This will be the third trip overseas for Bernie Matczak, who in his retirement, is starting to be known as a "world traveler." (Ha!)
Dad has wanted to see Berlin for a long time. And who wouldn't? From what I have read and have heard, it's not the prettiest of European cities. You're not going to walk away from it in awe of its beauty, as you might with other places. But what it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in history, monuments, museums, night life, and people. The fact that a wall divided the city almost 30 years ago is enough to make it intriguing for visitors. What once was a grim and gray place is now lively, colorful and cosmopolitan. Tourists also rave about the night life. It's a huge city, very spread out, and most people recommend at least 3-4 days, at a minimum, especially to experience the night life. Do I expect us to be clubbing with my 78-year-old father at 4 am? Probably not. But Berlin is now seen as a major tourist destination, and I'm excited to see it. We fly directly into Berlin and will spend 3 nights there. We will do a day trip with a tour guide to the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Because Berlin is in eastern Germany and not far from Poland, we will head west via train to Poznan for a night, and then on to Warsaw. Staying in Poznan will break up the train trip a bit. In Warsaw, we have plans to visit the villa featured in the popular movie, "The Zookeeper's Wife." If you haven't read the book or have seen the movie, it's an incredible story. I thought Dad would enjoy seeing Poland, as it's part of our heritage.
Our last stop is Prague, which is often touted as one of the most darling cities in all of Europe. Tourists have been bombarding it for many years, but I still think it's worthwhile to see. My bro-in-law, Jeff, who is also traveling with us, has Czech roots on his mother's side. Here, we plan on doing a beer tour with a local guide, as Czech beer (pilsner) is supposed to be some of the best.
Train tickets have been purchased. Hotels are booked. Itineraries are being drafted. We're excited to begin. Bring on the polkas, pilsners and pierogies!