German Report

autobahnKapiti’s chess guru makes smart move down autobahn to Berlintwo bridges (guy)

Guy Burns, Kapiti Chess Club president, continues his  reports from Europe

I left Bavaria and popped up to Berlin for a month. It’s about an easy five-hour drive on the autobahn to cover 480 kilometers.

But, you could do it in nearly half the time, if you wanted to drive at 220km per hour-which some people do legally! But most seem to cruise at (just) 130km per hour or so, and

trucks are not allowed over 90 or 100, depending on their size. The German autobahns are certainly impressive. We covered the length of Germany without having to stop at a traffic light or give way at an intersection.


And so we arrived in Berlin — a huge, vibrant city, seeping culture like rain from a spring cloud.

In terms of German cities it is comparatively new and has roughly the population of NZ. It’s a city of art galleries (over 450); waterways,with more bridges than Venice; and over 175 museum.guy in art useum So I had to visit some of them.

Firstly; the Pergamon Museum: the Babylonian Ishtar gate was impressive, so was the Turkish Pergamon alter.

Secondly, the Beate Uhse Erotik Museum. But this could be described as an impotent experience — it’s badly designed, poorly lit, and soon became a very boring, mainly exhibiting Japanese sketches.

guy and bike on bridgeMostly, I tried to avoid the tourist areas and most days headed out on an 80-year old-‘Triumph’ pushbike, made in Nurnberg, to discover the city. I enjoyed the Kreuzberg and Schoeneberg areas — a little bit alternative, with lots of cafes and cheap food stalls.

There’s plenty of competition and drink and food in Berlin must be some of the cheapest in Europe. But, one thing about Berlin, you have to pay for everything, even

the public toilets. I soon became expert in finding a McDonalds if I was busting to go.

The locals of Berlin are quite different from those in North Germany. They speak their own kind of German and often seem quite stern and aggressive. Several times I was yelled at quite strongly by someone who didn’t appreciate my push-biking etiquette.

I was told by a friend that the locals’ bark is a lot worse than their bite, as that they normally expect some quick smart comment in reply and then they will laugh about it. But for those not

in the know some Berliners can come across as quite staunch and arrogant.

Nevertheless,  this did not put me off, and I thoroughly enjoyed my Berlin visit.

In my next update, I” tell you about my push-biking into Austria from Germany.