Thursday, 23 August 2007

Das Schillinger!

22 August - Thunderstorms and indifferent and contradictory advice meant I made a last second decision to try for the walking tour - not being able to use public transport because of a psychological aversion and not wanting to ride the bike because i'd either have to lug it all over town or lock it up in the middle of a strange city meant walking out to the Museum Island to see if I could find the alternative start point. Turned out that the regular tour guide was missing it (perhaps because of the stern talking to he'd been given by Boris the previous day) and there were only two others who wanted to do the tour - however, Rene, the alternative guide, seemed to have nothing better to do with his afternoon and so he carried on with us - excellent way to get a quick overview of the city, he was really well informed about all the facts (and factoids) of the city, obviously focusing on the Nazis and the East/West divide but also throwing in enough of the middle ages and the architecture (modern and old) to break up the misery of the subject. The walk was about four hours and I, as per my usual lack of foresight, had brought along way too much gear in the CHrome bag - rain jacket and umbrella proved to be completel unnecessary by the time we started moving and the weight became rather excruciating. Still, punishing myself is something that comes naturally to me it seems. After it ended had a beer with one of the other guided then tramped back to Prenzlauer where I was confronted with Jodi and Erik's new kitchen purchases. No matter what happens in their exiciting new shared life togeher, with all the highs and lows that come with married life, they've got the cutlery thing, the saucepan thing, the pasta maker thing and the knife thing covered. Who'd have thought kitchenware could cause such happiness. After I escaped this, I made my way over to Danziger to check out Olly's place - like a lot of the places I've seen in East Berlin it was very cool, a creative use of space seems to be the theme to a lot of the apartments over here but the rent sure seems cheap compared to the rest of Europe (and certainly cheaper than home) - all the more reason for the foreign nationals flooding the city. A few herbal remedies and beer and food stuffs helped fuel the evening - as was expected from his near obsession with bicycles - the collection in his house was very impressive - all of them super light and super clean - and the single speed he built for his flatmate, the one of the best designed handlebar and brake systems i've ever seen. I think some emulation is in order and someone's going to need to have some surgery done on her when I get home.

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