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Berlin and Prague Day 3 – Berlin Zoo, Disney Store & Boulevard of the Stars

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Mags, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    I was slightly worried when I woke up this morning as Kathryn had been complaining quite a lot the day before about a very sore foot and almost gave up, during the previous day's tour. This morning she woke up and the pain was still there. Along with a shoulder which she has been having physio on (hurting again) I was beginning to wonder who was the most healthy of the three as David's knee was hurting too. Kids! They cant take the pace.
    Anyway in hope of things improving, off we set to Fresco, the cafe we had visited the previous morning. David and I had a croissant each and Kathryn had a chocolate croissant.The coffee is so good in that little cafe and about 5 minutes after getting there it was filling up with early morning customers.

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    By about 9am we were finished and on our way to the zoo. Berlin Zoo is located in the heart of West Berlin and I was keen for my two to visit here as I had been to the zoo before with my youngest son. The zoo has a great feeling of openness and space but I feel it is very badly marked for tourists and there didnt seem to be any maps available. The first animals we saw were the llamas. How could anyone not love them?

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    We walked past the rhinos(boy they were big beasts) and came to the elephant house. A baby elephant was clinging to it's Mum which seemed to evoke lots of oohs and aahs from Kathryn.

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    Im afraid I was a little click happy with my camera but I wont bore you with all the photos

    Gazelle on a Roof
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    Giraffes
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    This poor little guy was being hammered until his parents came to rescue and protect him
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    Gorilla
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    Baboon
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    Flamingoes
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    Again, there were more oohs and aahs when we came across the mother and baby rhino
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    However the kissing camels seemed to make the crowds laugh!
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    I had to include this little guy (a type of French donkey) at the insistence of my daughter
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    We were loving our visit so far and didnt know whether to bother with the petting zoo or not but when I saw the baby goats, that settled it for me. As we went through the gate, we saw two of the members of our Discover Berlin party from yesterday and said hello. The baby goat was so adorable and wandered up to us for something to eat. We didnt have anything but we were in stitches at what happened next

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    A Mum and her little boy were standing feeding another goat with some food she had purchased at a kiosk when the baby goat went over to her buggy, put it's head on the seat, dragged out all their lunch and started to eat it. I was trying to alert her to what was happening but the international language barrier got in my way. In the end I just pointed and she too had to laugh even though the lunch was gone. After seeing some ostriches and this beautiful pack of wolves we decided to have a sit down.

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    We quite fancied an ice lolly but not at the prices charged. We certainly didnt fancy one of these!

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    Into the penguin house
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    Past the otters
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    and the zebras
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    and then into the big cat house. Phew, the stench here was quite something
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    I didnt feel easy at all here as the way in which the animals paced seemed to indicate stress. Dont get me wrong, the houses are very clean and the space outside seems to be more than a lot of zoos have but I didnt like what I saw all the same. The last time I visited, the only animal I had that sense of unease about was the brown bear. This time we couldnt find him even though we hung around the area where he was housed for a long time. We then went in search of what was for me the last time the highlight of the trip – Bao Bao the male panda. We searched and we searched only to find that the panda had died the week before at the age of 34. So we hadnt seen the bear, the panda had died and of course Knut the polar bear met his demise last year too. We had difficulty finding the polar bear enclosure but when we got there we found this fine specimen. I dont know what his name is though.
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    We saw so many more animals than this but I dont think I'll bore you with any more photos. I like this are of the zoo though which has an oriental touch and this sign as well!

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    We left the zoo about 1.30pm having had a lovely time and decided to head straight across the road to the station to eat. For those of you that havent been to Germany before, the main train stations are great places to get good well priced food. I forgot to take pictures of the food except for the cherry Danish which was delicious.

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    I had a pesto, tomato and mozzarella roll and Kathryn and David shared a Currywurst meal. It was all very good and cheap to boot.
    At this stage, I was bearing up well but my two kiddos were fading fast especially Kathryn whose foot was so sore she couldnt walk any further. She decided to get the train back to the hotel and miss out the rest of the afternoon.
    David and I decided to walk up towards Unter den Linden towards the Reichstag as he wanted to see the giant Soviet Memorial built to honour the Soviet soldiers who died in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. On the way though we saw a shop selling Butlers Disney goods. They were lovely retro style pieces and because Kathryn wasnt so well, I thought that she would like a Disney notebook. She absolutely loves large notebooks and uses them to practise her Japanese writing and drawing.

