the ticketing agent was closed - oh right - it's Sunday in Germany! 

All of our other train tickets have been open tickets which means we can hop on when the time is right for us within an allotted timeframe.  Surprise, surprise, when we went to the train station on Monday to confirm we could use our ticket - the ticketing agent just started yelling at me in broken English and pointing to the German writing on the ticket that said it was non-refundable.  I said 'OK, I understand, I'll just buy another ticket' - she just went off the deep end.  Why does our last couple of days in Europe have to be so trying or am I just tired of travelling and the language barrier.  I wanted to yell back - but kept my calm - advising her I would like to buy another ticket to Berlin and showed her the schedule I had previously purchased.  She gave me our tickets and said they were the same and we headed to the platform.  Henry was reading the new tickets and said 'what did you buy - the route is different and it doesn't say Berlin'?  Because the agent said it was the same as our original ticket I just took it and didn't look at it as I didn't want to deal with her any more.  Through help from the conductor and passengers we made it to Berlin and our hotel just fine.

Henry said he wasn't really interested in seeing Berlin, so I booked a hotel close to the airport.  Oh my gosh - it was very disappointing for our last couple of nights in Europe - probably the worst accommodations of the whole trip - well maybe Split, Croatia was the worst. The reviews online were quite good but the room was tiny, noisy, and had an offensive odour. On the good side -  it was cheap, it was close to the S-Bahn (subway system) so we could move around Berlin easily, the bus to the airport was half a block away, and a decent breakfast was included.

We spent a day and a half in Berlin before flying home.  We were able to take in a few historical sites and enjoyed an Italian pizza one evening and an excellent Chinese meal the next - no more Eastern Europe heavy food!  A pleasant surprise - we both liked Berlin and enjoyed our short visit.  It's clean, vibrant, efficient, plenty of green spaces, sad and enlightening history, modern and old all working together in harmony.

We shortened our trip by two weeks - but in the eight weeks we travelled Europe we visited 15 countries.  We saw, we learned, we tasted, and we did so much in that timeframe.  Looking back there were a few places we would have liked to stop, relax and enjoy but either weather was a deciding factor or we were unsure of travel timeframes

Between our 2008 trip and this one - we've seen and experienced a good cross-section of Western and Eastern Europe.  In the future, should we decide to return to Europe, I think we've come to the conclusion that we'll focus our attention on a specific area/region.  We'll book a long term rental house and car - explore more in depth, partake in local activities, breathe and appreciate for awhile :)  Only then will we understand our personal travel style and needs. 

That's the plan for now!!


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