Letter from Berlin
This is my first visit to Berlin and it is a beautiful city, perhaps one of the best that I have seen. The streets are wide with many heritage buildings and places notwithstanding the destruction that took place in the second world war.
Berlin has the biggest parks and open spaces that I have seen so far. After booking into my Hotel on the sixth floor of a post war building with no lift we caught a tube train to Olympiastadion. I've had life long interest in Berlin of the 1930s and the stadium was a must even though it has been modernised. There is a a fabulous entrance that I remember from the original opening on film archives that I have seen. That hasn't changed and I could still feel the Third Reich reeling from defeat by Jessie Owens. It was a severe blow to Hitler's dream of a super man arch type when the black American won his race.
Berlin is a super city and the mind boggles at the thought that Albert Speer had plans for something bigger and better than what is here now. From the Olympic stadium we made our way to Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. There is no longer any evidence of the wall that once existed and was the cause of such grief for so many people, but the Mauermuseum is a grim reminder with very detailed documentation of the past darkness of a totalitarian nightmare.
Despite what you might think Berlin is not so expensive with good budget price accomodation and reasonably priced food. It has made a restful change from over crowded London, where I had delightful meal with the Vice Chair of London Transport, Dave Wetzel and his wife Heather, before catching the train to Amsterdam. The bicycle has been on the come back in London, since the bombings of last year. Bicycles are still very much favoured in Amsterdam but less so in Berlin. Here the public transport is very good and nowhere as stressed as dirty old London. These big cities are still in denial regarding Peak Oil so when it does dawn on the population at large I'm picking things will be very unpleasant.