Tag Archives: germany

A damp walk in – Berlin (Checkpoint Charlie, Trabants, and wurst-bears); then on – to Bonn!

After our washout in the French capital (we didn’t really notice the weather in Brussels), we were hoping for better weather in the German one, but it wasn’t to be – the wet, windy and dreary weather seemed to be following us around on our quick business tour of Europe. Grrr. But what was more infuriating was that, as soon as we left each city (I checked online!) – out came the sun! Grrrrrr.

And so the trend continued here ->

Not that Berlin is a capital fully replete with tourist attractions in the first place, but all its museums were closed anyway since we were there on a Monday. That left only one thing for us to do in the short time we were here – go on a leisurely walkabout around some of the usual-suspects famous spots in the city. And first up just had to be something connected with the Cold War, surely. Berlin Wall? Nein (too obvious). Checkpoint Charlie? Ja! ->

Read on…

What’s the story – morning glory?!

There’s an extraordinary, rather rare, optical phenomenon that goes by the name of a glory, called so no doubt because of its resemblance to a halo. It’s caused by the shadow of an airplane (or some other object) on some clouds, which shadow becomes encircled by rainbow-esque rings – almost like a rainbow that’s perfectly round (which, actually, does occur, but only in very rare circumstances), but this isn’t a full-circle rainbow, it’s a glory. Confused yet?!

Curiously, the airplane’s shadow in the middle can disappear, leaving just the glory. You can get to see such an effect from a plane (if you’re lucky) coming in to land in cloudy weather if you sit at a window that’s not facing the sun. Which is where we were sitting; and this glory showed itself upon the dense cloud cover below us. I hadn’t seen this mysterious optical phenomenon at such a height for ages. This one was probably due to the air being relatively clean and fresh =>

Read on…

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Two days in Berlin, twenty hours in Doha.

Goodness me. The only thing being talked about, written about – worried about – of late is… I don’t even have to name it it’s so obvious to everyone except cave-dwellers…

Sure, seasonal viruses are commonplace, but this one sure looks anything but commonplace-or-garden. This ain’t just a kind of flu. But this also ain’t something so pandemically awful as the Spanish flu or the 1968 flu outbreak. I wonder – would today’s medicine have been able to nip those two in the bud early? Well here’s hoping today’s medicine will do so for today’s coronavirus. Btw, curiously, outbreaks like these occur almost exactly every 50 years. Spanish flu – 1918; then there was the 1968 outbreak; now – just over 100 and 50 years later, respectively – corona. Spooky coincidences.

As the world enters panic mode, with quarantines, economic downturns disasters, cruise ship passengers locked-down, frenzied bulk-buying, face-masks, gloves and hazmats… what’s to be done? Get to work, I say. But extremely responsibly: social distancing, working remotely if possible, checking your health regularly, and reporting to the doctors if you suspect anything wrong. Exactly what I’m doing at the moment. But before things got really bad I had a very long business trip. Thus, as per, it was: suitcase > airport > takeoff > …Berlin!

Read on…

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Alpbach – Davos’ younger brother.

Guten Tag folks!

As my case > event > micro-tourism > hotel > case > airport > next place status enters its third week, after Malaysia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, I find myself in… Austria!

Why? Well, I just couldn’t pass up on the invite I received to speak at the Alpbach Forum now could I? What’s Alpbach? Well, I’d say it’s a bit like Davos (where the World Economic Forum holds its yearly bash), but with more of a European focus, less a whole-world one like at Davos. Put another way, Alpbach is Davos’ ‘younger brother’. I say ‘younger’ as it’s smaller; however, in one important way it’s better: there’s no whiff of geopolitical distortions and other interference whatsoever. There are also the fresh alpine air and luscious landscapes to be enjoyed too – just like at Davos but at a different time of the year. Nice.

Read on…

German triangle.

The other week I pulled a three-day Russia-Germany triangle: Moscow – Munich – Berlin – Moscow. Though it wasn’t such a long-sided triangle, it all the same was a toughie, as so much was packed into my itinerary. However, I didn’t even manage to get myself to Munich itself, only having got as far as its airport. But then, Munich Airport has its own… brewery, so I wasn’t complaining ).

The brewery is right in the middle of one of the airport’s restaurants too – so that’s two unusuals already; I wondered if the beer was going to be unusual too…

Read on…

A flight over to Hannover – for the 20th time!

I recall reading somewhere once – I think it was in a German tourist guidebook – that: ‘If you’ve no special reason to go to Hannover, then there’s no real point going there.” Bit harsh, I remember thinking at the time. However, it turns out that it’s also one of my most frequently-visited cities. I carefully went through my records, and low and behold, I’d been to this German city a full 19 times. Well I was there again just the other week – a jubilee: my 20th visit! Accordingly. On this special occasion, I figured it would be appropriate to get out my trusty Sony and get some serious snapping in – since we had a full half-day free in the city. And that’s just what I did. Herewith – the results of that snapping.

Hannover in spring – cherry trees blossoming…

Read on…

Football evil-eye: banished!

Guten tag, boys and girls!

Something very serious has happened in my life…

For most of it – my life, that is – whenever I’d watch a football (soccer) match in a stadium, the home team I’d (nominally) be supporting (I’ve never really chosen any particular team to support more than any other)… would always lose! Even when I’d watch a match on the box – ‘our’ team would lose! It’s a bit like how I’d turn up to a Grand Prix – and Ferrari would lose.

Anyway, it looks like, finally, the spell has been broken. For the other day I was in the stands watching a home match of Eintracht Frankfurt – and they won! Hurray – for Eintracht, and for me: now I can watch some footy and enjoy it like everyone else with no fear of jinxing the result!

Read on…

Und Oktoberfest, natürlich!

Finding myself in Munich at the end of September, it would have been out of the question not checking out Oktoberfest. I mean, why would anyone want to do such a thing? A wonderful, sprawling, fun event that’s not to be missed.

Beer stalls and one-liter jugs, attractions with varying degrees of technical infrastructure (even good old rowing boats), and endless smiling crowds. Fantastisch!

Read on…

Three’s a crowd in Munich museums during Oktoberfest.

Hallo folks!

Munich has lots of excellent museums. But when’s the best time of year to go check them out? Turns out: late September/early October. Why? Because that’s when Oktoberfest takes place! Yes, while practically the whole population of the city and surrounding areas, plus millions of tourists from around the world are at the city’s famous Volkfest (the largest Volkfest in the world, no less), the museums are practically empty! Yeh! It’s like having a whole museum to yourself. Weh!

The first museum we checked out was the Pinakothek der Moderne. And just look at all the crowds we had to elbow our way through:

Read on: A lengthy line for entry tickets…

Hamburg mini-wonderland.

Hi boys and girls!

Herewith, my next dispatch from Hamburg – and another delightful tourist attraction.

If you’ve never been to this northern part of Germany, or never really planned on doing so, well, I’ll bet many of you, after reading this post, will want to get here asap and spend a whole day, as we did, at Miniatur Wunderland.

1500 square meters of model railway + towns and cities and homes and folks and domestic scenes (including intimate ones) and just about everything else, across different countries of different climates, and so on and so forth…

The attention to detail is just mind-blowing.

Read on…