*Note: if you want to know more about any of the sites I visited, Google them. :) I was going to link up some helpful sites, but seriously that would take forever.
I flew out on a Friday morning AL time and got to Germany on Saturday morning their local time. I knew I needed to stay awake so that I would be able to sleep that night, so Holly showed me a few sites around Dresden. Then Sunday morning we had brunch w/ several of Holly's friends and then took off for Berlin. That night we walked around Berlin for a bit, ate dinner, and had an early night. The next morning we took a bus tour of Berlin and saw the remnants of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Prime Minister of Israel (Ok, so we didn't see him exactly...but we did see the police blocking off the street as his caravan of SUV's passed by!!), the Brandenberg Gate, and several other popular sites. After lunch we went to the DDR Museum, which is an interactive museum detailing life in communist East Germany. That night we went to the Berlin Film Festival and saw Fireflies in the Garden (starring Julia Roberts). The next day we basically spent all our time at the Jewish Museum, which takes you through the entire history of the Jewish people from beginning 'til present day. Then we took a train back to Dresden that night. The next day, we left for Prague (in the Czech Republic) about lunchtime. After arriving, we visited the Charles Bridge, which was built in the 1300's, I believe. The next day we went to the Prague Castle and did a little shopping for souvenirs. Then we took a train back to Dresden that evening. My last day there, Friday, we shopped for more souvenirs in Dresden and ate dinner at a fantastic Italian restaurant. Then the next morning I boarded the plane for home!
I tried weinerschnitzel (kind of like a breaded boneless pork chop) and bratwurst, both of which were tasty. Also there were lots of potatoes, and I've never met a potato that I didn't like. I found out that decaf coffee is not very common over there (what do pregnant coffee drinkers do??) and ALL drinks are crazy expensive. Water and soft drinks cost about the same...I paid as much as US$5 for about 12 oz of diet coke several times. And no free refills. And no ice. Beer was usually the cheapest thing to drink, and not only do I think beer tastes/smells a bit like pee, but I am also pregnant and couldn't drink the stuff anyway. And their croissants, pastries, and breads were all good.
My knee didn't hurt just about the entire trip. The flights were uncomfortable and long, of course, but most of the airlines/airports were pretty accomodating. We walked everywhere, and I just put my leg up and rested during mealtimes.
German mothers get a stipend each month (called Kindergeld) for each child they have...I can't remember the amount, but I think it's like $300-$500/month or so. They also get to take off 6 months from their job PAID, and their employers must hold their job for up to a year (I think) if the mom chooses to stay at home that long. The gov't is doing all this to increase the birth rate.
People are not as friendly over there. For instance, people will hover over you waiting for you to get up from your table so they can sit there, or push you out of the way getting on trams. Their common courtesy is different from ours, for sure!
Lots of stuff has "gone green" over there. You get charged for the trash that you don't recycle. All your recyclable trash is free. Also everybody uses cloth bags for their groceries. They charge you for the plastic bags if you don't bring your own. Most of the organic/natural groceries are the same price or just a few cents more than the regular stuff.
There is grafitti EVERYWHERE in Dresden, and Holly says that nobody seems to think it's an eyesore or needs to be covered up!
I believe this was called the Zwinger (Holly, correct me if I'm wrong)...this is where we went the first day in Dresden. Notice that my scarf looks like an ascot. I learned a cooler way to wear it after a day or two. :)
The longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall. A path of two bricks side by side marks where the Wall used to stand throughout the city.
The Bradenberg Gate.
The streetlights in parts of Dresden and Berlin looked like this. This is supposed to be a good little communist worker man doing his part for the community. :) The newer lights look normal.
One of the many statues on the Charles Bridge in Prague.
The royal guard outside the Prague Castle.
Inside the cathedral at Prague Castle. It was GORGEOUS!!
A view of Prague from the castle. The architechture in the city was beautiful. Isn't this picturesque?