Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The joys of Berlin in the rain

As I had meetings in Berlin on both Friday and Monday I decided to stay and make a weekend of it. I had a difficult time persuading Mrs B to join me.

Me - “I’m thinking of staying in Berlin for the weekend”

Mrs B - “Great”…seconds later… “Ok, I’ve booked my flight, where are we staying?”

Me - “Not sure yet, I’ll let you know.”

That bought me enough time to cancel the Berlin Flea pit that I had booked and find something a little more upmarket, ie suitable for Mrs B…. I still managed to find us a hotel furthest from anywhere we ended up visiting. Doh!

The trip out
Mrs B will vouch that I am one of life’s nightmares when it comes to losing things. I can be given something, put it in my pocket and then when looking for it a couple of minutes later, take half an hour to find it again. And that’s with a limited number of pockets. In most situations I’m fairly calm but give me a ticket or a passport and I become Mr Paranoid (That’s why I love the concept of ticket-less travel. Sadly reality is they still thrust a ticket in your hand at check in, giving the likes of me ample time to misplace the damn thing between the check-in desk and arrival at the plane door). I’m thinking of starting a campaign to have all tickets, passports and any documents required for travel to be put on elastic and threaded up the sleeves of all travellers, like those mittens that young children have with their Duffle coats. While I appreciate that this is probably a unique problem, that applies to me and a select bunch of "special people", I don’t see why I should stand out any more then I already do.

Sadly our plans of an exciting tour of Berlin became a bit of a wash out, as Germany’s (possibly Europe’s) entire rainfall chose the weekend to have its conference in Berlin. This left us taking a bus tour of the city, which was of limited success, as we peered through sheets of over diluted rain and misted up windows. It got so bad that at one point all we could see was drowning rain drops.

Berlin, the city where water comes to drown its sorrows.

That left us with museums. They always sound like a good idea but in reality ......

It all started very promisingly at the Check Point Charlie museum, close to the site of the famous East/West cross-over point. Lots of ingenious ways that people used, risking life and limb, to get from East Berlin to West Berlin. After 30 minutes all I wanted to do was use one of them, no matter how dangerous, to get me out of the damn museum. I don’t know about you but Mrs B and I can only take a limited amount of culture before melt down. Then our brains turn to mulch and start trying to ooze out of our ears. At this point only food and distance from anything slightly resembling culture can save us.

Mrs B doing a passable impression of a Border Guard,
while the woman next to her looks like she could do
with some elastic threaded up the arms of her coat....

The Jewish museum would not even let us in, because we did not have our passports on us. I’ve had easier times getting in and out of countries. We went back the following day with passports in hand. It turned out they only wanted to use them as security to stop us running off with the Ipod audio guides they handed out. True to form I lasted about half an hour before I had had enough, by which time I had lost Mrs B in the huge expanse of buildings designed by Daniel Liebeskind. Some of it is meant to represent the despair of the Holocaust,I'm not sure about that but since it was laid out like Ikea I could relate to the sense of despair of having to travel through the entire building in order to get out. Aaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhhh !!!!

It looks like it's starting
to brighten up.....Not!!!

Next time see what happens when Mrs B abandons me not in a museum but in an entire city, it's not pretty......

You just missed my Cossack dance routine; I was
so impressive, I managed to clear the streets.

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