Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Berlin Calling Part 2

The problem with agreeing to blog from a trip is that you find yourself too busy to update as you intended to. So my apologies that this is part 2 of 3, rather than 3 of 4 - life is like that sometimes.

For those who wondered - jive dancing is jitterbugging, which is what they did a lot of in West Berlin in the fifties, and was the theme of the Conference Networking event in the restaurant next to the ICC in Berlin. This is part of what was the World´s Fair site, and is an imposing building. Having said that, while the dancing was excellent, the food was a little too fattening, so I made my excuses, left early and crashed out at the hotel.

Since then - non stop meetings and talks, but I have managed to see a little of this intriguing city. Sadly, not as much as when I last visited in 2001. In particular, I wasn´t able to visit the Wall or Checkpoint Charlie. These days, if you visit you will see from the West side a picture of a young man in American military uniform. If you view from the East, a young man in Russian uniform. It takes a few minutes for you to realise it´s the same young man - a poignant reminder of the troubled past of this city, twenty years after the fall of the Wall.

I´ve also spent some of the evenings wondering around the area near my hotel, which includes the main cathedral of Berlin. This was virtually flattened in the war, but a new cathedral of glass and metal was built up through and around the ruins. You also realise just how much influence the Americans had in the rebuilding of the city - advertising everywhere on buildings and walls.

There´s also reminders of the other side of the past of Berlin. Just down from the train station is the Museum of Erotica - exactly what you think it will be.

And so on to the final day, and the flight back. I´ll share my thoughts on airports, or rather Tegel, tomorrow.

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