We're baaack, still adjusting to time difference.
Balance of our trip:
DO NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO READ THIS REPORT -- THERE WILL NOT BE A QUIZ
Munich -- main market at Marienplatz, Ed got raiber dachi (latkes) in honor of Hanukkah. (AKA kartoffelpuffer)
Hotel Brecherspitze, outside downtown by a direct tram from Hbf. Our third or fourth visit.
Salzburg -- our favorite Christmas maket. On the 26th since many/ most things were scheduled to be closed we did an all-day Bob's Tour which included Sound of Music stops plus a drive to Hallstatt and its incredibly beautiful views of lake and mountains. Would have been more fun if the other 6 passengers in the van had said a word on the drive. (But no, we did not sing 'Do, a deer")
Goldenes Theater Hotel, 10 minutes walk from Altstadt, great breakfast and mini-bar where we stashed soda from Spar market and sandwiches from said breakfasts.
Next to Vienna for New Year's Eve with waltzing on the street. Saw the closest we got to snow on the trip -- flakes that we walked through on the way to the U-bahn. My first visit to to the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
We split an enormous schnitzel at Schnitzelwurst and had tiny sandwiches at a random cafe (we were hungry and didn't want to brave the crowd at Trezwinski's)
We stayed at an apartment about four U-bahn stops from St Stephen's and direct line from Hbf, rented directly from the owner (multiple times.) We were there 8 nights so used the washing machine twice. (!)
Went to the Sylvester market at Rathaus on New Year's Day, watching symphony performance on the outdoor Jumbotron and had our final glühwein (bought piggy cup)
Budapest -- bought a 7-day transit pass (Ed, with an EU passport, traveled free as a senior.) Took trams to the end of the line to see less-touristed areas of Buda and Pest, plus scenic rides along the Danube on tram #2. Toured over-the-top heavily-gilded Parliament building. And, of course, a relaxing day at Szechenyi Baths where water was 38° while air temperature was 6°C.
Lots of goulash both in restaurants and heated from cans at the apartment.
Apartment at Liszt Studio, on Liszt Ferenc ter, near the Opera. And washing machine ! (3rd trip)
Berlin -- EasyJet flight uneventful, which is the best way for flights.
A return visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Brandenburg Gate. Toured on the 100 public bus. Visited the largest department store in Europe, Ka de We (and bought nothing.) Dined at a restaurant near the hotel that Ed says has the best calf's liver he has ever had (always excluding Mother's.)
Stayed at Hotel Pension Columbus just off the Ku'damm shopping street and transit from the Zoo train station. Our third stay with them, including one when they recommended a doctor when I had sudden hearing loss. Family-owned small pension with great breakfasts: fresh-made soft boiled eggs; meats and cheeses; home-made yogurt. On our last morning we had to leave for our flight before scheduled breakfast so owner Chris got up before six to make sure we had coffee and eggs and stuff to pack as sandwiches.
Flight home -- Swiss Air, with a connection in Zurich. Because of the distances between gates I had requested wheelchair assistance at Zurich and SFO. WHAT A PLEASURE! Only downside was that at Zurich the wheelchair-to-cart-to-van-to-wheelchair-to-gate service (excellent!) dropped me behind immigration control, on the other side from the lounges, so we missed our Priority Pass lounge visit. On a previous connection in Zurich we had spent a few hours grazing a substantial buffet, and we were looking forward to that again. But time was limited and we didn't want to get stuck in a passport-control line, so ... we ate the sandwiches from Berlin.
SFO -- another wheelchair ride to the Global Entry area for our enrollment-at-arrival interviews, then all the way to BART. Painless interviews; cards arrive within 2 weeks.