Above: A photo of tourists cavorting at what used to be the portal to East Berlin.
Cruise 2015 report continued (see prior posts for more info): The first stop our Celebrity line cruise ship made outside of Amsterdam was the port at Warnemünde, Germany. Our stay there followed a full day at sea — and, to be frank, follows the plan that was included in our other two cruises, namely to add in a stop that nobody seems to want. (It's not as if Warnemünde rings with the same kind of city-envy as, say, Stockholm or St. Petersburg.)
So rather than take in what sites this seaside resort village has to offer, or sign up for one of Celebrity's own sponsored bus-to-Berlin tours at 175 euro (about $190) per person, we opted to rent a car and drive ourselves. We had only about 14 hours before we had to back on board, and the trip itself was going to take up almost five hours in itself, but we had an incentive: My brother-in-law's nephew lives there with his wife and two children.
So we drove. Or rather my brother-in-law Steve drove, which allowed him to indulge his race-car inclination on those stretches of the Autobahn where no speed limits were observed. Even so, we were passed by any number of cars. Even, once, by a minivan.
Our short afternoon stay in Berlin included a fine home-made lunch, prepared by the nephew — Patrick, aided by his German-born wife Katrin — but also a walk through the neighborhood that included a stop at the former Checkpoint Charlie. Funny that such a spot of once-deadly importance has now become a kind of joke landmark, populated by any number of foreigners using their selfie-sticks to photograph themselves with the actors wearing U.S. Army uniforms.
Anyway, in early evening, Steve guided us back to Warnemünde, we dropped off the car, reboarded the ship just before a rainstorm filled the sky with a driving rain and the occasional burst of thunder and lightning. This was to prove a precursor for our next stop.
Next up: A piece of preciousness called Tallinn.