July 24th – Vienna, Austria

First of all, we continued our love of train travel during the trip from Budapest to Vienna. Our little one slept THE WHOLE WAY, which was amazing!!!!! We were able to alternate reading our Kindles next to her stroller while she napped and writing about our travels on the laptop, which was the best of both worlds. Unfortunately in Vienna the weather caught up with us – this was the first city where we really were negatively impacted by heavy rains and storms throughout our two night stay. (We don’t count having to spend 3 hours on a river barge in Prague enjoying multiple courses of food and drink a negative impact on our plans). During our first night we meandered the streets of downtown Vienna and walked around the grounds of the Imperial City complex gathering intel for the next day’s touristing. Our plans changed a bit as our little one slept in the following morning, but we happily obliged by changing our schedule and got a late start to visiting the city. We started our adventure by hitting a grocery store and stocking up on baby food and two umbrellas – not fancy but we were excited to have both!
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July 22nd – Budapest, Hungry

Budapest marked the beginning of our most concentrated visits with friends, where we stayed with a friends at every other location all the way into Turkey. Our Budapest hosts started us off in grand style; they met us at the train station and escorted us back to their apartment in central Budapest. We also had a pleasant surprise – Some our mutual friends along with their daughter, were in town on a road trip. So that first night we all headed out to a nearby restaurant that had a “kids corral” (okay, a kids play area) so that the 6 adults could talk while the 3 children could run and scream in the play area, and generally disrupt most of the other restaurant patrons.
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July 21st – Brno, Czech Republic

Brno was a singular event stop for us – the Villa Tugendhat, which was designed by famed Bauhaus architect Miles van der Rohe – and was the first private home to use structural steel. Recently opened for viewing after extensive renovations, we arrived in Brno to learn that tours, which started in April, regularly book up 2-3 months in advance. These are some of the important details you miss while trying to plan a 3 month trip. So we set out early the next morning and arrived just before the 9am Villa opening to view the grounds and inquire about a waiting list for the 10am tour, which was limited to 15 people. The Architectural Gods surely smiled upon us because as 10 A.M. rolled around 2 people failed to show for the tour, and as the first people who arrived begging that morning we were allowed into the tour.
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July 20th – Prague, Czech Republic

Since Prague was such a big city and our next, destination, Brno, was a smaller city, we decided to spend the morning in Prague and take a late train to Brno. We wandered into the old town and checked out their market, which was more chochkies than fun, but we did pick up a wooden alphabet puzzle game for only 3 American dollars – Success!

After walking old town we headed south to Frank Gehry’s “Fred and Ginger” building which as you can guess is named after Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers and is a building with two intertwined towers, evoking the image of the two film stars dancing their way through…. (insert movie here). While admiring Fred and Ginger, the skies OPENED and we were forced to find cover – in a fancy restaurant houseboat. What a life! This turned into a luxurious 3 hour lunch replete with wine, multiple courses and after-lunch aperitifs. Of course, as always, out little one stole the show and wowed the waiters.
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July 18th – Prague, Czech Republic

We had a late arrival in Prague due to our Reichstag tour and subsequent long train ride, but we successfully checked into the Marriot Apartments (on the same street as go-go bars… coincidentally) and headed out for a traditional Prague dinner at a restaurant recommended by the hotel along the main pedestrian walkway.
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July 18th – Berlin, Germany

The next morning actually turned out wonderfully. With 8:15 reservations to the Reichstag we had to get up and out early, but with a noon check out time we didn’t have to worry about packing our luggage until we returned. In the drizzle we made our way to the Reichstag by 8:00 and were let right in without waiting. The dome in this very old building is in fact very new. It is also very Norman Foster (for you Architects reading), it’s made of steel and glass and has a ramp around the interior of it open to the public to walk and see the city from. Even with the poor weather and limited view it was still an amazing sight to see; and well worth the hoops to get there.
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July 17th – Berlin, Germany

Day 3, our bike tour of Berlin had a rocky beginning. To start it was raining – so after much consideration we skipped the bike ride and headed off to a Museum in Architecture, getting only slightly lost on the way there and finally making our way to the entrance to find the museum closed and the sun coming out. We quickly came up with what about now was Plan Q and decided to go to the Story of Berlin Museum. This ended up being a great plan for a questionable-weather day. As part of the entrance to the museum we also toured a bomb shelter that was created in the 1970’s for 3000 people for 14 days in the event of a nuclear attack. The bomb shelter alone was fascinating. From there we were headed to the zoo to meet some friends that have a little girl as well and let the girls run wild with the animals, (a little at least). On the way through we grabbed some street food for lunch though – German style; two wursts, two beers and a bench. It was perfect.
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July 16th – Berlin, Germany

Day 2 in Berlin started off with some sun which was refreshing. This was to be our museum day, so we headed towards Museum Island for our little ones nap. A little overwhelmed by all the museums and knowing we would be lucky to make it through only one we went to Neues (New) Museum, which had just recently reopened after renovation. We ended up being very happy with our museum choice. It was a museum largely consisting of ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean artifacts and sculptures, which was a nice break from all the fine art museums we had seen. The building itself was also very interesting and had been restored beautifully. After being destroyed in World War II like much of Berlin there was not much left of the original building. The restoration did not try to recreate the old, instead it showcased the old and filled in destroyed areas with a simple modern palette, otherwise known as contemporary restoration.
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