I’m over Berlin. I don’t know if it’s because of my eye operation or my sleep deprivation, but I’m counting down until Friday. It’s the day I leave this apartment.
This is my first experience of using AirBnb. The description sounded great ‘A Home Away from Home’, but the reality is different. There was no mention of the windows overlooking a courtyard filled with rubbish bins and cycles. As the buildings are so tall, they shield the apartment from sunlight. I’m never bitten by mozzies at home. One night I woke up with 12 bites on me, and now I spray twice a night to prevent being bitten to death.
Then there’s the noise. Every night the upstairs neighbour comes home at 11pm, and bangs and scrapes furniture until 2am. These apartments are pre-war and have no sound insulation. I’ve complained to the owner, but had no response which didn’t surprise me.
As for the area, Neukolln is described as gritty and urban on the internet. I find it dirty and unappealing.
So, I decided to visit Hamburg. It’s two hours away on the express train. I arrived at lunchtime on the Friday, in the rain and it finally stopped on Saturday night. I took the hop on bus which included a harbour cruise. The container ships are enormous, and not surprisingly most traffic is shipped via China. Peering out through the steady, soaking rain, I had an idea! Inspiration has been in short supply lately. I’m setting the beginning of one of the Tentacle series books in Hamburg. On a container ship. In the rain.
The Hamburg Iron Man took place on Sunday morning, and the crowds were out. Then it began to rain again and they dispersed. I went to the Kunsthall (art museum) paid an extra 3 Euros for an audio guide, and looked at some great works of art. Monet’s ‘Nana’ is superb. In the afternoon, I took a cruise around Lake Alster, which reminded me of Lake Pupuke. I must be getting homesick…., but I had 3 nights of uninterrupted sleep – fantastic.
What am I reading? A Woman in Berlin. This is an anonymous diary of a woman who lived through the Russian invasion of the city in 1945. Over 100,000 women are believed to have been raped by the soldiers of the Red Army, and she tells her story with courage and honesty.