We have been in Berlin now for nearly 2 weeks. Enough time you would say, to see all the significant spots at a comfortable pace. Unfortunately it has not been the case due to the ongoing saga of purchasing 2 motor homes (plus getting a replacement Bank card as a side-issue) We have dealt with (and finally overcome) Germany’s bureaucracy to become officially Registered, thus enabling subsequent steps of Insuring the vehicles, then getting vehicle registration (after confirming with certificates that they have the necessary TUF (warrant of fitness) and then Number-plates for the two vehicles. In NZ this would be an afternoon’s work at the Post Office. Here it has taken over a week with a lot of blood, sweat and tears (well, almost). We had great help from some of the guys at the couch-surfing place where we were staying. The lady we were purchasing one vehicle from met us at the German AA office, but their combined efforts ended with them saying that it looked impossible to do! The AA tried to be helpful but just did not have the experience that we needed to solve the issues.
So here we are, proud possessors of one vehicle
and with the other one due to be ready at the end of the week, the delay being due to work necessary (at the Dealer’s expense) to get the ‘TUF’ certificate.
However we have squeezed in a fair bit of sight-seeing in between all the tripping to and fro’ and we have become seasoned users of the Berlin U-bahn,(metro) S-bahn (rail) systems, trams and Shanks’s ponies. We have walked the streets, played and pic-nicked in their parks,
and more recently driven a motor-home through the heart of the city and successfully navigated to an obscure camping supplies shop to buy a ‘Porter-potty’ for the other van. (for this last feat all credit goes to Rob for his driving skills and his trusty GPS)
I managed a walk down to The Brandenburg Gate
and the Parliament buildings
just yesterday, and in addition to the historic places there were a lot of interesting other sights, such as the full size puppet manhandled by about 6 people.
Plus an interesting assortment of pedal=powered machines.
……and today we got to see Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz – both of which I have to say, were pretty much non-events. Important in the history of Berlin no doubt, but visually very ordinary. Far more impressive was Berlin’s central railway station – a marvelous suspended glass structure.
We ran out of booking space at the first couch-surfing place, so we had to move last night to a new couch-surfing host. Here some of us are very comfortable. I say some of us because they have managed to find space for 3 of us, the rest having to sleep in the van. Of course the van is comfortable enough but is not in a Camping ground – it is parked in front of a row of shops about 1/2 km from the apartment. We are not sure how legal this is, but we are keeping a low profile!
The whole tribe comes over to the apartment to eat breakfast and dinner at night and to get washed up etc. It is not the most convenient, but it is a real God-send until we get the second van and head off into the wide blue yonder to be completely independent. Then things will really be looking up!
And to add to the satisfaction of the day, I have just learned that my new Bank card has arrived at the first address we had in Berlin, so tomorrow I will be off to pick that up, and start to get solvent once more!
We are being hosted by 3 young ladies: a Social Science student, a nurse and a Receptionist. They have (by European standards) a really large apartment with probably 5 large rooms, a small kitchen and 2 toilets (one of which has a shower/bath) The 3 of us are in one bedroom, all to ourselves, which is something of a luxury and we are very comfortable.
On the down side, many of us are plagued by a wretched cough and some have heavy colds, so we are not at our sparkling best – but the sun is shining, the days are getting longer and warmer – summer is coming and we will soon be bouncing again.
We are really looking forward to this next stage in our wanderings. Internet connections may not be so readily available but I’m sure we will stay in touch.Tags: Observations, Oddities, Transport, Travel, Tag Index