Berlin – Day 9 – Checkpoint Charlie, Apple Store and Vapiano

March 19, 2015

Danielle, Tiffani, Nancy and I left together late this morning.  After dropping Tiffani at a babysitting job, the 3 of us stopped for lunch at Trattoria Romano.  Really good Italian food and of course, great conversation.

Nancy and my cousin Danielle
Nancy and my cousin Danielle
Nancy and I at lunch with Danielle.
Nancy and I at lunch with Danielle.

Danielle dropped Nancy and I at the Zehlendorf S-Bahn station after lunch.  We took it to the Anhalter Bahnhof station, then walked less than one km to Checkpoint Charlie.

Checkpoint Charlie and Museum
This place is a museum of artifacts and stories related to the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1981, as well as activities that took place at this particular checkpoint (C), in the Berlin Wall.

The size of this place is not evident from the outside.  It really is huge and covers 3 floors.  What I found the most interesting was the methods and stories of those who attempted and in many cases, succeeded in crossing (illegally) from the east to the west.  So many methods were used, from boats, to tunnels, to hot air balloons to hiding places in vehicles and equipment.  We spent an entire afternoon here and still ended up doing some fast skimming at the end.

We had made plans to meet the family for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Ku’damm, so we took the U-Bahn from Checkpoint Charlie to the Ku’damm area.

Nancy getting our tickets at the U-Bahn station
Nancy getting our tickets at the U-Bahn station

The Kurfürstendamm, known locally as the Ku’damm, is one of the most famous avenues in Berlin.   We popped up right into the heart of it from our U-Bahn stop.  Immediately, I noticed a place I wanted to check out before dinner – the Apple Store 🙂

Apple Store – Berlin (Ku’damm)
I spent about 10 minutes in the store.  it is VERY large.  If you need anything Apple while in Berlin – this is the place to get it.

Danielle texted me that she had arrived in the area with the kids and was looking for a parking spot.  Nancy had already headed across the street to the Hard Rock Cafe, so I made my way over.  Perfect timing.  We were complete except for Sean who was on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn on his way from the Embassy.  Turns out, the Hard Rock has just seated two rather large groups and were estimating an hour wait time for our party of 10.  As it was a school night, we decided to switch restaurants and ended up around the corner at Vapiano.

Dinner at Vapiano
This was an interesting restaurant concept.  When you arrive, they hand your group a credit card.  You walk up to one of many ordering lines and order your meal.  You get to choose your pasta type, sauce type and other ingredients.  Same for the pizza.  It’s all made in front of you.  Then you place your card on a glass area in the counter and the charges are loaded onto it by the cook.  Then you carry your food to your table.  After dinner, you gather up all the credit cards and pay the host station near the front door on your way out.  Works pretty good.  Food was not amazing but was decent.

Squishy (Ashlyn) with Tommy the photo-bomber.  Great kids!
Squishy (Ashlyn) with Tommy the photo-bomber. Great kids!


After dinner, we split up with Sean taking the girls home on the S-Bahn and Danielle taking Nancy and I and the boys home in the van.  Once home, it was time to pack up for us.  We hit the rack around 10:30 pm as we plan to get up at 6:00 am tomorrow to say goodbye to Sean and the kids and head to the airport via Danielle.

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