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cool2.gif posted on 20-5-2024 at 15:17
Holiday in Berlin


Well everybody, it's been a long time coming (except for my Italy trip report which never came) but here is finally, my Berlin trip report!

Beau and I had agreed to meet in Hengelo and travel from there by train to Berlin, on March 30, 2024. At quarter to 7 I stood up, made breakfast, and at 7:40 left the houde to travel by train. The train was partially diverted due to works, but towards 's-Hertogenbosch things were unadventurous - until I realize I need to scan stuff. Lots of it.

Unfortunately you can pretty much only have a train subscription if you have an OV card, a bit of plastic with chip that you need to scan to open a gate at the station, so you can access the trains. Due to my work I have a subscription from Eindhoven to 's-Hertogenbosch. When I bought the train ticckets, I had the brilliant idea to only buy the international train ticket at full price and use my discount for the Eindhoven-Hengelo section. But that idea came too late for the way back, which I had already purchased, from Berlin to 's-Hertogenbosch.

Long story short (too late!) I needed to run out of the train a couple of time of times to check out or check in, making the train trip a lot more dfficult than necessary.

During the slow part through the east Dutch landscape, I sat across a man who had his knees at 10 and 2, and who kept bouncing his knee, stepping on my toes to the point of hurt twice.I tried to finish the sock I was knitting, but failed hopelessly twice. Said sock is still in "to be completed" mode. Maybe today.

BF and I had scheduled the international train that would leave from Hengelo at 11:52, but I was so early I had more than an hour to spare. Walked through their shopping centre. It was market day and as it was the day before Easter, an Easter bunny rode around in an electric basket, handing out eggs to frightened children.
BF arrived later at 11:15, we ate an early lunch together. He was in dire need of a belt, so we went quickly to the market to buy one.

At the station we were approached by the train's conductor. She explained to us how to tell the seats are reserved.
When the train arrived at the station, we found it was a bit outdated - the door couldn't be opened from the inside. BF mustered all his force at it and managed to jag it open.
The train was so crowded there was no place for us to sit next to each other, the first stop BF sat next to a bloke with electrocution hair and I set next to someone who was dancing to her headphones. After 2 stops, 2 seats next to each other freed up. I let BF have the window seat so I could finish knitting.

Germany's beautiful from the train, especially when you finally get to the hills. We noticed a couple of pretty mountain chapels.
The train's overhead luggage carriers provided some excitement too. There were large gaps between its support rails, and when one clumsy fellow tried to get his water bottle from the bag, he dropped it and it fell through the carrier right onto a woman's head. Whoops.

Train travelling is very different in Germany - aside from being much cheaper, the trains have an entertainment system giving you access to games, films, series, podcasts, magazines - you name it - but only when you're logged on with the train's WIFI. The trains even have a little kiosk where you can buy food and drinks.

At around 4 o'clock we arrive in Berlin. We went to the magazine shop as one of the things that's always on my list when I go abroad, is puzzle books. Germany has a much larger selection than we have.
Public transfer in Berlin is brilliant. An Einzelfahrkarte at €3,50 allows you to take tram, bus, underground and streetcar for 1 hour. All systems are well-connected and run frequently and smoothly. We take U5 to the Frankfurter Allee, from there 2 stops by Tram M13 to get out at Loepenplatz, from there it's a brief walk to the hotel. Check-in went smoothly, we got a room at the corner on the 1st floor of the Good Morning+ Berlin hotel. TV, hair dryer, rain shower, double bed. We grabbed a shower and went to the Greek restaurant across the road, where we both had gyros. Afterwards we walked around the neighborhood in what is very clearly East Berlin - concrete and grey drab, but near numerous markets, supermarkets and restaurants.
Went to bed early at quarter past 10.

Easter Sunday - got up at quarter to 9, had breakfast. The staff had dyed the eggs. There were a lot of people - it was hard to find a spot. Had a healthy breakfast.

On our first day we took the public transport to the Museuminsel - world heritage for good reason. So many beautiful buildings!

The Berliner Dom wih, on the left hand side, the Alte Nationalgalerie in the distance.

