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    November 30. Susan, Christine and I saw two of three new Italian plays at the Cherry Lane theatre. I actually thought I had booked the third offer which was a Pirandello revival but we were all glad that we did not miss “The Journey I Never made” and “Story of Love and Soccer”. Both excellently translated and powerfully acted. The first is a thought provoking and somewhat unsettling portrayal of the current social turmoil and the second is modern thriller about corrupt sport and the triumph of evil over good. We were able to chat with one of the actors about the plays after the show. Before the show we ate lobster and oysters at the  “Fish” restaurant which was only two blocks from the theatre!

     

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Allegro on the River Elbe. 1 – Berlin

 

The Elbe is not a mighty river, even by European standards. It runs at a steady clip from the mountains of The Czech republic  into the North Sea just above Hamburg but it meanders through flatlands for the most part and is only occasionally spectacular. It is very shallow and it was possible to add it to the tourist cruise roster only after our ship, “River Allegro” was specially designed to cruise upon it.

According to the ship’s master, Captain Jurgen Luderer, the  “River Allegro” has a draught of only one metre and he assured us, that if the ship sank to the river bed, more than half the vessel would still be above water!

Until quite recently, goods were transported throughout much of its length by flat rafts which, on their return journey against the flow, hauled themselves along by means of an iron chain. The chain was 456 miles long!

What the River does have, though, is access to some of the most historic towns of Europe; steeped in ancient history as well as the turbulent events of the 20th century.

Piotr Roszak, intrepid commander of the Blue Group

Piotr Roszak, intrepid commander of the Blue Group

In accordance with its aim of making its travel trips learning and discovery experiences, Grand Circle travel  appointed Program Directors, vastly knowledgeable about their localities, to guide us  efficiently around the historic sites. “Whisperers” were provided. These are wireless receivers which allow the  guide’s commentary to be heard clearly from quite a few yards away from the source and also keep one from being separated from the group.

As expected, at this time of the year, the weather was not kind to photographers–It was dull and overcast most of  the time. However, I took over 500 pictures and, culled to the most interesting, will still make multiple posts. This trip was the first in more than forty years that Kim and I had taken together–It was a wonderful Daughter/Father interlude.

Click on the pictures for detail. 

Riding on the bus from the East Berlin airport to the Park Hotel in the center of East Berlin . . . . .

Scenes  on the bus ride from the East Berlin airport to  Park Hotel in the center of East Berlin . . .

 

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The bear is the symbol of Berlin and is seen everywhere in many forms. Here are a couple in the Park Hotel  . . . .

The bear is the symbol of Berlin and is seen everywhere in many forms. Here are a couple in the Park Hotel . . . .

 

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This amusing bronze was mounted outside the bar in the Hotel

This amusing bronze was mounted outside the bar in the Hotel

 

East Berlin at night

East Berlin at night

 

Musicians in the Bavarian Restaurant where Kim and I ate dinner

Musicians in the Bavarian Restaurant where Kim and I ate dinner . . . . . .

 

 . . . .  our meal--schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle. Enough meat for ten people!

. . . . our meal–schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle. Enough meat for ten people!

 

This is the famous Brandenburg Gate in its restored glory . . . .

This is the famous Brandenburg Gate in its restored glory . . . .

 

 . . .  complete with its four-horse chariot on top . . . . . .

. . . complete with its four-horse chariot on top . . . . . .

 

 . . . and here is a photo of it after the war superimposed over one taken before the war

. . . and here is a photo of it after the war, superimposed over one taken before. (Picture copied from the museum collection)

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

 

The infamous wall. Ironically, it has be guarded in order to prevent tourists and Berliners from taking pieces of it!

The infamous wall. Ironically, it has to be guarded in order to prevent tourists and Berliners from taking pieces of it!

 

Back view of the wall

Back view of the wall

 

Museum poster

Museum poster

 

Old friends

Old friends

 

 

The last soldier to man Checkpoint Charlie

The last soldier to man Checkpoint Charlie

 

Checkpoint Charlie is exploited by every business within 500 yards

Checkpoint Charlie is exploited by every business within 500 yards

 

Actors pose for a fee at a replica of Checkpoint Charlie

Actors pose for a fee at a replica of Checkpoint Charlie

Local restaurant for dinner with fellow travellers

Local restaurant for dinner with fellow travelers

 

Animated display in the windows of the local department store . . . . . .

Animated display in the windows of the local department store . . . . . .

 

 

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Shop window

Shop window

 

View from our hotel room--Christmas Market being set up

View from our hotel room–Christmas Market being set up

 

Christmas Markets due to open a few days after we leave!

Christmas Markets due to open a few days after we leave!

 

To be continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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