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We left Prague early Thursday morning and took the train to Berlin. This time we did have first class accomodations and enjoyed a comfortable compartment that we had all to ourselves. What a contrast between the Prague and Berlin train stations! Berlin's new main station is a bright and beautiful place (see pic below) whereas the Prague station was too dark to take a picture. We took a taxi to pick up the keys to our apartment and settled into our Berlin quarters. That evening we explored the local area and had dinner at a restaurant on the Hackescher Markt, not far from our apartment.
The next morning, Arno's childhood friends met us at the apartment and took us on an enjoyable excursion of some of the city's main attractions. We utilized the city's excellent public transportation and our day pass allowed us to get off the train or bus, explore different attractions, and then get on the next train and go on. Our Berlin hosts treated us to a wonderful meal in the "Tiergarten". In the evening, we retreated to the Kuerschner Boys home for more food, drink and lots of laughs. It's been 14 years since Arno has seen his friends and there was much to catch up on.
On Saturday morning, we met again at the most famous of all Berlin landmarks, Arno's birthplace. It has changed a little since that time. The area looked nice and the apartment house was newly renovated. The district of Kreuzberg is now mainly inhabited by people of Turkish origin and they have their own ethnic restaurants and shops. We ate dinner in a very nice Indian restaurant, and toured the district on foot exploring some of the places that Arno remembered as a little boy. The city has changed a lot. On the plus side, much has been renovated and improved and the public transportation is second to none. There are negatives as well... Forget about "German Cleanliness". There is graffiti everywhere, and litter lines many of the streets.
Sunday is our last day in Berlin and in Europe. Since we did so much walking in the previous days, we decided to slow things down and take a leisurely trip down Berlin's River Spree and the canals.  That turned out to be a good choice.  We saw a good deal more of the city and from yet another perspective. 
We head back to the USA early Monday morning.

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On the train to Berlin. We scored a first class compartment and had it all to ourselves.
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The Berlin main Hauptbahnhof, an engineering marvel. What a difference from the Prague station.
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Steve and Barbara coming up the escalator. We catch a cab to our apartment.
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Childhood friends Hans Wolfgang and Armin meet us at our apartment the next morning. We plan the days activities.
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We decided to purchase a group day ticket that allows us to utilize all forms of public transportation. It allows you to get off the bus or train at interesting sites and get back on and continue. Here we are at the Funkturm and Messehalle.
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Our hosts in Berlin invited us to lunch at a great restaurant in the Hansaviertel. Terrific food and even better beer.
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A look along the Tiergarten towards the Siegesseule (Victory momument to the Franco Prussion war). This is were Barack Obama gave his Berlin speech. People here do NOT like George Busch and are hoping for an Obama victory.
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A look along the canal that flows through the Tiergarten. This was a quiet and beautiful stop.
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A Berliner policeperson with her K9 buddy.
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The group in front of the newly renovated Reichstag. The seat of the German government once again rests in Berlin.
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The famous Brandenburg Gate.
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A closer look.
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A look toward the old Eastern Sector and the TV tower that the old communist regime erected to beam their propaganda into the West. Ironically, when the sun hits the globe it reflects as a cross. The Berliners have dubbed this "The revenge of the Pope".
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Another group picture near the Russian Embassy.
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That evening we accompanied Armin and Hans Wolfgang to their home in Britz. We had a fun evening reminiscing about old times and solving all of the worlds problems.
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Barbara had back problems and she got all kinds of help trying to remedy the problem. None of it helped but we all had a good laugh including Barbara.
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Grimmstrasse 24! This where Arno was born and lived there until his immigration to the USA in 1958. The place looks a lot better now.
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Another group picture in front of the fountain that still stands at the end of the block. The emphasis here is on rebuilding and renovation rather than tearing down and building new.
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Arno posing with Frierich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852), the father of gymnastics. Arno did a triple sommersault off the ledge and pegged the landing for a perfect score.
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Armin and Arno in front of the Truemmerfrau, a monument to the women that cleared Berlins rubble after the war.
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There is lots of graffiti on Berlins walls. This shot captures some that can actually be classified as art.
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Berlin hosted two marathons the weekend we were there. On Saturday, in-line skaters ruled the roads. It was a good thing that we made our apartment reservations so far in advance.
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Over 40000 marathon racers were on the street on Sunday. This image was captured just a block from our apartment. The atmosphere was quite festive.
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On board a sightseeing boat on Sunday.
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A good example of rebuilding rather than tearing down. Only part of the building remained after WW II.