Crazy Train to Berlin

It was time for another four day getaway, this time with our good friends R, K, and Baby E.  This was our first trip together since Morocco and our first one all together with the babies!  We bought our train tickets 90 days in advance, getting us a great deal on prices.  We thought the train would be a much more relaxing way to travel vs. driving two cars.  For the most part it was, but we ran into some hiccups along the way.

We had taken a regional train to Mannheim where we switched to an ICE train (fast train) to Berlin.  We had reserved a cabin so that we could all sit together and have our own little contained space.  It was a circus getting on and seated because we were four adults, two babies, two big strollers, lots of suitcases, bags of food, diaper bags…you get the idea.  Traveling light is much more difficult now.  So once we finally got the bags stored, the strollers broken down, babies situated, it was time for mimosas!

R popping the champagne in the hallway.
Hubby mixing the celebratory mimosas.

We had just toasted to our trip and taken our first sips when over the intercom we noticed an announcement in German talking about Berlin and the next station.  Not getting a good feeling, we also notice that the hallway has filled with people in line to get off the train.  Since we weren’t supposed to stop until Berlin, this was a little odd.  Next thing we know they repeat the announcement in English telling all passengers for Berlin to get off the train at the next station-the train was terminating.  Great.  So we start rushing around to gather bags, put strollers back together, put coats on, and juggle red cups of mimosas.  We hurriedly made our way off the train onto the platform asking a Deutsche Bahn employee what we were supposed to do.  They told us to go a couple tracks over and get on that train to Berlin.  So we rush over there, and make it on the train with only a few minutes to spare.  The only problem was, now there were people in our “reserved” cabin who were insisting it was their reserved cabin.  Meanwhile, the train is moving, K and I are stuck in the hallway with our strollers blocking anyone from passing through. The guys are separated from us trying to ask another employee what’s going on.  We didn’t realize we had been told to get on another train for Berlin that was already full.  So everyone from our train has now double packed this already full train.  Great.  So now people are not only staring at us for blocking the aisle (from which we didn’t have room to move forward or backward), they have decided to try and push past us to get to the restroom.  One lady even had the nerve to tell us we shouldn’t be standing there when clearly there was no way to go anywhere else…geez!  Hubby had found another conductor who said we could take our chances looking for an empty cabin in another car, or get off at the next station and get on the next train which was our original train resuming it’s course.  We opted to get off and wait for the sure thing where our seats were guaranteed.  After this whole ordeal we got settled again and enjoyed the rest of the ride, but it got off to a crazy start.

Looking a little worn after finally getting settled…for the 2nd time.

We got into Berlin later than expected and basically only had time to check into our hotels and freshen up before meeting up again for our visit to the Reichstag building, home of the German Bundestag (Parliament).  This requires a reservation, so make sure you schedule it in advance!

We didn’t tour the whole building but just went up into the glass dome.

Starting up the spiral walkway.

We got audio-guides that would have you stop and look out over the city, explaining different landmarks and history of the city.  All the while you walk up you can see the giant mirror covered cone in the center of the dome.  At the bottom you can see down into the room where the government officials sit and do business.

The dome was really an interesting way to start the trip.  We got to see the whole city all lit up and got a brief overview of some history.  Not bad for a free entry!  After this tour we were ready to eat!  The Reichstag building is very close to the Brandenburg Gate, so we walked that direction to see it all lit up and then found a restaurant nearby.  Berlin is known for adding flavored syrups to their weissbier, so when we saw it on the menu, we had to try it.  I tried grapefruit, and Hubby tried white peach.

Yum, fruity beer!

Hubby decided one fruity beer was enough and then opted for the much more manly “meter of beer.”

A good start to our weekend in Berlin!

After our biers we were ready for some rest. It was a quick U-bahn ride back to our hotel where we turned in for the night to get ready for our next big day in Berlin!