Once again it's time for us to venture away on a holiday, so as I write this we are in Berlin, Germany. It's a city that has seen more upheavals than most in Europe over the past 100 years or so. It's been eleven years since we were last here, so we are curious to see what has changed in this ever evolving place.
Well we start with a shock, when we head to the station at Schonefeld to catch the RB 14 regional train into town. It is running 10 minutes late! Now, in England this display of near punctuality would be treated as triumph with shares in Southern Trains rising to record highs but here in Germany, this comes as an outrageous shock. There is a discernible air of confusion on the platform, made worse when another train pulls in on the adjacent platform - but that one is not due to depart until a few minutes after our adjusted departure time, what to do?
Well, we stoically hold our ground, and our patience is rewarded when a platform master starts ushering us along the platform as our train glides into view. Forty minutes later and after a quick transfer to the U-Bahn we emerge from Rosa Luxemburg Platz to find Amano Home our short term base virtually in front of us. This is actually quite a relief as the place is so new that if you take a look at Google street view, it actually shows a plot of land that is covered with a few random trees and very little else. Every now and then Both before our departure and during the journey, the thought would cross my mind of holiday makers who were booked into yet to be completed hotels in Spain in the 70's and 80's.
Here it is though, with that just finished smell that you get from a new car, it's swish and stylish. White walls and fittings gleam at us, floor to ceiling windows give us great views up Schonhauser Alle and along Torstrasse. This will do nicely. The Sunday of our arrival coincided with the final of Euro 2016 and part of me had been thinking that it would have been great to watch a Wales v. Germany match in Berlin. Well that fell flat on both fronts, so rather than watching the game in a fan park or a busy bar,we settled on watching it in our room.
Before that though we had a quick noise around the local area and grabbed a Schwarma over the road, then a delicious iced coffe and cake combination a little way up Schonhauser Allee. It's a part of town that we are fairly familiar with, on our last visit we stayed in a great apartment at 29 Alte Schonhauser Strasse, no more than five minutes from our current location. At the time that road was a lovely mix of interesting shops and restaurants with the beautiful Hackersher Hoff just a brief walk away. We looked forward to requanting ourselves with the neighbourhood over the next week or so.
Well the football went on for a very long time, and by the time it was over we were just about ready to head to bed. A busy day awaits us tomorrow especially as we completely misread the EU referendum vote and the impact on the exchange rate between the pound and the euro! If you are ever looking for good financial advice - don't ask us!