Planning on 2 + months in Europe. First month with Illene - Berlin, Bilbao, walking the Camino in Spain and Lake Como Italy. After that, on my own. Milan, Budapest, Munich, Black Forest and London.
  • Day1

    Berlin

    April 11, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    4/9, 10 & 11 Illene and I left SFO at 1PM. Arrived Berlin 5:30PM next evening. An uneventful trip with stops in SLC and London Heathrow. Great apartment near Brandenburg Gate. Dinner in a German restaurant near by. Miles 4.3.

    4/11 Off for at 10:30 Berlin Walks tour - Discover Berlin. I had done that one before but still good. After tour signed up for Reichtstag tour on Friday. (Closed for cleaning today and tomorrow.) Then to lunch/dinner near our apartment. Off to the Jewish museum (under the memorial). It has changed since I saw it last and was again a sobering experience. A stop at the tourist office for concert tickets tomorrow night, the grocery store and home.

    Miles 8.1
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  • Day2

    Berlin

    April 12, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    4/12 Off to the East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall art). Mastering the S Bahn and the U Bahn for travel. The graffiti has been significantly cleaned up since I saw last in 2013. Enjoyed the walk and the art. Then walked through the Friedrickshain district to meet Irmi and Hannah at Hannah's new apartment. Had a fun late lunch with them at a local German/Austrian restaurant. Said good by and off to find the local transportation back to Alezanderplatz to find the artist with the bears for Illene. Stopped for a few minutes at 2 old Lutheran churches. Saint Mary's and St Nikolai (twin spires). Both beautiful and old - built in the 1200's. A beer and wine by the river and off to find a Geocache near the Konzerthaus. More wine while we waited for the concert.
    Lovely outdoor cafe. First row in the concert !! Bernstein, Strauss, and Rachmaninoff Home by 10:30PM.

    Miles: 9.8!!.
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  • Day3

    Berlin

    April 13, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    4/13 Short night, could not sleep until around 2AM. :-( Off to see the Vision Alive Art Exhibit - amazing!! We found an ad for this yesterday on a pole during our walk along the Eastside gallery. It took the works of all the Impressionist thru Cubist artists (Monet to Kandinsky) and did amazing things with movement and color. Hard to explain, we both loved it. An unforgetable experience. Then to the Berliner Dome - cathedral and museum - and a climb to the circular walk around the dome. Weather cleared after AM rain and some beautiful sights. We both wanted some better food than we have had so far. Made our way to Kadawe - a high end Asian owned department store - think Berlin's Harrods. Had bouillabaisse - very good and a fun place. Back to near home for our Reichstag reservation. Just did this last year but still a lovely spot and rain all around but not on us. Home early to relax and pack.
    Miles: 6.5
    Flights Climbed: 27!
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  • Day4

    Berlin to Bilbao

    April 14, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    4/14 A day of travel. Raining in Berlin, off to airport for a long days trip to Bilbao. Berlin to Dusseldorf - 4-5 hour layover - Dusseldorf to Bilbao. Eurowings Arrived in Bilbao around 8:30 PM, Taxi to airbnb by 9PM. Great 7th floor apartment - Andoni our host had all ready for us. Loft apartment, Illene upstairs. Off to visit Casco Viejo -old town. What a nightlife scene !! 3 star. Bars, restaurants and people/kids everywhere on the meandering cobblestone streets. So much fun. We
    had a couple glasses of wine while walking around and just enjoyed the
    atmosphere of the socializing - Bilbao style.

    Miles: 4
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  • Day5

    Bilbao

    April 15, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Off to the Guggenheim, an 11AM reservation. Great walk along the river Bilbao which runs through the City about a mile to the museum. What an amazing building both inside and out. Art exhibits are mostly all very large installations. Large art pieces and sculptures. The "Spider" and "Puppy" outside are spectacular. Had lunch, Kay - pinxtos, outside at the museum. Another cross off on my bucket list !!

