Thursday, 22 May 2008

Back to Berlin - Nochmals

This coming bank holiday we are flying to Berlin again. I'm beginning to be on nodding terms with the passport guys at Schönefeld. If anyone wants any advice on which train to catch from the airport, how to get a Tageskarte, where the Geldautomaten are, which are the best sandwiches in the forecourt ... drop me an email. I even know where to go in Berlin if you leave your backpack on a bus from the airport (that was one slightly tipsy flight! Blame Rammstein fans. I managed to get my backpack back BTW).

We will be staying at a themed hostel, Das DDR Hostel, or Ostel, near Ostbahnhof. This supposedly recreates in authentic detail the experience of staying in an apartment in the days of the communist regime, situated on the sixth floor of a concrete Plattenbau. Looking at the photos, it looks to me more nostalgic of the kind of home I grew up in seventies Britain. Apart from the portraits of DDR leaders of course. Ours was a socialist household but we didn't go that far, not even photos of Harold Wilson. I wonder if the room will have bright orange and black swhirly-design bry nylon carpets like our front living room? As long as they don't have a Stasi guy listening on our conversations. Pity the poor bloke though when I go to sleep and start snoring. This was a scene cut from 'The Lives of Others' I think. Anyway, whether it's the worst place we've stayed at, or the most fantastically quirky, I think it will at least be memorable.

We have four house-buying opportunities to view on Monday and Tuesday, with second viewings scheduled  (hopefully) on Wednesday. The German word for an appointment for a  house-viewing is Besichtigungstermin. Notice how I used about 30 characters in English (' an appointment for a houseviewing')  to describe a 19 letter German word; how efficient is this? In fact, I reckon that if I created a word amalgamating the 1,000 most common German nouns and remembered THAT, I could deconstruct it when necessary and have available any word I want. How easy is that to learn a language - you only need to memorise one word!

Fingers crossed then that we finally find something we like and can afford. If not ... well, we'll keep trying and trying despite the vissitudes of a schlecht pound / euro exchange rate because we are determined to live in (or near) Berlin!

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