Berlin to München...
Early morning wake up call at 5am as we packed up and left the fantastic apartment on Leipziger Straße 46 for the last time at 6am. We had a plane to catch from one of Berlin's at least 3 commercial airports, called Tegel.
First we took a local bus N42 from just outside our local U-bahn station of Spittlemarkt a short 3 stops to Spandauer Straße / Mariakirche. Pretty quiet there this Sunday morning.
Changed bus there to the TXL bus, a local bus that just seemed to end up at the Tegel airport, I.e. it was not an airport bus with luggage storage etc. This was reflected in the price, only 2.60€ which, in our view, is cheap for airport transport anywhere in the western world.
A funny thing happened as Hans was flagging down the TXL bus as you do in Australia and many other places. Hans was told off by the bus driver who said that he would stop there anyway so "no flagging required". OK, fair enough, but since many different bus lines go pass that stop, a driver wouldn't know whether a passenger standing there would go on their bus, and means that every bus stop requires an inspection and slow down (which we saw was the case as the journey progressed).
We arrived at Tegel airport well ahead of time, printed out our boarding passes and went to the baggage drop off, where there seemed to be a long long queue. Wait, said Di, these people are all queuing for check in while the baggage drop off is at the next counter. Hans went up and asked what the story was and yes, seperate queue with not one single punter for baggage drop off. So, we finished our business there in no time. Well done spotting, Di.
Tegel is a very provisional airport and facilites near the gates, once through security, was exactly one outlet, see below.
It may not come across on the photo above but a bottle of water was 3.30€. We did buy ourselves a cup of coffee for the "bargain" price of 3.60€ each. In other words, transport from downtown Berlin to the airport is 1€ cheaper than a cup of coffee at the airport. Hmmm, there is nothing like a captive audience.
An uneventful and smooth flight with AirBerlin from Berlin to München and we arrived 10 minutes ahead of time, having even been served a drink and a simple snack on the plane. There you go.
We had some concerns about flying AirBerlin as the airline has a pretty bad reputation online, including one incident when a plane left Stockholm without having loaded one single piece of luggage.
However, all was good for us until we collected our luggage...Hans' bag arrived where the handlebar was now firmly stuck inside the bag and refused to come out (as happened for Di in Amsterdam) Oh well...now we match!
Timo was at the München airport waiting for us with a sign saying "Ned Kelly" and "Dame Edna" - 2 men? Apparently he and Astrid could not think of any other famous "females" and Di was just grateful she was not Julia Gillard! We caught up with hugs and handshakes and made our way to the car.
Timo then drove us to our hotel Angelo in Sendling-Westpark so that we could check in, which we did at 10.30am and were able to take our bags to our room. Good hotel! All back in the car for a short drive to Pullach im Isartal, the München suburb where Timo, Di's cousin Astrid and their 2 kids, Luis and Tessa live.
We celebrated our München arrival with a few bottles of limited quantity Weißbier called Franziskaner Royal. Nice.
Astrid and Timo...
Lunch was delicious and very German. Beer, bread, cold meat, cheese, pickled things. Very very nice and the bread selection was amazing.
Young Luis and his shark tooth necklace. Luis is 5 years old and full of beans and gave Hans a bit of a good run around playing...
And even younger Tessa...she is 2 and 1/2 and a real sweetie. She warmed to us immediately and was very smiley and chatty (in English).
After lunch, with lots of family catch up and a bit downtime, the kids wanted to go to a playground so we all went for a wander around Pullach. Grey and cool, but no rain or snow despite the weather forecast to the contrary.
Family portrait of the Mayr's with an unknown dog distracting them a little bit...
Hans, Tessa and Di.
The cousins, Astrid and Di.
And a few more pics of the kids, Tessa...
... And Luis.
Back to the Mayr residence and Hans was shown these gigantic slippers, designed for use in museums and galleries for winter, where you can put your dirty outdoor shoes straight inside them and keep the gallery floors dry.
Hans demonstrated to Luis that with big shoes you also need to look tough. Hans probably didn't get the message across convincingly.
OK, we were all a bit tired at this time and Timo took a power nap here. So did Hans, and Timo took a photo of him while he did it, but it remains in his photo collection (lucky him!).
Astrid and Di were still catching up...chatting chatting...
Location shot of the Mayr living room.
We had dinner across the road from Casa de Mayr at this Gasthof Rabenwirt.
The Gasthof had a bit of a pub feel to it as you walked in but it was of reasonable size and as you walked through here and further in, it looked like a very traditional German eatery.
A "selfie" by Hans of us all sitting around the table. Unfortunately(?), only half of Hans was contained in the frame, but the rest of the crowd looked so good so we saved the photo.
Dinner was delicious and very traditional. Roast pork with knödel for Hans, a small portion Wiener Schnitzel for Di and Astrid and Timo had some local specialties of wild boar and venison.
A few more night pics from outside the Gasthof after dinner, around 8.30pm.
The next 2 pics are from either side of the Gasthof, the village of Pullach at night.
This is where Timo, Astrid, Luis and Tessa live on the top floor. The other two floors are where their very newly acquired business, "The International Preschool" has its premises.
Astrid has been working in the preschool as a teacher for many years but they decided they wanted to have more control on the running of the place, but unfortunately there were some clashes with the previous owner. All good now though it seemed.
The building itself belongs to Timo's father, with the family cars parked outside making everything that you see here part of the family.
We stopped outside their building and said our goodbyes after this whistle tour stop for us in München. Astrid's brother Torsten, I.e. also a cousin of Di, will marry his sweetheart Amy in Australia next August 2014 and the Mayr family will come over for that. So, we will likely see them there and then next time.
Timo then drove us back to our hotel at Sendling-Westpark, about 10 minutes or so drive through dark residential back streets of suburban München if you know where you are going.
Hotel Angelo is brand new, opened in January this year, and was very bright and light against the darkened and grey München streetscape.
This corridor goes from the hotel entrance and to the lift. We had a very nice room on the 2nd floor.
After a long day, we were both soundly asleep around 10pm in very nice beds.
There will be an early morning tomorrow yet again as we will then travel by bus to Straßbourg in France, via Basel in Switzerland we think. For now, it is definitely good night from us.