I have just returned home from my second annual European adventure with Appina Travel. Having worked now with Appina for almost 2 years, it was time to got re-acquainted with the team and visit more hotels as well as check out some of the sights and activities our clients experience.
Berlin - Live like a Local
First stop was the cultural mecca that is Berlin! I checked into the lovely Hotel Berlin, Berlin which was a great hotel, with the lovely added touch of letters written by locals framed in each room with advice on what to do in Berlin to “Live like a Local”. The headboards are made from doors from various buildings in Berlin and a lot of character! We kicked off the week with a tour of the city and visits to see the some hotels. My guide was Uli, one of the Managing Directors of Appina travel who used to live in Berlin. The Park Inn Hotel at Alexanderplatz stood out to me as the view was just amazing despite the overcast day.
Berlin is an amazing contrast of beautiful modern architecture, classic European architecture and dilapidated apartment blocks with graffiti everywhere. It's one of the most interesting places I have been to. From Museum Island, a Unesco World Heritage site with 5 museums in the Spree River to the gritty, trendy area of Tempelhof-Schoeneberg, Berlin is constantly interesting and impressive.
Next stop was the Berlin Wall Memorial at the Border control at Bernauer Straße, this large open air exhibition is free and full of interesting videos and stories of people desperately trying to be reunited with their families and gain freedom.
Berlin - Exploring the City with Friends
Next was the annual Appina Travel Holiday weekend when the team comes together to celebrate a successful year! First we headed out on a cool sunny day to tour around Berlin and spend the day learning and experiencing this magical city. We started off with a tour of the posh neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg and a visit to the exhibition: Everyday life in the GDR. This permanent exhibition shows what life was like in East Germany before the fall of the wall. This was very detailed and informative, it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. We finished off the morning with a delicious typical Berliner lunch, Currywurst!
Next stop was a wander through the city towards the Reichstag, the German parliament, to enjoy the 360 view of Berlin. We managed to get at least one good shot of the Appina team here! The view is fabulous and the guided tour explains everything you are seeing as you walk through.
That night we went out for a team dinner to a typical German restaurant with live music and delicious (German) food of course!
Historic Berlin & Glamorous Potsdam
The next day we went as a team to learn about the bunkers used during the WW2 bombings in Berlin. It was amazing to see how much effort went into making a safe space for people during this time. We then headed to Potsdam for some sightseeing! We started it off with the famous Sans Soucci castle as well as the dutch quarter. Its was a gorgeous sunny day and Potsdam looked like a storybook. We enjoyed soup and fresh bread for lunch at a local bakery.
Prague - The Golden City
Last stop on my whirlwind tour was Prague, after a snowy drive through some beautiful countryside we arrived on a chilly evening. We saw a few hotels, with my favourite being Hotel Ambiance, I found the rooms to be spacious and the hotel had a classic European style with original tiles and a beautiful staircase. The rooms were spacious and clean with high ceilings and the breakfast room had a lot of character with arched ceilings. We then went out for a traditional Czech dinner and wandered around this beautiful gothic city.
The following morning we took tram 22 to see all the sights of Prague, we managed to walk through the old city center, the Jewish Quarter, across Charles Bridge and make our way up to the castle all before noon! It was a sunny cold morning and Prague was just stunning.
All in all, my European adventure was nothing short of magical, full of amazing food, history, beauty, education and excellent company and I can't wait to get back.