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Berlin Vol 6.1: Egyptian artefacts and Vietnamese food

Friday 14th – Saturday 15th April 2017

The beady eyed among you might have noticed my last trip to Berlin finished only on 11th April. Basically, I arrived back home in London, whipped out my laptop and booked a return flight for the Friday! A little extravagant I know. You see, I’d booked my initial flights to go to Berlin with some friends a couple of months ago. Then, a week or two before the Easter bank holiday, my family decided they were going to go as well. It hadn’t even occurred to me to join them until my last day in Berlin, when they suggested I just stayed until they arrived. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my uni work with me – which really needed to get done – and I did have things on back in London so I came back – but just for a couple of days.

My flight was scheduled to leave late on Good Friday. I’d spent the day crashed on the sofa, getting some work done with Netflix on and The Flatmate beside me. I checked my trains to get from London Bridge to Gatwick and left with the perfect amount of time to get to the airport and have some time to pick up some dinner.

I sensed something was wrong when I was at London Bridge. The platform numbers for the incoming trains weren’t appearing until the last minute. Still, my train got in on time and only left a few minutes late. Then it stopped. An announcement came on. There were trespassers on the attack and they weren’t moving. We waited for them to be shifted but then it was slow moving as we were in a backlog of trains. I was starting to get quite worried. It was bank holiday weekend, I might have already checked-in and only had cabin baggage but security could be slow going.

I finally arrived at Gatwick and legged it through the airport. I was leaving from the north terminal, meaning I needed to get a short shuttle ride. Then I rushed to security. It was practically empty and as I approached one of the guards opened up a new lane. I was through. I even had time to grab a Pret dinner and some jelly babies for the road / sky. I wasn’t going to miss my flight.

My flight was pretty quick and easy. I even managed to get some work done. By the time I arrived in Berlin it was gone 11pm but thankfully the U Bahn and S Bahn runs through the night at the weekend. My train was a bit late leaving and then when I changed at Neukolln the train didn’t move for ages. I seemed to be cursed. Eventually I heard a muffled announcement. I couldn’t hear what it said – and even if I could I don’t think my German would have been up to translating it. However, I didn’t need great German skills to decipher the reaction of the woman sitting opposite me. She was pissed and everyone stood up and left the train. It soon moved on – now empty – and we all boarded the next one to come along.

Finally, I arrived back in Schöneberg. My Dad even met me at the station. We all had a quick catch up before bed.

The next morning, we had a pretty decent lie-in before leaving to head towards Mitte. Our destination was Museum Island. We went via Stadtmitte U Bahn station and walked through Gendarmenmarkt and through the market that sits on the river bank, opposite the Berlin cathedral, on Saturdays. We walked onwards to another nearby market that sells antiques but whether due to the wet weather or the fact lots of building work was going on, there were not many stalls (the picture was taken much earlier, in sunnier times).

We stayed long enough just to grab some overpriced currywurst and chips before heading to the Neues Museum. This would be my third trip (at least) but this is one of my favourite ever museums so I was more than happy to go again. We had to queue a while for tickets and by the time we finally made it inside it was about 3.30pm. The museum was open until 6pm so I figured that would be plenty of time but I’d forgotten how much stuff was in there. I had plenty of time to explore all the Egyptian artefacts (including the beautiful bust of Queen Nefertiti) and the treasures from Troy but had to rush through the old German relics and the prehistoric stuff. Guess I’ll just have to go again!

En route back to Schöneberg, we stopped off at a branch of Kamps bakery for coffee and split a couple of large pastries to share: one Danish and one rhubarb. Back around Hohenzollernplatz, we wandered to Anh Ba, a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner.

The decor was quite beautiful and the food was delicious. The menu was all in German and certainly none of our German was up to deciphering Vietnamese food. Thankfully the waitress was very helpful. She asked her the kind of dishes we wanted and pointed some out for us. To start, we had a couple of shrimp wantons and a couple of coconut-y soups. Then we had a banana salad, red curry with breaded chicken, noodle soup and chicken skewers. The red curry and the soup were the best.

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