General Election 2015 & Berlin
Having worked last year as a poll clerk at the European Election in Belgravia, which had a moderate turn out, I thought this General Election was going to be a massive turn out and possibly a change in government. At 6.40am people were actually trying to get in and vote. As soon as we opened the doors at 7am a queue was forming and it looked encouraging. Westminster is a strong conservative area ‘tainted’ with a large group of homeless and people living in temporary hostels, side by side. Sadly as the day developed a picture emerged , postal voters stayed at home or abroad and the homeless ventured out with some hope that a Labour Government might do something for them that a Conservative government wouldn’t. After a long and disappointing day, I returned home to get some sleep.
The following day a flight to Berlin which got us there unlike Bank Holiday weekend 2013 ) when all flights to Europe from Heathrow were cancelled.(see blog Bank Holiday weekend 2013)
We had a couple of gigs to go to in different areas of Berlin our hotel was situated in the Kreuzberg area Hotel Die Fabrik an old converted factory which is basic but chilled with a great cafe.
Bear in Courtyard of Hotel
Hotel Die Fabrique
Much walking about trying to locate places on a W/END city break, despite maps and smartphones it is a given that getting lost is on the menu. Berlin is completely alien to me.
First gig of kathy’s… (AN OLD MUSIC BUDDY from London) is in a New Zealand bar – an intimate gig Kathy on guitar and vocals with percussionist Nancy from Chigaco. I felt like I had walked into sacred territory a mature crowd, sat around candlelit tables; mainly from the language school.
Wild Women as they called themselves had a captive audience . We walked in and past them as they were half way through their 1st set.
A jaded londoner walks into a bar and says , is the imported new `zealand beer nice,? the owner replies, well I wouldn’t serve you shit beer would I !hmmm ( I know!) I have probably been spending too much time in craft bars where they let you sample beers and usually reel off a list of how the brew was made, the alcohol content and type of hops used etc!.) Amused by the bar owners New Zealand charm which put me instantly at ease I relaxed.
Kathy & Nancy’s 2nd set turned into a lively music session, a whole load of rock and roll songs everyone likes and the dancing broke out.
We had bought a weekend travel card in Berlin once you have activated it you can jump off any bus or tube and for £20 euros for the w/end, a pretty good deal. We went to another small gig the following night and somehow managed to find the energy to do a bit of sightseeing.
Check Point Charlie www.mauermuseum.de/
The following day we visited Check point Charlie museum which we took absolutely ages to locate , probably befuddled from the night before we did manage to walk for ages going the wrong way and getting out at the wrong stations several times before finding it. Last time we were in Berlin we found it easy while we were out and about near Musuem Island. We had taken a tour bus and visited the Jewish Museum.
Outside the museum now a tourist attraction.
It’s difficult to put into words the amount of information and the politics of The Berlin Wall, so have enclosed a brief extract from the Museum webpage.
The Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, founded by human rights activist Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt, is a museum like no other; from its humble beginnings in October 1962 as a two-and-a-half room display about the newly erected Berlin Wall, the museum has evolved into a more than 2000m2 exhibition that explores not only the history of the Berlin Wall and the stories of those affected by it, but also looks at the challenges facing us today as we struggle for worldwide recognition of human rights and freedom.
Here you can discover objects used to escape over, under, and through the Berlin Wall, and read the stories of those escapees who risked their lives to win their freedom. We also remember and thus keep alive the memory of others who died in the attempt –
Extreme measures to escape are exhbited some inventive methods were made in a desperate attempt to escape
Some got through, others didn’t.
Have a look at their website
Next walking episode. Hastings and beyond.
love and peace