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    I could have spent a fortune in there but got hauled out by my son as we had loads to do. Soon we reached the back of the Brandenburg Gate and went in for coffee to the Arts Centre we had discovered yesterday. There was loads going on again today with all the street artists out preforming again. In the middle of all this activity, we saw one of these! David was telling me that it is a street bar and is used mainly by the stag parties that frequent the city – by all accounts many of them are well behaved though. It is a bike that you hire. The main cyclist (owner) pedals at the front while 4 people sit on each side and are served from the bar in the middle! I quite like the idea of that.

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    As you can see they still have to do their bit and peddle too but it looks like fun.
    Having had a good rest over coffee we walked the 5 minutes it took from the Gate to the Soviet Memorial. For anyone going to Berlin, the Gate, The Reichstag, Jewish Memorial are an absolute must as far as Im concerned and best of all, they are all free. When Berlin was in ruins and the people were starving this structure was built in typically grandiose Soviet style

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    There are several Russian tanks to look at too as well as lots of info at the back of the memorial about the war itself

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    We spent a good half hour here and David thought it was well worth a visit. We got our bearings and realised that if we cut across the Tiergarten (Berlin's large park) we would be close to Potsdamer Platz in about ten minutes. My son had something in mind here. As we had crossed the road the day before he had noticed that between the two lines of traffic, there was the Berlin equivalent of Holywood's Boulevard of the Stars. It had a line of very famous names as well as some I didnt recognise

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    It was obvious that these were well taken care of and that some had left floral tributes.
    Once we had had a look we couldnt help ourselves when we saw a Dunkin Donuts. We bought a box of six and brought them back to the hotel as I knew that Kathryn would like at least one. They were so good!
    We decided that having walked so much that this time we would take the U Bahn back to the hotel. Twenty minutes later we were back and found Kathryn lying on the bed reading as usual. Here foot felt better and in about half an hour we were off to eat our evening meal.
    We had decided because everyone was so tired that we would try a thai/fusion restaurant nearby. Big mistake! This was the only non TA recommendation we had gone for and boy, do I wish we had gone for one of the others.
    It all started off well with a delicious assorted starter – Satay, spring rools and more, but that is where it all ended.

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    Kathryn had a noodle and tofu dish which was totally non descript and flavourless

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    David had a beef dish of some type. It did nothing for him either
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    As for mine – it was disgusting. It was a chicken satay. There was far too much and the chicken strips had been reheated (I would know that taste anywhere)
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    Because we were all still hungry, we decided to share some chocolate cake. It looked good but didnt taste of anything

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    To add insult to injury the service was lousy and the meal expensive. This wasnt the best end to a wonderful three days in Berlin. To finish off the evening we walked to the Gendarmenmarkt for a late evening stroll before returning to the hotel to pack our cases for our train journey to Prague in the morning.

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    Mags
     
  2. Slowhand
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    Slowhand Cruise Director Forum Host

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    Another great instalment Mags, and the photos are fabulous to boot. :thumbsup:
     
  3. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Great report Mags. I never got to spend much time in Berlin when I was living in Germany and always loved what I could see and do. I left in 1987, before the wall came down and haven't been back to the part of Germany since.
     
  4. keith
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    keith Camera nut Staff Member Administrator Forum Host

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    absolutely brilliant Mags, really enjoying it and the photos!
     
  5. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    I just love your reports and I'm completely living through you! Thank you!
     
  6. Mags
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    Mags Serious Forum Regular

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    Thanks, but I must admit Im blind as a bat, so I just click and hope for the best. :embarassed:

    I think you would love it if you went back. Certainly the people in the North of the country are very open about their past. We didnt find that in Bavaria though.

    Thanks for that. Need to get myself into gear to write the next instalment.

    Thank you. Takes me forever to write them though. :)

    Mags
     
  7. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    You hard work that's put into writing them is appreciated.
     

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