A Blue Title Is Impossible...

Trip Start May 25, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's been another oppressive night in our room and l question the staff with a view to shifting rooms. Turns out there is no air conditioning anywhere in the hotel. In fact, few Berlin buildings have aircon, although I bet Barak Obama wasn't sweating over in the Ritz-Carlton...
These hot days number less than about two weeks over the course of a year in Berlin, so aircon is superfluous - and expensive.

Trains and buses are not cooled either - the underground stations are naturally cool, but the buses and trains are like saunas on days like today... a 34C predicted top again.

Nevertheless, l leave the others and buy a hop-on-hop-off ticket to tour the city and it's highlights. By midday, l am onto my third 500ml bottle of iced tea and quietly dying...

One loop takes me through the north and eastern sides of the city. It covers much of the former East Germany and is largely industrial or bland. We break at the East Side Gallery - at 1.3km, it is the longest remaining stretch of wall and is now covered with large artworks. When I re-board the bus, l am the only passenger, so have a personal commentary from the guide who was born and grew up in East Berlin until it's reunification. Life was tough - his family had one banana a month and one apple and onion a week.

The two loops intersect at Alexanderplatz and l then continue as far as the Brandenberg Gate. Here, bleachers, security fencing and scaffolding remain - yes, Barak Obama's been here too. It all obscures the ideal views of the iconic structure.

I grab some lunch and the next iced tea at the nearby Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is a 4.7-acre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on an undulating field. The uniformly grey slabs vary greatly in height, although this is not noticeable until you walk through the rows that rise and dip. Although it is not meant to, the whole effect is of a cemetery.

The rest of the second loop continues around the embassy district, through the main gardens and back to Checkpoint Charlie. The intention had been to visit the museum there but I am wrecked... It's back to my little hot box for 90 minutes of snoozing before dinner.

Tonight, we are guests at Christian and Jules' home in the south-western suburbs of Berlin. We tuck into a delicious Vietnamese feast before a lightening storm of tropical proportions fills the sky and the temperature drops dramatically. It's just like summer at home and we are glad for the change.

Cooler weather in Frankfurt will be welcome!...
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Gayle on

Great shot of the Jewish Memorial. See you in Melbourne.

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