One of the things on my list was seeing my grandfather's "girlfriend". He was a massive fan of the bust of Nefertete and had a small, stone version of her. This bust is, among with many other Egyptian sculptures, friezes, sarcophagi and papyri, part of the Egyptian museum, whih is housed in Neues Museum. Nefertete has a special little room dedicated to her and her beauty. It wasn't allowed to take pictures of her, but you can visit her website here and let me tell you that she really is much more beautiful than you could ever make out from an online photo.

I did photograph plenty of the museum's Egyptian treasures. Aside from ancient Egypt, Neues Museum also currently houses a lot of archaeological finds. One particular one is the one below:

Berliner Goldhut - a hat that's pretty much solid gold, that would have been used for divination and predicting solar/lunar activity.
Besides this exhibit, a Neanderthal skull, a large elk that was found whole in Berlin when the Hansaplatz-station was built, and a beautiful collection of medieval jewellery.

The buildings on the Museeninsel were all built around the 1850s to make the most of displaying the art. In the Neues Museum, a lot of the halls on the higher floors have beautiful murals.

After leaving the museum we had a bit of time to kill, which we did at one of those 24/7 supermarkets that like never close - we wanted to order latte macchiato and chocolate milk, but the seller was out of milk, so we brought two cheap drinking cartons with something sugary, that we proceeded to consume in a nearby park with screaming drunkard.

As it was Easter Sunday, we had anticipated that getting a bite to eat would be difficult. But as we went to the Frankfurter Allee, halfway to the hotel, we found a lot of little restaurants were open. The Curry Piraten selling Kanonenfutter were tempting but in the end we went for döner. Which was to BF's liking - I had the falafel version and found it uneatable. Afterwards I went to he toilet to clean up, but the rest area looked so positively evil - like a corpse discovery scene in a German krimi, I didn't want to go there.
Which meant I had to go back to the hotel instead of straight to the concert hall.

After cleaning up I went to the concert hall, rather late - spent a long time queueing trying to buy a CD that wasn't there anymore, but the concert was great - soundwise. I didn't see much of the lads. Full Dir en grey-story is here:
http://packardgoose.ploeg.ws/interactive/forums/Files/viewthread.ph...

On the way back in the tram, two stops before I should get out, a man with a bicycle hops on the tram, rubbing the front wheel painfully against my leg. He was jumping around and writing something on the tram door. He hopped off literally one stop further - and I saw he carried a knife.
Marking the last time I go out in Berlin on my own.

Cooled down at the hotel, had a drink, went to bed, had another bad night. The beds are hard and we're right above the kitchen and woke up at 5AM from the cooking noise.

Breakfast at a little after 8, much the same - healthy bread, cheese, cucumber tomato breakfast. Yum. After breakfast we went to the Museuminse. I knew there was somewhere where they have a lot of paintings by masters, a Bosch (yes I already saw it in 2016, and yes I wanted to see John of Padmos again) and Rembrands and Caravaggios and stuff - but where? We began at the Alte Nationalgalerie.


Like the other buildings at the Museeninsel it is breathtakingly gorgeous. The collection was a bit too heavily focused on one Menzel, but the highlights were the Böcklin collection (nefariously the Toteninsel, and a beautiful hall with French impressionists and two Van Goghs and two Rodin sculptures. And something with an elephant.

The Alte Nationalgallery left me hungry to learn more about Böcklin, Max Liebermann and several other artists left another great impression. Only drawback was that the lighting in the building is suboptimal leaving some paintings very difficult to see.



At any rate, the complete collection of all museums there can be found at:
https://recherche.smb.museum/?language=de&limit=15&sort=rele...


Unfortunately the top floor was closed, but the building was gorgeous.

Because the top floor was closed, we had time for another museum - the Bodenmuseum. The description was "sculptures and paintings from 13th to 18th century" and I had hoped that this was where the Rembrandts would be - but it was predominantly Christian sculpture.

But perhaps the most beautiful building of the three.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the Dutch halls, with beautiful sculptures by Adriaen de Vriesch.


And as I mentioned, the building is amazing. I could happily sit here and watch phone books.


One highlight was when a very heavy door with tons of security bolted right behind us - a mother and toddlers had managed to activate the fire alarm.

