Travel 2008 – Dresden, Berlin, Day 4

Monday, 8th December 2008 – Dresden, Berlin, Day 4

Monday was a day when we didn’t have a great deal planned apart from getting to Berlin for our flight back. As that wasn’t until much later in the day, there was no great rush, although Steffy had requested lunch in Berlin, presumably just in case we never got to eat again!

After breakfast we checked out (which was made rather more complicated by the need to add all four room bills together then divide by 7 so no one was penalised for having a single even if they did have a view!), and then loaded up the bus – which had magically reappeared from wherever the concierge had taken it on Friday. We then fought the SatNav systems one last time as we attempted to find our way out of Dresden, a task that was much harder than it should have been. I sometimes think maps were so much easier, and they didn’t talk back… However, we made it to Berlin in good time. On the way in we drove past the old airport at Tempelhof, the one that shows up in all those 1960s spy films, and found our way to Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden with only minimal problems, mostly caused by the sheer amount of traffic out there.

We then discovered that it’s very easy to park in Berlin, even a few minutes walk from the main shopping streets, on a week day. And it isn’t expensive either, at €2 an hour. Try parking in London for less than that for 10 minutes! The restaurant we’d booked, Traube, was just metres away and very good indeed as well as beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Of course the quality of the meals may well be because we now take recommendations only from the Michelin guide (if it’s available) for whichever country we are headed for, after a particularly disastrous experience in Italy a couple of years back that saw us have a dreadful meal with the most inept service imaginable. Whatever the reason, the resulting lunch kept us happy for a couple of hours. We started with one last glass of Sekt of course:

After that it was pumpkin soup with prawns again, this time with a Jerusalem artichoke foam:

This was followed by venison for some of us:

While others had lamb:

Or “eagle” fish (otherwise known as stone-bass):

Finally, we’d all reached the point of no return and no one could manage dessert, so we had coffee before heading out for a short stroll along the Spree which looked very cold:

I’m not sure what the building on the other bank is (or rather I wasn’t – it turns out it’s the Marie-Elisabeth Lüders House), but it provided some amazing reflections of the former Reichstag (or Bundestag as it now is) with the massive glass dome on the top:

From there we strolled over to the Brandenburg Gate, which looks just as you think it should, especially illuminated and with a large Christmas tree beside it:

After that we were running out of time so we headed back down Unter den Linden, all the while being haunted by the TV tower.

From there we fought our way to Tegel airport (neither SatNav system was prepared to admit it existed, or that if it did you could actually get there). The flight home was uneventful, our luggage came off incredibly fast, the car was waiting for us by the time we got to the pickup point, and we were home an hour afterwards. All in all a great weekend – and the scales held no unpleasant surprises either, despite the meals!

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