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Secret Agent Dog

Berlin Game: 1

Visiting Berlin has been on The List for some time, so when Ryanair sent me an email offering flights for £10 each way I jumped on them. arakinuk, currently working in the city, was kind enough to offer me his sofa, and I was all set.

My Ryanair flight suffered a two-hour delay while they tried to fix a broken radio, discovered it was unfixable, and transferred us to another plane, but I had the best kind of seat neighbour - chatty without being invasive - and Funeral in Berlin, which I must have read in my teens but of which I remembered nothing, so I didn’t mind.

Once the flight got under way it was smooth and fast, with icy rivers and snowy fields to look at. Soon we had landed and I was on a train heading to the Hauptbahnhof, gazing out at a golden evening and an undeniably foreign cityscape of blocky buildings and steel bridges.

Arakin had put me in touch with a friend of his who suggested we meet in town after I arrived so she could show me round a bit while he finished his working day. Thus I met Cleo, who was one of the best things to happen to me in a weekend of many great things. We enjoyed a restorative Starbucks before checking out Checkpoint Charlie and the tethered World Balloon, sadly closed for the night and destined to be unavailable due to poor weather for the rest of my stay.

Shivering through -8° temperatures, we headed for Arakin’s flat, so I could drop off my bag, then to a nearby Chinese restaurant, where we met my furry writer friend Rob, who also works in Berlin, three other local furries, and finally Arakin himself.

I was somewhat concerned by the number of jiaozi dumplings ordered, which exceeded a hundred, but we ate them all, washed down with several bottles of the mysteriously-named Schankwein, which turned out, of course, to be house wine.


I admit, "schankwein" sounds more like some mysterious creation from one of those company names like Shanghai Best Quality Export Food Stuffs and Heavy Machinery. =:) Ahh, the wonders of dim sum! Although, I'll admit, it takes a lot to beat a really good Hong Kong hotpot, like at the New Sun in North Beach - not only delicious, but open until 3am. ^_^

Very good to hear ArakinUK (ArakinDE?) is still alive and flailing!

And £10 each way? Ye gods. It probably cost more to get to/from the airports! Where did you fly from?
Heh, I made the arakinde joke when he left the UK. I'm not sure it was appreciated :)

I went from Stansted, which isn't the most convenient (that would be Gatwick, easily trainable from Crystal Palace) - best way to get there is by road, so I took the bike and crammed helmet, boots and jacket into the top box. It worked fine.
Just on a linguistic note, "Schank" is related to words like "ausschenken" (of drink, "to serve, to pour"), "Ausschank" (the serving of drinks) and "Schänke" (inn).
Ooh, thank you! None of us had come across it before, even those who'd been living in Germany for several years.
:) The hidden nooks and crannies of the German language! (Actually, that would make for a good title for a radio show.)

It's not a common word in German, I imagine, but thanks to the above connections a native speaker would probably be able to understand it in context even if they weren't familiar with it. "Hauswein" (house wine) or "Tischwein" (table wine; in the truest sense, the wine that's always on the table for guests) mean pretty much the same thing.

On the subject of wine, here's something for advanced learners: "Ich habe gestern in einer Besenwirtschaft ein Viertele geschlotzt". Where did I go, and what did I do? :)
Hmm, without googling, I'd guess you...knocked back a...sizeable quantity of alcohol? I have no ideas for Besenwirtschaft.
Very good, you're close! :) A Besenwirtschaft is a Wirtschaft (tavern/inn) that's run by a local wine grower serving their own wine, as well as hearty snacks and meals.

A Viertele is a quarter (Viertel) of wine, and schlotzen means to drink and to relish.
Aha! I did know viertal was a quarter, but I wasn't sure what it might be a quarter of. A litre? A gallon?

Schlotzen is a great verb! I'll try to remember that one.
Yes, a quarter liter — a glass full, in other words. There's actually special glasses used for these in areas (or inns) where wine is typically served as a Viertele.

It's a nice one, isn't it? ^^ Sounds just like you might when you really enjoy your wine, too!
Germany? Cool! I've wanted to visit Munich for quite some time!

Have fun in Berlin! :)
I would also like to see Munich - I've been recommended the aviation museum there!
Berlin is terrific - I'm hoping to go back later this year, as I wasn't entirely well when I visited before. The Hauptbahnhof is a mighty rail station too.
I realised very early on that I'd need to go back, as I wasn't going to manage half the stuff I wanted to see/do!

When we went to Germany in 2009, I took a detour and spent a week in England doing the G&S festival while he toured Berlin and Munich. So I never got to see them... :(
Oh noooo. You'd love it! Another time!