Friday 6/26- Berlin to Prague

Berlin Tempelhof was a pleasure to fly in to.  They picked us up with a van at the plane, and took care of all of our luggage.  Leaving was a little different.  I guess since it was my birthday, they wanted me to have some fun.  We got to the airport, cleared security (first time my bags had to go through an xray belt to put them on my own plane), and waited.  A guy came and took me to AIS (Airport Information Service) to file my flight plan and check weather.  I asked him to pick up Sharon and the Schramms and take them to the plane to pack up.  He did that, but never came back for me.  I was sent to pay for my landing fee, which was quite a walk.  I went there and asked them for fuel.  I figured this would be no problem since I had called the day before and they said they took credit cards for fuel.  Now they say they only take cash, and only DM, not US dollars.

I had to walk to the terminal (again a hike) to change money.  I did and walked back to where I would pay the landing fee.  There is also a noise fee.  They looked up my plane and said that if I had the Flight Manual, it would save me about $100.  I did.  It's in the plane.  Unfortunately there was no one available to take me to the plane.   The round trip hike would be another 1/2 mile.  I told them to forget it.  I'll pay what a DC-3 pays (the noisiest).  I went to the plane where the fuel truck was waiting.  Costs- Landing, parking, noise, etc. - $265.  Fuel cost- $5.31 per US Gallon.  Happy Birthday.

We took off from Tempelhof for the short flight to Prague.   The departure and approach had both SID (Standard Instrument Departure) and STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival).  I little complicated but we put them in the GPS before starting up.  A little different over here.  You have to have permission to start the engines.  We made a rather simple ILS approach to Ruzyne (Rooznay) airport in Prague (Praha).  It was a little hazy but the visibility was about 3 miles with no significant ceiling (top pix).

After landing, we had the best service possible.  We were met at the exit of the runway by a "Follow Me" van.  He took us by some taxiways directly into our own private taxiway for parking.  These are in the shape of spokes of a wheel so you just stop the plane, and that's it (2nd pix).  The van took us to the "Old Terminal", actually the terminal for private planes.   We quickly showed our passports (one of the few places we even had to do that) and our handling agent called a van for us to take us to the Hotel Palace Praha.  This is a beautiful hotel with about 125 rooms and all the services.  What a difference from Berlin, where the prices were extremely high.  Our room includes a free mini-bar and breakfast. 

We grabbed a quick salad and went for a short walk prior to getting ready for dinner (3rd pix).  The prices are unusual.  We all had salads, sodas and rolls for lunch which totaled about $7.  The van from the airport was about $9, and it was not a short ride.  Many things are inexpensive, but looking in the windows during our stroll, we saw American Blue Jeans priced at about $250 a pair.

For dinner, Bill & Judy Schramm took us out for my birthday (I forget which one)(bottom pix).  It was a wonderful dinner and much appreciated.  It is also the first time Sharon & I have dressed up since the trip began.  Quite a feat since this is our 10th country.  It has really been wonderful.  It's not a whirlwind sightseeing trip.  We have had wonderful experiences and we are looking forward (with tips from Myles Martel) to more in Prague.

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