Wednesday, September 28, 2016


There is something crazy about walking into an arrivals hall at an international airport and just standing there until someone yells out your name, swamps you in a hug (sometimes a more manly greeting) then takes your bag and leads you out into a new city but that is exactly what I am doing. When I arrived at Berlin I texted Mirko from the baggage area: "I don't know what you look like dude!" - and I really need not have worried because it all worked out. In fact, everything worked out with Mirko.

The Koha gathering was terrific, about 20 people and a lovely evening meal afterwards - and a few beers - with these lovely gents who work with Mirko in the shared working space. Mirko had the biggest steak I have ever seen and was still smiling 3 days later :)

Mirko is frantically busy doing Koha-coolness in Berlin but made the time to escort me to my hotel, arm me with a magic train ticket that took me everywhere, then left me to get on and explore. He was at the end of a phone - and I contacted him many times - and we managed to squeeze in a terrific day sightseeing. It was so much fun!

We visited Charlottenberg, home of the Hapsburgs and of the most astounding silver collection in the world - even better than the one at Sisi Apartments in Vienna! We were first there and so entering the ballrooms etc and seeing them devoid of tourists was pretty special.

We got rained out briefly and had a cup of tea in a crazy Russian teahouse packed to the gunnels with stuff and then did a 4 hour river cruise up to the City Centre and back down again.

My last day I spent wandering around the Museum quarter spending most of my time at the Musuem of German History which was great! It positioned german history within the European context and commenced with a 43 minute film telling the story illustrated with objects that were in the museum.

I was surprised at how honest the German storytelling was particularly in relation to the World Wars.

What I particularly liked was the context given to the commencement of both World Wars, how they were both a long time in the making and just chapters in the bigger story of German expansionism, the hardships endured by Germany following the Versailles Settlement and Nazio Germany. It wasn't told in a 'poor us' way - or in a glorification of the Reich way - just like everything else it is in a factual way with great items illustrating the story. This was a highlight of my Berlin trip.

Oh and the architecture ... and the bread  (Berlin had the most AMAZING bread and salads)

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