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January 11th 2011
Published: January 11th 2011
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After the mundane business of yesterday with organising Eva to go to Singapore ....finding alternate accommodation for me (walking distance of the Philharmonie!) farewelling her at the station and then going to dinner in the suburbs with friends ( after 5 different train changes!) I found that Eva had missed her connecting flight to Frankfurt and so had decided not to go. I shall refrain from expressing any thoughts or feelings in writing!!?? So she had to ring Liz at 6.30am to try and contact QANTAS as they were shut here. Poor Liz. However, she was not totally out of luck. Got to go to Butterfly at SOH with my ticket last night and was totally entranced.

So today I set out to see what tix were available at the Philharmonie, only to discover that the box office doesn't open till 3pm. So, decided to spend the day on the Museum Island, visiting especially the Pergamon Museum and also the Neues which has only just been re-opened. It contains the Schliemann collection from Troy and the bust of Nefertitti as well as lots of other wonders. But I think for me the highlight was the Pergamon Altar as well as the Istar gate from Babylon and the Market Gate from Miletus (also in Turkey). I spent most of the day there and will go back tomorrow as I didn't have time for the Altes Museum or the Bode (except to have lunch).

I rushed back to the opening of the box office at 3pm and scored 2 tix for ndras Schiff playing Bach in the Chamber Theatre of the Philharmonie. I felt really lucky as it has been sold out for 6 weeks. But I got 2 returns. Both cashiers I asked said"No Sold out" but I pointed to the big screen and said...but it says there are a few available...moral...never accept the first answer.
So now I'm resting in my room before going to dinner with Eva who is sleeping on the bed.

A couple of random thoughts about travel...reminders to myself as much as anyone...don't put it off too long.It is really hard work. I find the Berlin transport cheap and convenient but very challenging to use. It took me about 15 minutes at Friedrichstrasse station to figure out how to get back to Potsdamer Platz today and about 20 minutes last night to figure out how to get to my friends' house. I think I need glasses stronger than 1.5 for reading the train maps. And being colour blind doesn't help either.

You also need to be really fit. Never take more than you can carry. Several times I have had to carry my carry on bag in one hand (7kg) and my suitcase (20kg) in the other up and down steps at stations because there is no lift and the train is there.
And at Cologne, for example the stairs were covered in snow and ice. Horrifyingly treacherous.

I guess because of the age of some many facilities, there is no provision for the disabled. Even my friends, who live in a magnificient turn of the century classic Berlin apartment. They live on the 4th floor, with two children under 3. Every time she goes out with them she has to carry them down the stairs and carry the shopping back up the stairs too.

One thing Australia does better is litter. I have found German cities very depressing with the amout of litter, garbage and worst of all cigarette butts discarded everywhere. They have at least stopped people smoking in restaurants and shopping centres.

And to dinner and Andras Schiff. Lovely.


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