Robert Hampton

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30th June 2012

Berlin Loose Ends
Posted by at 11.51pm | 1 response | Out and About

We’ve come to the end of my Berlin blogs. By way of a final flourish, here are some other things Andrew and I saw while we were there. They cannot justify a blog post on their own, but I’m bringing them here together for your enjoyment.

Berlin bears

Berlin’s symbol is a Bear (the animal, not a large hirsute homosexual gentleman, although there’s plenty of them around too) and these large statues, each uniquely decorated, are dotted around the city. Did the Liverpool Go Penguins team draw any inspiration from this?

Berlin Bear Berlin Bear


The Ampelmännchen are a pair of gentlemen who entertain Berlin’s citizens on pedestrian crossings. The red Ampelmann is a Chinese man recreating the Crucifixion, while the green Ampelmann jauntily strolls along undaunted by only having one arm. They were commonplace throughout East Germany, but were phased out through the 1990s as the newly unified country adopted West German traffic signs as standard. However, a campaign saw them restored to Berlin in the mid-noughties and now the design is big business, appearing on toys, furniture and (as seen here) T-shirts.

Ampelmann T Shirt


Andrew and I visited following a recommendation from our pal Dave Orbison, who helpfully drew a map showing where the gay cruising takes place. We didn’t see any of that going on, thankyouverymuch (not that we were looking, to be fair), but the Tiergarten itself is beautiful – over 500 acres of trees and parkland. Even in the rain it was a most agreeable place – on a sunny day it would be lovely.

Tiergarten Lake Tiergarten Statue


Located in the centre of the Tiergarten, the Siegessäule (aka the Victory Column) is a grand monument commemorating Prussian military victories, although post-1945 it’s probably best not to dwell on that. Looks grand, although it is located in the centre of a horrendous five-way traffic roundabout. If the cars don’t mow you down, the cyclists will.

Berlin Victory Column

Bus route 100

Another recommendation from Dave, this bus route runs from Alexanderplatz to Zoologischer Garten, right through the centre of Berlin. Take a seat on the top deck for a leisurely drive through the historic parts of Berlin that you won’t see from the U-Bahn or S-Bahn. I would have taken photos, but Andrew took the window seat… and promptly fell asleep. It had been a very long day, to be fair.

Berlin Number 100 bus

The Reichstag

Out of use for decades after the notorious 1933 fire, the building has now been beautifully restored to its original splendour and once again houses the German parliament. We didn’t have time to go inside on this trip, so you’ll have to make do with this picture of Hampo the tourist outside.

Berlin Reichstag

The Hotel Adlon

Site of The Infamous Michael Jackson Baby-Dangling Incident. What an odd man he was. But hey, let’s remember him for his music… and The Infamous Baby-Dangling Incident.

Berlin Hotel Adlon

Sunday trading, or lack thereof

Dave had also recommended that we check out the Galeria department store in Alexanderplatz, but we made the mistake of trying to visit it on Sunday – when it was closed! Turns out that even in Godless Berlin, it is quite normal for shops to remain closed on Sundays. I don’t have any real objection to this (in fact I think it’s good that the staff get a guaranteed day off), but it did catch us out.

Fernsehturm and Galeria


Still trading in Germany – get over there for affordable cardigans now!

Berlin C&A


Coming soon to Berlin – how exciting!

Berlin Primark

Darth Vader

…was loitering around the Brandenburg Gate for some reason. I had to explain to Andrew who Darth Vader is.

Darth Vader


Still alive and well in Germany, it seems – most of the channels had glorious chunky graphics available at the push of a button. Coming from a country where old-style teletext is being phased out in favour of something better (by which I mean worse), it was lovely to see. An alarming number of pages were adverts for adult chat lines.

ZDFtext page 100

And there you have it – my eighth and final (for now) Berlin blog.

On the afternoon of Sunday 3rd June, our easyJet plane accelerated down the runway and took off into the sky at the start of our homeward trip. I peered out of the window as Berlin disappeared beneath layers of cloud. It was a great few days, but as we left, I knew that there was much still left unseen and undone.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will be going back.

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One Response
  1. Comment by Andrew
    4th July 2012 at 1:28 am

    Sorry, just who is Darth Vader again? I think I was almost asleep on the bus when you explained 🙂

    Meanwhile I now know what you were up to in the hotel when I had a snooze…Browsing German teletext for Adult Chat Lines 🙂