To the island

And so my three day minor adventure to Berlin began.

Mirinda left for work at 8:15 and I was reminded that while I wouldn’t see her till Friday, I’ll still be home before her and it’ll be like I was there all the time. This seems a bit weird in that I didn’t really to have told her I was going anywhere. Anyway, I did.

Eventually it was time to take the girls to their favourite human (Sue), then a final check around the house and head for the bus to the station, wheeling my bag behind me.

I didn’t have enough time to get a coffee from my favourite Schumanian so I just stepped aboard and headed to Woking.

A very busy train

I started reading As I Stepped Out One Midsummer Morning on the train and I was gripped instantly. It’s a beautifully written book. And a lot easier to read than the Auden biography I’ve taken a short break from.

In next to no time, the train dropped me at Woking and I headed outside platform five to stand and wait for the bus to Heathrow. It wasn’t a long wait and before I knew it, and joined by four other passengers, we headed off for the Heathrow bus station.

A less than crowded bus

On the way towards the M25 I received a very important message from Lorna regarding the location of the best pig knuckles in Berlin. And beer, of course. I was told to say hi to the tallest waiter. Obviously I will.

Having nothing to check in, I steamed straight through security and into the departures hall of Terminal 2 a full two hours before take off and searched for the pub. I found it. It was called Pub and was owned by Fullers.

Interestingly there was a timeline on the wall behind the bar marking off the historic moments in the Fullers story. It ended in 2014. I figure it’ll need a new entry for 2019 regarding the Japanese purchase announced last week.

Anyway, a beer and a read then I went for a coffee while waiting for my gate to be announced. That’s my flight below; the one leaving at 14:35 to Berlin.

Still waiting at this point

Naturally, when it was announced my gate was the furthest. The airport signage claims it takes 15 minutes, which is closer to 30 for me. The trouble with the airport signage is that it assumed the travelators are working. Which they weren’t.

Anyway, not to fret, I made the gate in plenty of time.

Of course my stick aided me in being the first person on the plane. I was comfortable and seated before anyone else decided to join me.

The flight wasn’t full. While a woman did sit in the window seat, the seat between us was delightfully empty. The whole flight was smooth and effortless. I watched some South Korean TV then snoozed for the last bit.

We landed at Tegel and caught the passenger bus to the terminal in order to queue at passport control before emerging into Germany.

Before heading for the bus stop, I popped into the museum pass booth (I’d already bought a three day pass) to book into the Pergammon first thing tomorrow then it was out into the cold. Well, it was supposed to be cold though I didn’t feel it. My fleece remained unzipped for the duration.

The bus from the airport to Marienkirche would have been quite the scenic tour had the sun still been around. As it was, the whole of Berlin was swathed in night and the bulk of people on the bus were going home from work.

Eventually I reached my stop and walked across the road to my hotel. Unbelievable how convenient it is and equally unbelievable was the fish tank hanging impossibly above reception. I was so astounded that the receptionist offered me a room with a view of it.

The biggest free standing fishbowl in the world

After a short rest to get over the experience so far, I headed out for dinner. I was looking for pigs knuckle. I wasn’t disappointed. After a series of unpromising options, I discovered Kartoffelhaus Number 1. I ordered beer and pigs knuckles from the Italian waiter who seemed to be able to speak any language.

And my dinner was spectacular. The pig was sat on ‘grandma’s potatoes’ and someone else’s sauerkraut. The meat fell from the bone and the whole meal was a delight.

Would make a Weasel mouth water

Grandma’s spuds made me suddenly feel remarkably tired so I paid and walked back to the hotel in the now bitingly cold wind. Almost as soon I returned to my room, the fish were put to bed (the lights turned off) and I wasn’t long behind them.

And a short video…

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