Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Platz more like it!

I feel like I've been off for ages, which is of course A Good Thing.

So Berlin was fantastic. So vast and sprawling, really two cities that have now been joined together, but not in a Dallas-Fort Worth or Minneapolis-St Paul way. It's east meets west - still - but in a good way. Before I went people were telling me it was rough and threatening, with drug addicts on every corner. I didn't see any of that. Christiane F was nowhere to be seen. It was beautifully clean, everyone was super-polite, there was loads to see and do, it was really easy to get around, relatively cheap and above all it was alive with history.

The east was truly amazing. Massively wide boulevards full of huge Sixties blocks, now listed and restored and quite trendy. I actually felt like I was in the Sixties. The TV tower in one eye, the Alexanderplatz in the other. And the smart, chic parts like Hackisches-Markt were nowhere to be seen in the elegant west, which was more like Paris or Helsinki. East Berlin was like nothing I've seen before. Not even St Petersburg, Prague or Warsaw could boast so much Soviet-era architecture that was still standing.

We walked for miles, mainly in search of antique and collectable shops Mrs F-C had tracked down via the net, so perhaps we saw bits of the city we might not have seen. Those shops were amazing. Like this one. We came away very heavy and lighter of wallet. The same goes for the CD shops. I've not got all I'll ever need in German schlager hits of the Sevnties, Krautrock, Eighties German New Wave and pop hits of the Sixties. Let me bore you with them soon.

So apart from both catching the norovirus all over Easter, a good time was had by all.

Now, while I've been away:

1. The new Who. Not that fussed. It's all rather kiddy, isn't it.

2. Can you still get Bird's Trifle in a box? I need it. And Dream Topping.

3. Masterchef: Dhruv to win. Alex is just showing off. I was glad no one wanted his sweetbreads.

So what's new with you?


Mondo said...

The pic looks straight out of Thunderbirds. I haven't had such a buzz for Berlin since the early 80s - but didn't everyone then.

What's new here: my internutter-stalker's back in action, and I'm off to the Cotwolds for a week from Friday

I've discovered the delights of She and Him and The Aliens

Cocktails said...

I need to go to Berlin. Everyone says good things about it and as a fan of both beer and history, it feels like somewhere I just have to visit.

What's new with me? My quest to go cold-turkey on Masterchef has completely and utterly failed. Dhruv to win - exactly!

Suzy Norman said...

We went for our first wedding anniversary. All that history...

I've since been trying to evoke memories from my musician brother about what it was like to play gigs in Berlin before the wall came down but all he remembers is the really strong speed on offer.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I went with a bunch of chums for my birthday five years ago, and had a wild time (at the Wild at Heart, as it turned out. Do go there next time.). I absolutely loved the place - and you've made me want to go back. I can't wait to hear what music you bought!

What's new here, well...all a bit preoccupied with illness and injury. My squeeze may have to have his entire shoulder joint replaced. Oh, and I almost murdered an old man. It would have been a mercy killing though.

I'll be cheering for Dhruv tonight, too, by the way.

TimT said...

I love Berlin too. The first time I went was in 1984, on a day trip when it never stopped pouring with rain. I remember walking along the Wall, sopping wet, admiring the graffiti, and then climbing one of the platforms that the ‘Wessies’ had erected that enabled you to look over the Wall into the east. (You’ll find a scene inspired by the experience in my book.)

The second time was on an Interrailing trip a few years later, and we went over to the eastern side for a few hours. Splitting a day between the two halves of the city was truly weird.

I’ve been back a couple of times since, and always find something new to marvel at. It may just be my favourite European city (other than London, obviously).

Five-Centres said...

Glad you're all in once piece - except for your poor other half, ISBW. That is major. I hope he gets better soon.

All that music coming your way soon.