Other highlights were, for me, ancient Egyptian textile - fabric that is over 1500-2000 years old!


Sculpture "The Dragonhunt", anonymous.



After having had our tea at the museum shop, we went outside and looked at the market. Visited the station area Hackesher Markt with many food halls - had an overly expensive and bad icecream, then went to burger restaurant Peter Pane, where I settled on a salad and BF had a burger. Was an awkward experience at the rest room, where the Peter Pan audio book is being read.
Food was good, staff friendly. Bought a lot of puzzle books at Alexaderplatz after taking the S-Bahn there, then went to the hotel to shower and do my log.

Third day - another early awakening from the cooks. Another later breakfast. It was the day my aunt, who died shortly before the trip, was to be cremated, which cast a massive shadow over the vacation.



Started off by visiting Brandenburger Tor, walked past Unter den Linden to find Checkpoint Charlie.


We passed the Holocaust monument. Signs there strictly forbid hopping from stele to stele.

Walked on, past the Mall of Berlin, where we visited looking for glue. My shoes were about to give in. Visited 2 hobby stores where I bought a fun patch for my t-shirt and a leather cord, and checked out their masssive XXL slide. It's 2 floors high!
Afterwards we attempted to buy new shoes, no luck. Then we arrived at the Big Intersection, where there's the Trabimuseum, Trabimonument and the Trabi World. Here you can rent a Trabant and go on Trabi Safari, an audio guide tour of the city in a real Trabant.

The other side of the square looks less cosy:

While behind me is the Trabi World Currywurst, here you are looking at the largest remaining section of Berlin wall in the inner city. On top of that, in the 1933-1945 period, this place hosted 5 important nazi head quarters - among them that of the SS and that of the Gestapo. Here is now a permanent and free exhibition, in German and English, called Topographie des Terrors.

As a historian I was pleased with this very brief summary of the second world war. It focused on Hitler's rise to power, the terror as put on German citizens at the start of the war, persecution of not just Jews, but also the Roma, Sinti, homosexuals and the handicapped, and the Arbeitsscheuen (the "lazy"). The exhibition left the concentration camps for the other Gedenkmal we'd visited earlier, but had lengthy sections on reprisal killings and exportation of Jews. I made a lot of photos of interesting documents I wanted to have a better look at later - a particular one that tugged the heartstrings was in the section on Tiergarten 4, the action which sought to kill the mentally and physically handicapped. A letter to the parents of a disabled boy was on display: "Your son died suddenly of a septic tonsil infection (...) his severe mental disability was torment for the deceased and yourself, as such you should consider his death a relief. Due to contamination danger, the police authorities ordered the immediate destruction of the body. Please tell us to which cemetery we can send the urn with reains. Visits to this terrain are forbidden, so please ask our questions to us in writing. If we haven't heard from you in 14 days, we will dispose of the urn free of costs. The clothes of the deceased were so harshly damaged by the desinfection that they have no more value and cannot be worn anywore. They were handed to the NSV for destruction.(...)

Possibly the best way to describe how Topographie des Terrors made me feel, is by quoting the aforementioned Jewish painter Max Liebermann, who saw the rise of Hitler but fortunately passed on of natural causes before the Holocaust took grip:</br>
Ich kann gar nicht soviel fressen, wie ich kotzen möchte." ("I could not possibly eat as much as I would like to throw up.").

Afterwards we found Checkpoint Charlie in the middle of a busy road. We found a strange sculpture:



On closer these turned out to be 2 sculptures, one is the monument to the Bethlehemkirche (red church outline) and the other is Houseball by CLaes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

We had something disgusting at a nearby KFC, then took the U2 to Alexanderplatz. It turned out to have a Saturn Store - a chain which is just something for my BF, so I took him there to browse. After that we went to the hotel, took a shower (which due to the sensor lights was only practical at daylight, otherwise you'd have to open the door all the time).

The Greek restaurant remembered us and my tip, they were very friendly and gave BF 8 glasses of ouzo. Discussed the visit to the Topographie des Terrors, which left a strong impression.

Bad night for both of us, but early morning breakfast meant there were croissants.

