"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, January 29, 2007


The next morning the sky was lighter but my stomach was still heavy as the supper from the night before, shall we say, refused to budge.

What we needed was a damn good walk and, of course, HP had one planned, well of course he did. HP always has these things planned to a degree that would have made Monty look like he just turned up at Normandy and asked the nearest gallic looking peasant “which way’s Berlin?”

Today’s route march was going to be about four to five hours and taking in a small yuppified area to the North East of the city called Prenz Lauer Berg. But first, a short stroll from our hotel to Potsdam Platz and then past the Memorial of The Murdered Jews slightly to the north. The Berliners wear their contrition heavily and nowhere is that more apparent that in this thoughtful if controversial monument to the Holocaust.

Sitting on a prime site little historical significance the £30 million it cost to build has been the cause of considerable discussion. No one doubts the importance of remembering the dead but many have questioned its location and the fact that it does not recognise the other marginal groups who were also slaughtered. I have my opinions, but, for once, I shall keep them to myself.

Heavy stuff and it threw a silence over us as we walked up through The Brandenberg Gate and along the Unter Dem Linden towards Prenz Lauer Berg.

This small area has become increasingly gentrified in recent years and HP had singled it out for two reasons. One a small but interesting farmers market that, like Saturday markets everywhere was rammed with middle class folk over paying for produce while pushing baby strollers into everything that got in their way.

That being said, it was worth the long walk there and we sampled some wurst & beer from a couple of the stalls. The main reason for the walk though was to find Konnopke Imbis, a true East Berlin stalwart and one which lays claim to having invented the currywurst. Mind you, so do another twenty places in town, so who knows?

Konnopke is, though, the real deal. A small van which has been feeding Berliners for 75 years and still seemingly as popular today as it has ever been with a mixed crowd of workers and young professionals wolfing down the wide variety of sausages all with, it seems, at least one beer. How could we not do like the locals? We could not and we quickly said “hello” and “goodbye” to some bratwurst and yet another curry wurst ( I told you they were addictive ) before continuing our walk.

As we headed back towards the centre of the city, we stopped off for a brief look at Gedenkstatter Berlin Mauer, a small museum over looking a preserved area of The Murder Strip. They had a guided tour but it was in German and since my ability of foreign languages stops and starts with speaking increasingly more loudly until they get the picture, we had to give that a miss. Unfortunate, as what we did understand from the exhibits was poignant and interesting.

By now, the walking was getting a little wearying. So, we headed home with only a brief stop for some more excellent hot chocolate and cake to fortify us against the lowering temperatures (do you see a theme here?) and prepare us for the final night's meal
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