Saturday, 26 May 2007

Shopping in Berlin and Hunting for the Tiergarten Biergarten

This Monday is, like in England, Whit Monday Bank Holiday and all the shops will be closed. Tomorrow is Sunday and German shops are always closed. Yup, unlike England even the DIY and garden centres. I don't think they even have car-boot sales.

So, today was going to be shopping day. Julie wanted to get a DVD of the 2004 film Vinzent, for the simple reason that Till Lindemann (front-man of Rammstein if you didn't gather) plays an animal-rights activist in it. Unfortunately we didn't track it down in Saturn or Dussmann book and music shop.

We head back to the Zoo area because we drastically need some clean underwear and tee-shirts; it has been hot beyond our predictions and we are rapidly either going to run out of fresh clothes, or stink the S-Bahn out. Where better than KaDeWe, variously claimed to be the largest departmental store on continental Europe? Because, and let me not put too strong an emphasis on this, Saturday at KaDeWe is the earthly manifestation of Dante Alighieri's most tortured nightmares about the extreme limits of what torment is physically possible to inflict on humankind. Though I add that (in case the management of KaDeWe are as litigious as our own Harrod's department store proprietor Mohammed al-Fayed) this is totally my personal opinion and I am sure that thousands (though it appeared like millions) of happy shoppers regularly enjoy the shopping experience there without a scratch on their eternal souls. I also foolishly didn't think to exchange fifty pounds into Euro just so I could buy a pair of knickers. Thank goodness for H&M at the Potsdamer Platz Arcade for something within my budget, but I might add that I had to queue to pay for an interminable time because whilst Brits are indoctrinated in the art of standing in turn from birth, Germans just don't seem to get it (and I'm too polite / socially inept to assert my prior claim to being served).

Ok. Right. Rant over. Just let's say it was a nightmare trying to shop for pants.

We then made our way into the Tiergarten for lunch. We had discovered a Biergarten hidden away by a lake in the park on a previous visit, and wished to revisit it. Well, actually the Tiergarten is pretty big. And unlike, say, Hyde Park in London, it is rather enclosed by trees and flower borders so you can't see very far at any one time. So an hour or so later, we didn't find the Biergarten and we were getting rather hungry, thirsty, and foot-weary. We found our way to the top of the Tiergarten, by the Brandenburg Gate, where there was a large video screen, spectator stands, and lots of people milling around dressed in football colours. We gathered that today was the German-cup Finales 2007 between Stuttgart and Nuremburg in berlin at the Olympic Stadium.

... I'm going to get round to finishing this someday, honest!

[edit: still haven't done it, and now I haven't a clue what I did!]

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