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Monday, September 21, 2009

Berlin

I flew into Berlin from Munich on Lufthansa--my first time in Berlin. i had to take a bus from the airport to the train station, then found our way to the hotel, the Westin Grand Berlin.

The hotel was amazing-- huge lobby with a grand staircase, an open atrium, and a stained glass ceiling at the top of the atrium.





The view from the balcony of the hotel was a street called Unter den Linden. Here's the view looking up and down the street.
Looking to the left, one could see the Brandenburg gate.





Our main purpose for traveling to Berlin was to get a picture of Checkpoint Charlie for the Delta Non-Rev Challenge. So that was pretty much our first stop:



After we got that picture, we went to the Brandenburg Gate and to the Reichstag, the building where German Parliament meets. We waited in line to get in, then went to the glass dome on top of the building.

The Brandenburg Gate:






The Reichstag Building:



The glass dome of the Reichstag:





Self portrait in the dome:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Munich

Another great year for Oktoberfest! (This one, my FIFTH!)

This year, we left Prague by train (six hours) for Munich, where we met the usual Oktoberfest gang at the Augustiner Keller before checking into the hotel.

En route to Munich, Jonathan and I changed into our lederhosen so we would be ready for Oktoberfest when we arrived.



We stayed in the Four Points by Sheraton just of the grounds of the Wies'n (the Oktoberfest grounds). Here's the view from our balcony:



Our tent reservations this year were at 6:00 pm. We went a bit early to get some pics for the non-rev challenge in front of the Hofbrauhaus Tent.





Once we got inside our Hacker Pschorr Tent, it was the nice festive atmosphere I have learned to love.



And of course, we ended the night (as usual) at Sinan's, the 'pizza disco' for post-tent fun.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Prague



On my way to way to Munich this year for Oktoberfest, we decided to fly into Prague. We arrived on Saturday, September 19. I had been there last year, but Jonathan had never been. It was a short visit this time, but very fun. We stayed at the Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel. After checking in, we walked up across the Charles Bridge to the Castle, stopping for lunch along the way.



I had eaten at this place the last time, and remembered it being fairly reasonable. However, this time, we were quite shocked when we got the bill. So if you are traveling to Prague, beware of the touristy areas. Make sure you know what you are paying for. This place even charged a cover charge!

But in general, while this was more expensive, Prague is a beautiful, charming city where great values can still be found. (It helps that they are not on the Euro.)





After lunch, we walked around the castle, then back across the river to the Old Town. We grabbed a beer at a cafe called Valentino's. As we sat there, a friend I met last time, Jakub, happened to pass by. He recognized me (he knew that I was coming to town) and joined us for a beer. (Now the beers in the non-touristy places are bargains- pints of Pilsener Urquell for less than $2).

We made plans with Jakub to show us around that evening, and went back to the hotel for while.

That night, most of the clubs we went into were fairly empty. Jakub explained that people were staying home more now because of the economy. But finally, we walked into one that was packed. Jakub introduced us to another friend of his who was sitting up in the VIP area. He kept ordering bottles of Cheval Regal, sharing with everyone at his table. As the night grew on, he would throw the empty bottles against the glass table, and breaking drinking glasses. He was truly rock star drunk, but he had spent over $2000 there that evening, so nobody seemed to mind. It made for a very interesting evening in Prague.

Monday, September 07, 2009

More Paris...

So the Non-Rev Challenge trip to Paris was great fun. After getting all the pictures we needed, it was time to relax. Jonathan and I stayed with my friends Sara and Julien at their flat on Rue Legendre, Here is the view from their place:




We went out for a nice dinner near Beaubourg, called Le Verre Luisant (64, Rue de la Verrerie). I had a beef tartare with foie gras and truffles which was absolutely decadent.



Here are Jonathan, Sara, and Julien at Hôtel de Ville just before dinner:



And one with me:



The next day was a great relaxing Sunday. We had a nice pancake breakfast at Sara and Julien's first.



After breakfast, we headed out to the Seine for a little ride in the Bateau Mouche, enjoying stunning views of Paris on a beautiful day. Here I am on the boat approaching the Notre Dame:



Sights along the ride:






After the boat ride, we strolled up to see the tunnel where Princess Diana died, then walked through the Marais, stopping at a few bars along the way after grabbing some sandwiches:



It was a perfect way to spend a late summer day in Paris.

Non-Rev Challenge Update --- Paris

We got some good pics in Paris and Zurich for the Delta Non-Rev Challenge!

Here's Zurich with the Alps in the background:



On the merry-go-round in the Tuileries Garden:



Reflecting on our reflections at the Louvre:



Thinking at the Thinker at the Rodin Museum:



Visiting the Catacombs:

Friday, September 04, 2009

Non-rev Challenge Update

Heading to Zurich, then Paris! (I think.)

Delta Non-Rev Challenge Begins

Over the next two months, I'll be traveling with my fellow team members of the "Fly-By-Nights" on a scavenger hunt which will lead us all over the world. Here's our team picture, posted on the first day of the challenge.

Today, we head to Paris. (I think.)

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