Monday, 19 July 2010


From the station we headed off in the direction of a park where we thought our campsite was located. After wandering the streets of Berlin and resting in all the shadows we could find we did eventually get to the campsite in the right park. The 'tent station' is in the grounds of a former outdoor swimming pool, which will soon be bulldozed down and built upon. We rented a tent as we had decided that we wouldn't be dragging ours round the world.

On our first full day in Germany we had to go on a mission to the Mongolian embassy in a suburb of Berlin to get our visas. There was a Mongolian ger in the garden and we were getting quite excited before we noticed the sign on the gate announcing that they were closed because they were celebrating the festival of Nadaam. So we had to return the next day to drop our passports off and the following day to collect them. The first time we walked along the edge of a nearby lake seeing a few birds and then wondering why we hadn't decided to go to a different lake. We got to know the area of Pankow almost as well as the locals.

Not having grown-up doing a lot of city sightseeing we were at a bit of a loss as to what you do when you're in a city. But we're learning gradually. One day we rented bikes and cycled to the Berlin wall, to the 'Yellow Sunshine' restaurant to eat a vegetarian 'Currywurst mit Pommes', through a park where we got a much needed soak by the sprinklers and through the 'Tiergarten', another park. I spotted an offer too good to pass by, very cheap watermelon. Jenny said we didn't need such a big piece, but I ignored her. We sat outside the shop hacking into it with a penknife. Progress got slower and slower until finally even I was completely watermeloned out. I have told Jenny to persevere with her good guidance and make sure I listen to her in future.

We went to the Harrods of Berlin- KaDeWe but weren't too impressed and tried to find some cheap sandals in a shopping centre but to no avail, overheated, saw the Brandenburg gate and looked at quite a few pompous buildings. I decided that we really needed to discover a bit about the history of Berlin, so we went to a section of the wall where there was an exhibition and example of what the death strip was like.The street had been cut in half by the wall and families and friends who use to live next door could no longer visit one another. At the Nordbahnhof there were also information boards about the S-bahn during the division of Berlin and people's escape attempts. Very interesting and moving stuff.

We'd finally succeeded with city camping, maybe because we didn't have to remember to bring any tent pegs this time. Jenny was entertained for hours by two mice that were running around near our tent. It was doubtful however as to how much sleep we actually got what with the first people who were camped next to us not going to sleep till 4a.m. and the next lot hammering and banging about at 2a.m., only for us to discover in the morning that they'd only been trying to put up a washing line. We left Berlin early in the morning on a delayed but pleasantly cool train. Only bad thing was rolling past a Tesco depot and a 24hrs Tesco supermarket in Poland.

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