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.
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.
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!