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Our first trip to this once divided city...

            On Friday, December 27, 2002, Larry and I took off for Berlin. The drive there was fairly smooth and uneventful. I saw a rasthof (a kind of rest stop with a café) that was built as a bridge over the autobahn. I hadn't seen one like that before.

            As is usual for us, we had a little bit of a hard time finding our hotel. Once we found it, finding a place to park was even more fun. The hotel was situated right on the street with no obvious parking. Larry managed to create a space and we went inside to get checked in. We stayed at a place called the Citadines. The lobby staff was friendly and helpful, and spoke English. We were directed to park in a parking garage beneath the hotel, and given a remote control that opened doors to an elevator that we drove right into! It was a strange sensation being in the car, in an elevator. It was just big enough for our Honda. The garage was a stark contrast from the one we'd just seen in Paris. This garage was whitewashed, brightly lit, and immaculate. We parked, got our stuff, and headed up to our room.

            The Citadines is a residence hotel, so our room was like a mini-apartment. We had a kitchenette equipped with a stove, dishwasher, and small refrigerator. There were pots, dishes, and utensils. We even had a toaster and a vacuum cleaner! We weren't going to be there very long, but the price for the room was good.

            The bed was a sofa bed. When we folded it out and slept on it, I thought I was going to fall through the crack and onto the floor inside the sofa! Aside from that, it wasn't so bad. Larry and I have definitely slept on worse.

            We went to the Hard Rock Café for dinner. For those of you who are familiar with our travels, you know all about our mission to visit the Hard Rock Cafes of Europe! Up to and including our visit to the Hard Rock in Berlin, we had also visited ones in Paris, München (Munich), and Edinburgh. (Larry and I have also been to Hard Rocks in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.)

            The night streets were still lit up for Christmas. The trees lining the street were strung all throughout their branches with little white lights. The effect was very festive and pretty. There was one light sculpture in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. We thought that was funny since we had just been to Paris.

            After dinner we visited an erotic museum, then found a little hole in the wall place called, "The Kings Pub" to kick back and have a couple of drinks.

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Sign at Checkpoint Charlie
Sign at Checkpoint Charlie.

Berlin bear
The bear is Berlin's mascot. We saw bear statues all over the city variously decorated.

The Quadriga atop the Brandenburg Gate. The goddess of Peace at the reigns of a four horse chariot.

Sources: Daytrips Germany by Earl Steinbecker and Rick Steves' Germany, Austria, and Switzerland by Rick Steves.