Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sept 21, 2015 - Arriving in Berlin

Please note that I'm writing this a few days after the 21st.  The past few days were too packed to blog.

We landed in Berlin at around 7:10 AM (CEST).  The weather was mostly sunny and cool (~57 Degrees F).  Due to Mom's wheelchair, we had a personal escort off the plane and to customs.  Because we landed on the tarmac, they brought an interesting vehicle to pick us up.  It was a mobile room that would jack up to the plane level, off load folks and then ratchet back to the ground and drive off.  I wish I got a photo.

Customs and baggage claim was completely easy and uneventful.  We still had our personal escort to assist us, which was a lifesaver.  He even helped us find a taxi large enough for the four of us and all of our things.

The taxi took us to our apartment in Prenzlauer Berg (See map below).  

For this trip we used AirBnb and found a great apartment for our three weeks here.  For less than the cost of most hotel rooms, we have an entire apartment.  It has a living room/bedroom, another bedroom, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a front hall.  Each bedroom has a TV (with cable).  We have a washing machine (a big must when traveling light) and a stove/fridge/toaster/coffee machine for easy and cheap eating.  Roni, our host, has been extremely helpful and the apartment is perfect so far.  Here is a photo of our inside courtyard.

The location is great because we're about ten minutes by foot from a major transportation hub.  We can catch either the U-Bahn or S-Bahn directly into the center of Berlin and be there in about 15 minutes or we can take the RingBahn, which goes around the entire center of Berlin and let's us access outside neighborhoods.  I'll go more into our transportation details in later posts. 

Sept 20, 2015 - Traveling to Europe

Please note that I'm writing this a few days after the 20th.  The past few days were too packed to blog.

Today was dedicated to traveling.  Illa, Mom, Clara and myself were picked up from home in North Haven at 12:30 PM (ET) by my brother's friend, Tiara and driven to JFK.  A big thanks to Tiara for transporting us and all of our things.  We arrived in JFK three hours early without any issues.

During our travels, Mom is using a wheelchair and we have a stroller for Clara.  Because of this, we were whisked through a special line for security (very quickly in fact) and taken directly to the gate.  We hung out at the gate for about two hours and ate some of the plentiful snacks that Mom and Illa packed (somehow Mom had smuggled cheese through the checkpoint).

Mom and I were the first to board the plane shortly followed by Illa.  The flight was direct and was manageable.  AirBerlin is a decent carrier and the accommodations were decent.  Clara traveled very well and slept for most of the time.  Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the rest of us.  Illa, Mom and I probably slept for no more than two hours each.

When we landed it was Monday and our adventure began....