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Berlin Long Weekend Day 2

  
It was an early start today as we had a Segway Tour booked for 10.00 starting at Alexander Platz in the old East Berlin. The alarm went at seven a quick bath and down for Breakfast at 8. Breakfast was the standard buffet style help yourself affair prevalent on the continent. Cold meats cheeses, serials, pastries, fruit and so on but definitely up there with the best of these that we have sampled and  the surroundings didn’t disappoint either. A good start to the day then.

  

Away just after 9 and we caught the train just up the road straight to Alexander Platz and I’m pleased to report I wasn’t abandoned on a forlorn platform this time. We reported for Segway duty just before 10.00, signed our lives away and received some training on driving them.

  
After 5 minutes both of us were at one with the Segways. Now I will have to prattle on now for a bit because quite simply we both thought these were just brilliant. Years ago there was a car advert with the slogan “Man and machine in perfect harmony” but for my money this machine really captured that feeling. It felt like an extension of you responding empathically to your every movement or indeed thought almost. It felt like skiing as the Segway responded to your every movement, shift of weight or bending of the knee. It was a beautifully nuanced experience of oneness that you felt with the Segway.

Put simply then, they are ace – try one.

  
First stop was the Altes Museum on Museum island. Built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel between 1723 and 1830. Schinkel was Berlin’s most prolific builder of neoclassical architecture. What interested me was that a lot of new buildings are being built from concrete and then faced in this classical style. Works for me.

  

A quick stop at the – as you would expect – huge German legal library allowed me to grab a great shot of Peanut demonstrating her delightful footwork.

   
 
Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall came next. Here the history far outshines the visual impact of the places. A flying visit sufficed for us.

  
Hitler’s bunker was next and yes it is now a car park. As an aside an old Japanese couple were being driven in this bicycle thing by a German tour guide. As he pulled away the old Japanese man told the driver that he rather admired Hitler. Boy did that push the driver’s buttons as he remonstrated loudly with the Japanese tourist. I kid you not and we wondered if the driver threw them off his bike round the corner!

   
 
The Holocaust memorial is a poignant place when adults don’t allow their children to run amock in there playing hide and seek and screaming blue murder when they find their friends. Who knows perhaps they behave like that precisely because there was a man once who would have done something about such behaviour.

Brandenburg Gate was next and then we headed back to Alexander Platz. Three and a half hours from start to finish and fun all the way. We thanked Tobi our guide and instructor and made a mental note to do a Segway tour whenever we get the chance.

Lunch next in Alexander Platz where I had a Currywurst with chips. Well I had too really. More than anything though I needed a sit down. The fun of the Segway kept me going but it tired me.

  
From here we went into a large Gallery shop in Alexander Platz, where my research said I would find that which I did seek.

  
I did and I was able to spoil the lady who spends her whole life spoiling me! I felt rather pleased with myself!

We then walked in the general direction of our hotel along Unter den Linden where we stopped for a cup of tea. We then got a bus back to Kurfürsten straddle and our hotel.  A small rest then Mrs P changed for dinner.

  
And we headed out for a meander. After walking for 34.9 miles we ended up in a rather nice Italian about 400 yards from our hotel where I enjoyed a glass of wine with a lovely spaghetti carbonara and P enjoyed a huge pizza. We got chatting to a lovely Irish couple on the next table and a very pleasant evening ensued. We are at an age now when it is very enjoyable to chat with people who haven’t already heard my stories seventeen times before. We did inspire them to do the Segway tour though!

Then on the way out we ended up talking to a Norwegian couple who did the tour with us that morning. Small world.

Small world, big world, who cares what matters is my world has a Peanut in it and to spend a day like today with her makes it a rather special world! 

Helmut Newton tomorrow. Might give me a chance to talk pretentious nonsense! Who knows but you know I’ll try!

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Berlin Long Weekend Day 1


Wednesday was an emotional day for Mrs P as it was her last day working for the NHS doing the job she has done since training as a sixteen year old school leaver. Her friends at work gave her a heartfelt fine and dandy send off, spoiling her with gifts and a collection for some garden furniture which Lady P likes. I know she will be missed and she will miss the camaraderie she enjoyed with her work mates but it is time for her to explore a different chapter in her life. Somewhat emotional she hung her lab coat up for the final time and headed off to start her next chapter.

Well it begins in Berlin and that very night we set off for our long weekend there. We drove from home at 18.30 on Wednesday night heading for my cousin’s house in London. We stayed the night  and caught the 08.40 Berlin flight from Gatwick the next morning.

The taxi to the airport collected us at 06.30 and we enjoyed an entertaining chat with the driver – proud Father of seven children! I hate the airport experience but to be fair Gatwick seems to run smoothly and the passbook app on the phone certainly facilitates smooth checking in. A quick piece of toast and jam with tea and we were on the plane. We were out of Berlin airport in no time and walked to the train. The fresh air had my eyes streaming and to be honest at the train station we were clueless. I couldn’t even see the train maps never mind read them. After much bumbling and blustering we bought tickets and chose a platform on the basis of a totally uneducated guess.

A train was stationary with its doors open. Peanut stepped on but blocked the doorway as she asked a passenger where the train went. I was stuck on the platform. Suddenly the doors closed and Peanut stepped further in with shock. I couldn’t open the door and Peanut left on the train without me.

I was abandoned, homeless contemplating living out my days sleeping rough on an East German train station bench. I rallied grew some balls and thought… I still had 26% power on my phone I could phone The Peanut. Oh wait she keeps meaning to get her phone set up to work abroad… I felt my trousers go baggy again as my balls shrunk and I looked sadly at my new home the bench.

I thought again, my balls grew. I had the train tickets I could follow her… Oh no that means P is on a German train with no ticket. They will lock her up… My ping pong balls shrunk again.

Another train pulled in what do I do? Shall I get on it? Shall I stay put. Shall I just get a taxi straight to the hotel?

A beautiful vision appeared before me and suddenly I knew my homeless days were over.    Waving and smiling Mrs P had gotten off the train and my terrible ordeal was over.


After that our trip went smoothly and we got to our hotel a little after 14.00. The hotel sat between the Apple shop and the Hugo Boss shop on Berlin’s finest shopping street and looked stunning as we entered reception. It is all very stylised and our room is lovely. We had a cold drink and coffee in our room, caught our breath and then went for an explore of the local area.



Two shops up was the Tesla shop with a rather nice bit of kit on display. We then had a long and tiring mooch and walk before landing at an Italian restaurant where we had an early evening meal. Nice enough but nothing to wax lyrical about.


We dragged our weary feet back to the hotel, shared a lovely hot bath and settled to watch a Donna Leon serial about her Venetian detective Brunetti in German. Surreal.

Fun we are having!