Sunday, June 03, 2007

Out of Denmark

Thinks: Not another fjord!

Another little gem from Julian, just before we left his place for Gedser, where we´d be getting a ferry to Rostock in Germany.

It was a rather dull drive, except for the delays caused by a highway traffic jam which erased most of my travel buffer time, and an off-highway hunt for a petrol station, erasing the rest of it. The ferry we joined was the Kronprinz Frederik, which I guess is named after Princess Mary's husband. That may explain why the English-language announcements on the boat were provided by an Australian female voice.

At Rostock, there were German armed militia guarding the roads as we got off the ferry. I assume that they were there to deal with possible troublemakers coming into Rostock ahead of the G8 summit. Coincidentally we were in Edinburgh a week before the 2005 G8, but I was not aware of this year's event until I saw the previous day's news reports. In any case we would be driving straight on to Berlin, another dreary 2 hours down the highway.

Riding the U-Bahn

We're in a B&B in the area known as Moabit, about ten-minutes' walk from the nearest U-Bahn station. It turns out that one of the owners studied at the University of NSW at the same time as I was doing my Master's degree there.

Bondi is allowed to travel for free on public transport, but there is an implication that he has to wear a muzzle on the buses. An hour after arriving in Berlin, we emerge from the Zoo station which is more-or-less the centre of what as West Berlin. The area outside the station is indeed a bit of a zoo, and my attempts to get directions were foiled by the seemingly universal lack of knowledge that people have about their own cities. Presenting two different people with my map, and asking to be pointed eastwards up the Kurfürstendamm, Berlin's main shopping boulevarde, we were first pointed north, and then west. In the latter case we'd walked about a kilometre before working out that we were going the wrong way.

Balcony pup

Finally pointed correctly, we plodded along as far as Nollendorfplatz and then - taking note of Bondi's "look there's a cafe, can we sit down?" hints - sat down at some outdoor tables until regaining enough energy to plot a U-course home.

Bondi got plenty of admiring attention along the walk - "schöner Hund", being the recurring phrase. I was hearing "Es zwölf" and thinking wow, they rate him a 12! and then I heard "gross" a lot ... so that's 12 squared! Don't they have a decimal system here? Should I call for a toe-count?

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