TinaCortina's Blog

Musings of a Tgirl

Berlin Citybreak


What a lovely city Berlin is; we found a great hotel, possibly the best we have ever stayed in. The staff were wonderful and we just couldn’t avoid thinking that the Germans were just so damned efficient and welcoming. Impossible to dislike and not at all like any stereotype we might have had.

We had fun on the s and u-bahn and did a bus tour and a river trip to keep the walking to a reasonable minimum…..so that A-M’s ankle stood up and her Dad and I were able to cope with the heat. Can you believe we had 3 days in the 30’s (90’s fahrenheit) – it was supposed to have hit 37 degrees yesterday.

I especially enjoyed the majesty of the ancient buildings and the way that they have built new alongside old. The dome inside the Reichstag was absolutely wonderful, the views rivaling the London eye. The architecture of it was fantastic and allowed you to gently spiral to the top on the outside before repeating the journey down on the inside. At least the designer was a brit!!

The modern buildings in or around Potsdamer Platz were equally stunning and I enjoyed the couple of hours we spent in the Judaische Museum even if we did miss a whole floor of the exhibition!

On the food and wine side, we enjoyed our Bratwurst and bun for a Euro. Rheinhardts on the Kurfurstendamm was lovely food but the service was poor (our only experience of that I should add) but we quickly forgot that in eating twice in a family run restaurant in one of the smaller side streets. Prices generally were good, a lot cheaper than the rest of Germany I am told. Beer was generally 2-3 Euros for a small one and we once paid just under 7 Euros for a Litre Steiner.

Having a few hours on the final morning, the three of us popped into C & A, a large department store which closed in Britain maybe 20 years ago. What was the motto? ‘Gute preise, alles gut’ ~ well something like that…….and ignoring Tina altogether, I bought a 100% wool light suit for 59 Euros (£40). Wow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Highlights? Well two really.

Walking back alone on Sunday, through the Tiergarten.

A-M and her Dad had caught a Taxi back so I enjoyed the opportunity of a lazy 2 hour walk, back to the hotel. Off the main streets, taking in the views and something of the atmosphere and then the last mile or so through the Tiergarten. Although named ‘animal garden’ and indeed the Zoo is in one corner of it, it was a wonderful green park, lots of trees and shade ( I needed it), small streams and bridges, narrow tracks, small stretches of grass ……..all types of games people were playing, or wandering hand in hand, cycling, pushing prams, even jogging. Despite this it was very tranquil and beautiful.

Reminded me of a park we had once visited in

Beijing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Second was Saturday night;

As tour organiser, well at least for the night, I’d done a recce and found this restaurant; a few seats outside, nice menu, lovely inside, full of character, lots of rich strongly coloured wood and old pics on the walls, lace table cloths. After eating, the wind had got up for maybe 2 minutes and we had a sudden but quickly-over shower which had made us go inside.

A-M’s Dad was in the Marines during the war and is a master story-teller. First off he had spotted some British Navy Pusser’s Rum on the drinks menu. Apparently he had never seen this outside of Navy type establishments, so we had one at the bar with our coffee.

He then told us two of the most amazing stories from his war past when he was driving for an Admiral. I think the first was in Nepal, the second definitely in Australia.

1) Her Dad and his mate were sent in a jeep to requisition some drinks from a nearby ship for an end of stint party. They stacked the crates into the jeep, stopped off for a drink, as you do………but on return all the booze had gone, disappeared..they were totally up the creek without a paddle.

What did they do? They went off to see the Chief Wren as apparently loads of the wrens had been invited to the party. Bold as brass and still having the chit saying what was required, they said the Admiral had wondered whether the Wrens would have anything on the list. Well of course they did and two 20yr old Marines lived to tell the tale.

2) The 2nd concerned a Roll Royce. Some old dear had bequeathed these and one had been shipped out to Oz and A-M’s Dad got to drive it occasionally. Now the same two chaps drove into a barracks and again while in a bar, it was stolen and driven past a sentry who of course had not been at his post. First they found the sentry and got him to promise that ‘they hadn’t been there’ and that they would report it stolen elsewhere which they did.

However on leaving the police station they spotted the lights of a british car (apparently other cars had only one light showing, the RR two), and realised it was their car being driven by a guy in uniform and a ‘girlfriend’ . Anyway they jumped either side onto the running boards, the one guy tussled with the guy at the wheel, A-M’s Dad with the girl. Apparently he grabbed her hair, she screamed and eventually the guy stopped.

A brawl ensued and to a crowd that assembled it looked like 2 onto 1, though the guy driving was twice the size of the other two. Anyway, to cut a great story short, the police arrived and broke it up, A-M’s Dad told his story which of course did not tie up when the guy said where he’d been that day, but all was well when they found out the guy in uniform was AWOL (absent without leave) and had been away from his unit for 6 months.

Our boys got their car back and like a cat with 9 lives, lived again. Well into our 2nd Pussers rum, we heard that A-M’s Dad would definitely have lost his stripes and spent time in solitary for either or both the above and they’d both thought they would have to sign up for a full 12 year stint to avoid anything more serious!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then, only about 10 years ago, they had met up with the Admiral and retold the 1st story which he thought was great ~ in retrospect!! ~ but they remained tight-lipped about the Rolls Royce.

Oh well; Both stories were much better in the telling……but it was a great evening…..and I am so pleased to have written them down now, which will help me remember them. We had a lovely time in Berlin the 3 of us, a really special time and some great memories!

Finally the pic above, was a memorial to those that had died trying to cross from East to West. Very moving.

If you’ve read this far……thank you……

July 17, 2007 Posted by | other/ family | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments