Thanks to striking airport workers, I had a nice holiday in Berlin – Vladimir McTavish
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Likewise, I will often visit other tourist destinations for work and not have much time for activities such as sight-seeing. Which made last weekend such an unexpectedly pleasant experience.
After spending about an hour trying to arrange an alternative way home, I discovered that the industrial action in question was a strike at Berlin Airport, so the only option open was to stay an extra day. Rather than fret about the inconvenience, I took the opportunity to be a tourist and enjoy myself.
Rather than rush home on the Monday, I had a wonderful bonus break in Germany’s spectacular capital. Berlin is an intoxicating mix of majestic imperial architecture, chilling historical reminders, and hedonistic nightlife.
It is a wonderful city for sightseeing. Strolling up the lovingly restored Unter den Linden, you are unable to miss the iconic Brandenburg Gate. It’s unable to miss because, like such totemic sights the world over, it is surrounded by youngsters taking selfies.
Turn left and you find yourself at the Holocaust Memorial, a sobering and humbling experience. From there, you can follow the route of the Berlin Wall to the glass and concrete splendour of Potsdamer Platz which has sprung up on what was No Man’s Land before the fall of the Wall in 1989.
I also strolled through parks, visited an art gallery, went to the zoo and drank in a number of bars. Of course, most of that stuff I could have done here in Edinburgh. It just never occurs to me to do so. I’m guessing a similar number of Berliners found themselves stranded for an extra day in Edinburgh, as the strike would have prevented them returning home. I hope they similarly enjoyed their extra stopover in our beautiful city.
And I also sincerely hope the striking workers who brought Berlin Airport to a standstill were successful in achieving their demands. Thanks to them, I had a thoroughly enjoyable long weekend. Danke schon, mein Deutsche kameraden. Auf wiedersehen.