Germany - Day 5

Alright, so we made it to Berlin. It was incredibly hot outside, around 95 degrees. Once getting out of the train station we took the subway to the east side where our hotel was. First impressions were not that great and we sort of found ourselves in a pretty rough neighborhood , while taking a wrong turn getting to the hotel. There was broken glass and graffiti strewn about everywhere in the city. It was tough to tell if it was part of the artist neighborhood we were staying in or just a poor section of town.

After settling into our hotel, taking another shower and decompressing we headed out for the day around noon. We hit up the Berliner Dom, which is perhaps the largest church I have ever seen. We walked up to the top of the dome for an impressive view of the surrounding city. 

Next stop was to the Pergamon Museum, which showcases some amazing antiquities from the middle east. The most impressive part of it is probably the reconstruction of the Ishtar gate from the city of Babylon. The stone tables that they had one display were also incredibly detailed and really impressive. By this point we were both pretty tied and I actually found myself nodding off a couple of times while sitting on a bench in the museum. 

Our last stop for the day was to hit up the Brandenburg Gate. Unfortunately there was a sort of summer festival being setup behind it so we couldn't get very close. The US Embassy is located right next to it as well and there were lots of flowers out front in response to the night club shooting that had occurred a few weeks earlier. 

 Dinner was at schlesisch blau, which was a nice restaurant. I had fish and I cannot remember what Megan had. There was a huge summer salad though that came with four or five vinaigrette options. 

Germany - Day 4

Day four had us saying goodbye to our awesome apartment in Munich and catching a train to Nuremberg. We left our photos on the travel wall and hopped on the high speed train for about an 90 minute ride up to Nuremberg. 

What makes Nuremberg so unique are primarily two things. 1) the medieval old town portion of the city, which includes Albrecht Durer's house and the castle and the court house where the Nuremberg trials were held. The old portion of the city is filled with old stone buildings, including some very old stone cathedrals. It was amazing that just a few city blocks held three very large catholic cathedrals. 

More cathedrals and some lunch before we headed off to the Albrecht Durer's house and the castle. 

Albrecht Durer's house was a highlight of the city. Very cool inside. 

Next up was the old royal castle. Great medieval   style here compared to the rocco style seen in the other royal palaces. This is actually what I was expected most of the castles to look like inside. the castle also had a great history of the royal families and the politics around the Holy Roman Empire. 

Next step was the court room where the Nuremberg trials were held. There was a a nice museum attached to the court room, but by this time of the day we were pretty fired. It was hot, in the 90's during the day. 

We finished off the day at a toy museum and some dinner, before we began our true adventure back at the train station. 

I'll let my videos describe our adventure in the Nuremberg train station, but I will add that we ran into a heartbreaking individual while waiting for our trains around midnight in the station. While sitting on some benches waiting for our trains there was a young man sitting across from us. He asked us if we were American and then proceeded to ask how he could get to America. Through our conversations we found out he is Iraqi and he showed us his Iraq passport. He had been living in Germany for eleven years and he was unable to make a living there. He wanted to literally try and achieve the "American Dream". I didn't know what to tell the guy. He seemed so hopeless . The only advice I could give to him was to go online and goto the US State Department website to looking into what the immigration process might be. 

Germany - Day 3

Day 3 of our trip to Germany was an excursion out to the country to visit two castles and the town of Oberammergau. We took about an 90 minute bus ride out to the country and the edge of the alps to get to the castles. Our guide told us that Austria was a mere miles away on the other side of the mountains. 

Our first castle was Castle Linderhof. It was the hunting lodge of King Ludwig II. He was a reclusive "mad" king and lived in this palace in almost complete solitude. The castle was not huge, at least by palace standards, but it was incredibly ornate, decorated in a french style known as Rocco in Germany. Unfortunately photos of the interior were not allowed. 

The second stop on the trip was to the town of Oberammergau. There wasn't anything here that really was that impressive, but it was a nice little country town. There seemed to be a whole bunch of these small towns in the countryside.