Gaining Weight at The Disaster Airport


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Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin
October 28th 2021
Published: October 29th 2021
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Berlin CathedralBerlin CathedralBerlin Cathedral

Shame about the scaffolding.
It was another one of my early starts, this time to the Berlin Cathedral. Someone must have seen me coming and waited until I had set-up my tripod, put the right filters on and composed my first shot, and then they turned off all the lights that were illuminating the cathedral. Grrr.

After breakfast, we headed back out into Berlin again. We walked Potsdamer Platz, which was a bit of a disappointment. The buildings there are very dramatic, particularly the Sony Center and the Berlin Philharmonic, but that kind of modern architecture was not really what we had come to Berlin to see.

The Spy Museum looked interesting, but we didn't go in.

We wanted to see one of the old watch-towers that used to help guard the no-mans' land alongside the wall. We looked that up whilst we were here and, completely by chance, one of the few remaining towers was just around the corner.

My wife managed to trip over one of those e-scooters, which are left abandoned in random places all over Berlin, usually in the middle of the footpaths.

From Potsdamer Platz it was only a short walk up to the Brandenburg
Sony CenterSony CenterSony Center

The impressive modern building at Potsdamer Platz.
Gate, via all the concrete blocks of the Holocaust Memorial, and the Reichstag for a walk round. We would have loved to have gone into the Reichstag, but it needed to be booked in advance and there were absolutely no tickets available, neither for tours or just to walk around the glass dome. Unlike the TV Tower, we could not get tickets on the day - actually we suspect it was completely closed due to COVID.

It was noteworthy to see the EU flag taking the same prominence as the German flag on what is the German parliament. It just goes to show how important the EU is to Germany.

There were more bears randomly dotted around, including a Statue of Liberty bear in the window of the heavily fortified US Embassy.

The ticket for the 'hop-on, hop-off' bus lasted two days, so we got on that at Potsdamer Platz to go to the East Side Gallery (not the same company as last time, but it didn't seem to matter). Yesterday, we were not in a hurry and the bus was a means to see and take in the city, however, today we were just using it
Watch TowerWatch TowerWatch Tower

An old tower from the non-mans' land between East and West Berlin.
to get somewhere, so the speed of the traffic became extremely frustrating. It doesn't seem like there is not much traffic on the roads, but it is so slow. Constantly waiting at traffic lights.

The commentary on this tour was not so political, but there was still the opposition to that riverside development.

By the time we got to the East Side Gallery, it was clear that there was not enough time, which was such a shame, as we needed to get back to our hotel and then get to the airport. In hindsight, we should have planned our day better and gone straight to the East Side Gallery and then carried on back to the Reichstag on the bus. We would almost certainly have had time to fit it all in that way.

We decided to get to the airport on the trains - to save another €43 against the taxi costs, although I needed to prepare myself for carrying our luggage up and down the stairs again (particularly as it seemed to have put on weight). We did manage to work out a more efficient route than when we came to Berlin, with just the
Holocaust MomumentHolocaust MomumentHolocaust Momument

The field of concrete blocks above the museum.
one change at Alexanderplatz, although it did mean changing our plan and running down from one platform and up to another, with that luggage.

The Berlin train system is extremely complicated but both trains were bang on time, to the minute. The German railway‘s reputation is well deserved.

We thought we would have time to spare at the airport, but we were wrong. There was queue number one at the check-in (they had stopped online check-ins for this flight for some reason). Then queue number two at the barrier to get to airport security. Queue number three at airport security. Queue number four at passport control. Queue number five at the gate. Queue number six at the plane. It's a bloody good job I'm British.

Someone told us that due to the delays and cost of the build, coupled with a reputation for queues, missed flights and delayed flights, Berlin Brandenburg Airport is known as the "disaster airport". Not what you want to hear when you are about to board a flight!

It's surprising (well maybe not) how much of a bad mood you are in after wearing a face-mask for four hours. On top of
Liberty BearLiberty BearLiberty Bear

Inside the American Embassy.
the queues, the delays and carrying the luggage (that had somehow gained 6kg according to the check-in scales) up and down numerous flights of stairs. On the flight they have announced that we need to carry on wearing our face-masks for the whole flight, unless we are eating or drinking. So we plan on eating and drinking for the whole flight (my wife's idea, not mine). You'd be amazed how long I could make a chicken salad last, not to mention the beer that was needed to lighten my mood.

Oh, and queue number seven when the plane was sat on the tarmac waiting to take off, an hour after the quoted departure time. How un-German.


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ReichstagReichstag
Reichstag

The German Federal Parliament.
Brandenburg GateBrandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate

Back there again, but very crowded.
TV TowerTV Tower
TV Tower

A much nicer day to view it from the bus.
Disaster AirportDisaster Airport
Disaster Airport

It is even set-up to queue for the steps.
Much Needed BeerMuch Needed Beer
Much Needed Beer

An excuse not to wear a mask, but I was fobbed off with a non-alcoholic one!


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