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Old September 23rd, 2005, 08:03 PM   #1
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Prague trip finale – Czech nature and BERLIN!

This is about the Sunday we left Prague, including a 2 hour stop in Berlin. Our bus should leave already at 6 o´clock in the morning, so despite drinking a lot of drinks and being up late the night before, we had to go up at 4 o´clock and check out from Hotel Opatov. The hotel staff called a taxi for us. To save some money we took all our baggage with us a the metro to the Prazskeho povstani station. And there was the taxi, a modern Ford from Sedop company. We said we wanted to go to Botel Racek because there was were we should catch the bus. We also told that we came from Hotel Opatov. And the driver drove very fasten (sometimes as fast as 150km/h) through the highways of Prague. There were many modern office buildings in the outskirts. The drive felt very long for being just 8 blocks I thought. And suddenly we saw our highrise Hotel Opatov turn up. He had drived us back to our own hotel! The driver didn’t speak English, but a bit German and pretended to have misunderstood. So he had to drive the whole way back and then to Botel Racek, this time even faster than before, until he saw a police car. When we suddenly came to Racek, it costed us 350 koruna, not so much as a Swedish taxi drive, but the Czech bus driver that now was there said it should just cost 80 koruna. At this time I knew that the driver fooled us, because I remember I heard him say “Hotel Racek” to the taxi central. He misunderstood nothing and he was an idiot, just like the taxi company Sedops. I have read that most taxi drivers take much more money than allowed from the tourists just because they can, so when in Prague you should avoid taking the cab as much as possible. However, it is not so easy to avoid it when you are in a hurry and have a lot of baggage.

Enough about that, now to the nice things about the journey: Tired as hell before, the fast taxi journey had really woke me up! The bus left Hotel Racek about 6 o’clock so we had about 17 hours bus drive to look forward to.

This church, photographed from the bus, was one of the last things we saw of central Prague.

For the first time crossing the bridge to the north side of Vltava (Moldau). Goodbye Prague! Hope I’ll see you again soon!

After driving one hour or so through the Czech landscape on the modern highway, this stunning mountain appeared.

Mountains with pyramid shapes turn up beneath a Czech village.

The nature has shaped its own Cheops pyramid!

Morning haze over a small Czech village in this mountainous landscape.

Later the bus drove through the village and it was fog all around the bus. Very cool!

Teplice, the largest city we passed between Prague and Dresden. I have heard there was a concentration camp in this city during the WW2.

The city looked nice and old, but had hugh numbers of commie block districts in the mountains.

A nice red rock.

Our visit in Berlin:

Tropical Islands Dome. In the forest about one hour drive from Berlin this giant former airship factory is. It has recently been converted to an artificial tropical rain forest by a Malaysian company inside the dome. I recognized this crazy building immediately!

After passing Potsdam, we reached Berlin. The bus should stop there to catch some more passengers. So the bus stopped at the bus station near the congress center and Funkturm as usual. But what we didn’t know until we got off was that the driver needed 2 hours rest. What shall we do for 2 hours in a boring bus station? Of course buy a metro ticket to downtown Berlin and then back again as fast as possible so we don’t miss the bus. This will be the only choice to see a bit of Berlin. So we walked to the congress center across the busy street and met a very kind woman that told us where we could take out money (we only had koruna, no euro), buy tickets and exactly what lines we should choose to come to the city center as fast as possible. I decided that we should go to Potsdamer Platz, not only because of the modern tall buildings, also because it was one of the closest stops in the city center.

We entered one of the yellow BVG metro trains, a very old and worn one from the Kaiserdamm station. The subway felt very old and some of the stations had old fashioned text and paintings on the walls. I have never seen such a big metro system, it has about 20 different ones. I couldn’t believe we so suddenly were in the subway beneath the capital of Germany, I just thought we should stop for 10 minutes or so!

Berlin is not only the capital of the whole Germany, it is Germany’s largest city and one of Europe’s largest after west and east were united with 3 290 000 inhabitans inside the city limits. Btw, Berlin doesn’t have many suburbs anyway because the wall stopped the city from growing.

Bahnhof Potsdammer Platz!

One of the new office buildings at Potsdamer Platz. After the wall fell in 1989, the square has been totally reconstructed.

Potsdammer Platz used to be the center of Berlin before the wall was built right through the square during the commie times to divide the city in west and east. Potsdamer Platz became an empty field. After the wall fell, there were much space for development. Several skyscrapers where planned, but only a few have arisen so far, so it didn’t look so impressive as I expected (because they where not very tall either). However, there are many planned for the future.