    Walked up river, checked out the different bridges, and meandered back to the Old Town and "home". Feet up for an hour and off to meet Bea and Ibby for dinner at 9PM at Sustraiak*** - an upscale restaurant on the newer side of the river in the Bilbao Casino. Great food and enjoyable conversation. Bea from Westchester NY and Ibby from Manhattan. Home via taxi after dinner.

    Miles: 7.5
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  • Day6

    Bilbao

    April 16, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Walking tour with Terry, Bea, and Ibby
    Kay and lllene to market
    Funicular
    Coffee in old cafe
    Old Town - Churches -
    Market

    Lunch at a piazza
    Other side of river - Parks!!
    Buildings - columns
    Library
    Glass building
    Architecture
    Finished with lovely park past the Guggenheim
    Tram
    Rest
    Recital
    Wine and packing

    Miles: 9.8
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  • Day7

    The Camino

    April 17, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    A day of travel and fun in the sun. Car with driver (thanks to Bea) pick up the 4 of us in Bilbao and set off for Pamplona via San Sebastian. A beautiful, warm Spring day with a cloudless sky. The area had a long, wet,cold winter and Spring just started for them a couple days ago. We are so very lucky with the weather.

    Arrived San Sebastian, a lovely city on the Atlantic Coast in the Basque region of Spain near the border with France. Primarily known as a "foodie" city with beautiful beaches and an historic old town. Anthony Bourdain claims that San Sebastian has more Michelin star restaurants per capita than any city in the world. Amazing!!

    We spent our 4 hours, walking the old town with the usual array of shops, bars and restaurants. Coffee/tea and diet coke in a piazza between the old and new city. Next task was to figure out where to have lunch !! Settled on a TA recommendation, the Sport Bar. Pintxos AKA tapas, are the local cuisine for almost all meals. We enjoyed a wide variety of different flavors including anchovies, sweetbreads, foie gras, salmon, potatoes, calimari stuffed with crab and others I can't remember. Of course along with beer/sangria and diet coke. A walk on the beach and feet in the water of the Atlantic for Illene and Kay and a ride on the Carousel for Bea, Illene and Kay- Ibby the recorder.

    Off to Pamplona to meet our driver for our self guided tour who took us to our final destination for the day of Roncesvalles, Sp. A picturesque, tiny town that is the first major stop in Spain for the Camino walk. We are lucky with our driver as he is also a guide for some of the Country Walkers tours in this area, thus highly knowledgeable. Had our orientation to determine when we will start in the AM and where he will pick us up and other trip details. Tomorrow is 7.2 miles and mostly downhill.

    A walk in the area before dinner and then a very good dinner at our Hotel Roncesvalles and then to our rooms to prepare for our first day on the Camino. Stay tuned. Kay

    Miles: 6.1
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  • Day8

    The Camino Day 1

    April 18, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Roncesvalles to Bizkarret
    7.2 miles on the Camino
    Drive to Pamplona
    Nails
    Illene and I to trace the Running of the Bulls and the Bull Fight stadium
    Dinner of Pintxos followed by ice cream

    Miles: 11.9
    Flights Climbed: 27

  • Day9

    The Camino Day 2

    April 19, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌬 17 °C

    Leave Pamplona
    Short ride to Uterga for start of 9.2 mile
    Beautiful day
    Easy first half to Puenta de la Reina - bridge lunch
    Hard hill not so hard.. - Steep but short. 0.8 mile
    US folk on the trail
    Easy walk to Cinaquile Pick up at church by Shabi
    Hour ride to Brionas - by the Erbo river wine country
    Room with double and single - no windows and skylight. :-)
    I and K walked the fiver to the bridge to Haro
    Drink at the tavern in town and back for 8PM dinner
    Great salad !! Illene happy.
    Brit couple that lives in Spain with dogs at dinner.

    Miles: 12.6!!
    Flights Climbed: 52!!
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