Got to scrape a ride with the ICE train off my bucket list - a smooth 250 km/h ride to Hannover, where we arrived an hour later. A waiter came by with coffee ad cappucchino, and even the bathrooms were clean. Switched train in Hannover. Unfortunately I arrived in Deventer too late for the third stop-over and I had to wait half an hour. In 's-Hertogenbosch I had to leave the train to check in at the gates, but I forgot, so I travelled without valid ticket the last half hour. Whoops.






Check out my site at:http://bonny.ploeg.ws
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[*] posted on 20-5-2024 at 20:26


Very nice travellog! I guess, the Pergamon altar is still not accesible (due to work in progress)?
Btw, can you give me some advice how to find an affordable place to stay in Berlin and Cologne (where you also have been already)? I am planning trips to Cologne in summer and maybe to Berlin in autumn. Are you applying some special tactics or do you just use some booking platform?
:cool:
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[*] posted on 20-5-2024 at 21:50


Correct Ursinator! The Pergamon museum is still closed.

In both cases I can indicate that they're there. Both cities have very budget-friendly options - for things to do, places to stay and things to eat. I was basically checking for the cheapest hostel I could find that was relatively near to the concert hall in Cologne. For Berlin I also let myself get guided by the location of the concert hall. For Berlin, main focus is getting around - get something that is either in traffic zone A or B so you can get anywhere nice on a 3,50 traffic card, public transport there is amazing. For Cologne, it's convenient if you're somewhere where you can get to the city centre easily.

(worth to remember - you get what you pay for, do you want to skimp on your night's sleep? I didn't get much sleep in either city.)




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[*] posted on 21-5-2024 at 21:34


Thnx very much, so i will give it a try soonly :cool:

As far as i remember, in my last holiday in Berlin (about 10 years ago) i started off with a visit of the street named after FZ (the first and only one in germany at that time, meanwhile there exists at least another one in Düsseldorf). It is sited in a truly ugly and windy part of town, a little bit remote from the center (in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, to be precise), and that way quite matched his cynical and pessimistic view on things. I took a view photos but cannot find them anymore, so here is some substitute from the internet:
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[*] posted on 23-5-2024 at 23:04


Great trip Bonny and your retelling is excellent.
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[*] posted on 30-5-2024 at 22:46


Great pics now here is some music for your Holiday in Berlin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7441gDRDPQo




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[*] posted on 1-6-2024 at 14:49


We’ll be in Germany for the third time in July, but still won’t be able to visit Berlin. It’s on the list for after we move to the UK.



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[*] posted on 1-6-2024 at 17:09


Poly that has to be a hell of a flight!
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[*] posted on 1-6-2024 at 21:31


Just don't refuel in Perth :shy:



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[*] posted on 2-6-2024 at 15:06


I’ve not mentioned we were going via Perth before have I?

What’s up with fuel in Perth?




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[*] posted on 2-6-2024 at 21:53


How would we know? Do we look like sandgropers?



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[*] posted on 2-6-2024 at 21:54


That looks fascinating. I would hope I could make it to Europe or Egpyt someday, but I'll never fly, so it's doubtful.



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[*] posted on 2-6-2024 at 22:00


Quote: Originally posted by polydigm  
I’ve not mentioned we were going via Perth before have I?

What’s up with fuel in Perth?


https://www.9news.com.au/national/perth-airport-major-refuelling-iss...

Flights have resumed out of Perth Airport and carriers are working to fly out hundreds of passengers who were stranded due to a refuelling issue yesterday.
A major refuelling issue at the WA site caused the cancellation of 68 international and domestic flights yesterday morning, shutting down all four terminals for the first time in history and grounding thousands of passengers.
The issue was resolved about 2pm yesterday but a backlog of flights left travellers stranded for more than 12 hours.




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[*] posted on 2-6-2024 at 22:04


Quote: Originally posted by Calvin  
How would we know? Do we look like sandgropers?


Yeah, you'd have to be a Mexican. Banana Bending, Crow Eating Sandgroper like me to know. :lol:




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[*] posted on 2-6-2024 at 23:57


Yay, glad you could supply the answer. :)




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