Beisham-Center. To the left is the 19-story Ritz-Carlton Hotel. It is brand new (completed in 2004). To the right is the 18-story Delbrück-Haus.

Bahn Tower, part of Sony Center, is probably my favourite building in Berlin. Even if it is just 94 m and 26 floors tall (only 10th tallest in Berlin), it has a strong impact on the skyline. It is Berlin’s most famous modern highrise and featured in many architecture books. It was completed in 2000 for the millennium.

Sony Center is a new famous entertainment center with restaurants, shops, theatres, cinemas etc in the void of the removed Berlin Wall. It is designed by Murhpy/Jahn and consists of the Hochhaus , the HQ and the Sony Forum. The special thing is that the elliptical plaza, called Sony Center Forum, is open to the outdoor world despite it is covered by an elliptical roof.

The atrium of Sony Center.

Skyscrapers of Potsdamer Platz.

Fernsehturm, the TV tower that is Germany’s tallest structure, can be seen from here. It is 368m tall and was completed in 1968. The Canadian embassy is to the left.

One of many boulevards in Berlin, this one is here passing Potsdamer Platz.

This air balloon anchored to the ground went up and down while we visited Potsdamer Platz.

The buses and metro of Berlin is yellow. In the far distance you can see the Mercedes sign on the 86m tall Europa-Center.

A veteran bus is a nice contrast to the modern surroundings.

Potsdamer Platz 1 in the center of the picture is part of the complex Quartier Daimler-Chrysler. Completed in 1999, it is 100m and 23 stories tall and one of Berlin’s most famous highrises.

The metro station is beneath this modern building, called Potsdamer Platz 10. It is occupied by CinemaxX, Germany’s largest cinema and Madison City Suites.

Debis Tower, a yellow highrise designed by famous architect Renzo Piano. 106m tall, 26 floors, built in 1997.

More modern architecture, seen from the metro.

An old church seen from the metro above ground between Potsdammer Platz and Kaiserdamm. Anyone know its name?

Fortunately the metro went about 50% of the trip above ground, allowing me to take som bad photos from the train. A crazy thing happened on the way back. A young man entered the train and started to show a newspaper and talk very fast about the news in German. At first I thought he was totally crazy, but since noone seemed to notice it so much it seems like this is a special thing for Berlin.

Modern skyline of Potsdamer Platz. I manage to capture this cluster from the metro! From the left: Debis Tower, Sony Tower, Daimler-Chrysler and the balloon.

Kaiserdamm, one of the boulevards of Berlin. It was situated between the metro station and the bus station, allowing me to take pictures from the district Charlottenburg.

In the far distance in this crossing you can see Fernsehturm again, plus some highrises. Tegel is one of Berlin’s 3 international airports.

A beautiful typical German house at Kaiserdamm.

Typical architecture of East Berlin?

An unusual church.

Berlin is famous for its vibrant nightlife, famous museum and historic and modern architecture.

Finally on the boat after a lot of waiting and forced shopping in Rostock’s harbour.

A stunning sunset seen from the ferry when we where about to reach Denmark.

When driving off in Gedser, Denmark, it was completely dark. It was also very foggy so we couldn’t see much from the bus, but it was a bit cozy in spooky way. After a while (when we had stopped in Nyköbing to let off some passengers), the drive through Denmark to Copenhagen seemed endless because we where so tired of sitting on the bus. Finally, at around 11PM, we entered DGI-byen near Copenhagen´s central station and could catch a modern train to Malmö’s central station where I could take the bus home. Today we had visited 3 capitals in just one day!

Whether you travel to see architecture, art, museums, shopping, good food, bear or nightlife you could find very much of it all in Prague!
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Old September 23rd, 2005, 11:43 PM   #2
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wow, very nice photos. Glad you had nice trip . And those taxi drivers are annoying, once a taxi driver tried to fool us in Poland. What a bastard
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Old September 24th, 2005, 09:09 PM   #3
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Great pics!
I love Berlin and Potsdamer Platz!
That picture of Deutsche Bahn Tower
is probably the best I´ve ever seen
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Old September 24th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #4
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I'm planning to go to Prague in October by car.
I was wondering how the road between Dresden and Prague is, cause I saw on a map there (almost) now highway between these cities.
Is the road two lanes, is the road twisty because of the mountainous region, how fast can you drive?
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Old September 27th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #5
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Thanks, guys!
@Forza Raalete: It is not a highway. The road between Prague and Dresden is very narrow and curvy and are trafficated by many transport lorrys and buses, so you can't go fast (I think the average speed was 60-70km/h).
But closer to Prague there is a large modern highway.
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