Walking the streets of Berlin

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Apart from these things, I also had fun with a lot of car number plates. Here a selection:

B-RA (B standing for Berlin)
K-UK (K standing for Köln/ Cologne)

Think one could have a photo competition on about who’s seen the most useless plates. And you definitely have even more fun the more languages you know ūüėČ A new idea for a Tumblr maybe?

U-Bahnhof Heinrich-Heine-Straße, Berlin

Berlin, underground station Heinrich-Heine-Stra√üe. Beginning of December I entered the station for the first time ever. An instant feeling something being rather different appeared. And I looked closely. Unlike in other stations, there were no advertising billboards. Kind of unique in a big city like Berlin. The sign “Heinrich-Heine-Stra√üe” was definitely from at least GDR-times. And then this strange colour of the walls. Something that couldn’t quite decide between a light pink or a light lilac. The air being kind of wet-coldish added to an almost slightly spooky atmosphere. Like as if time simply stood still here. It most likely would not have been my favourite station to ride home from, late at night. That much I knew.

Now I learnt via Wikipedia that the atmosphere I felt in that station was spot-on. The station had been built 1928, and the strange colour of the walls is from back then. Almost 90 years of the same tiles. Back then, the station’s name was “Neanderstra√üe”. During the Second World War the entire underground net was closed, Neanderstra√üe reopened only in 1945.

In 1960 the station got renamed to Heinrich-Heine-Stra√üe. But it was only used for almost a year after that. Like a few other stations, it became a “ghost station” when the wall got built. Trains only passed through but they didn’t stop – until 30 years later, when the station reopened 1st of July 1990 together with all other “ghost stations” in Berlin. The year when Germany started to grow together again.

Still, since then, almost 25 years later, nothing really changed down there. At U-Bahnhof Heinrich-Heine-Straße the breath of history truly embraces you, and it is a rather strange sensation.

Travelling to #NEXT11 by Night Train

I left Linköping at 6.10 pm and arrived at 6.05 am in Berlin. Grabbed a coffee, croissant and a roll, put myself in front of Hauptbahnhof, and so the big city and I woke up together. A unique experience it was, grey sky, risk of rain, the flags on the German parliament staying straight in the wind right on the other side of the river Spree. Few cars first, then more and more, adding cyclists, buses, joggers.

It felt a bit like an adventure, and that’s what I liked. On the train I shared a two bed cabin with a Swedish lady on the way out, and a Danish one on the way back. Lovely people. The beds were comfortable and I actually both times got a good amount of sleep, much more than I would have by taking a crazy early morning flight or similar.

However, you must not be too tall, you have to like trains, boats and have a sense of adventure. Why? The cabins are small, optimally only one person should be operating inside, which is what we did. Trains is kind of clear, and boats you need to like because you spend 4,5 hours on the ferry from Trelleborg to Sa√ünitz. On the way out, we had quite some good waves, so the boat cradled one to sleep. I love that, but not everyone is up for that experience… ūüėČ Then you also need to be able to sleep over some snoring, or better – be able to sleep with ear plugs.

This is what it looked like at the evening of departure in Berlin.

We left at 10.31pm and arrived at 8.05am in Malm√∂. Again, grabbed coffee, croissant and a roll, and headed for the connecting train to Link√∂ping/ Norrk√∂ping. I did then decide to not excite my colleagues with too much natural Anja-smell and headed home instead. Free of charge from Link√∂ping to Norrk√∂ping, SJ does have nice staff, thank you! Smell wasn’t too bad, I think, but one does not feel fresh enough for working at the office. So, home, shower and then work.

I’d do it again, I’d say. A really nice alternative to flying, and one actually has always the full day to spend in Berlin, without the worries of not making it to the airport in time. Relaxed. Just like the city one visits.

If anyone wants to try it, you can book the trip on SJ in Sweden . Funnily enough, exactly that connection you cannot buy with Deutsche Bahn, although there is staff of Deutsche Bahn on the train… The connection is open every year from April to early November.

And since it is ideal for weekend trips, I’d also like my new hotel discovery with you. Hotel Classic, U-Bahn Wittenbergplatz, like three stations from STATION where NEXT took place. So I could escape late afternoon for showering and shopping at famous KaDeWe which is right across the street, before returning to the Paaaaarty :).

Happy traveling! ūüôā

re:publica 2010 in Berlin – Meet the Bloggers!

Yesterday the first tickets went on sales for the re:publica – and today almost 300 tickets are already sold! Which means people long for the annual blogger feast next springtime in Berlin from the 14th to he 16th of April in the Friedrichsstadtpalast.

It will be the 4th time only that it takes place, yet the number of visitors has risen exponentially every year and the ticket sales of next year’s event show that this trend seems to continue.

Main organisers of the event are (again) Markus Beckedahl @netzpolitik and Johnny H√§ussler @spreeblick. Markus’¬† Blog about politics, current affairs and social media/ internet belongs¬† to the best known ones¬† in the German speaking blogosphere, and also Johnny’s blog Spreeblick is one of the most linked and read in the German blogosphere.

You might have seen or met Johnny on the #140conf in London when trying to explain the flashmob-phenomenon during German elections – see here ūüėČ .

Last year was the first time I attended the re:publica and despite some simply conference-typical things like WLAN-downtime it was an absolute great and greatly organised event. Anyone who’d like to take a glimpse should make his or her way to Berlin – should you get bored with too much German language on the conference then Berlin is worth a visit as well.

There were quite a lot of international visitors and speakers last year,
though, and it might be more in 2010 since the re:publica will also host The Bobs – the International Blog Awards run by Deutsche Welle.

Looking forward to see the program and list of speakers grow over the next few months now.

Book your ticket and join in – the re:publica and Berlin are definitely worth a trip!

(BTW – one can follow the re:publica on Twitter at @republica or simply check the hashtag #rp10)


Update: Early-Bird-Blogger-Tickets gone within 24hours – didn’t I tell you ūüėČ

re:publica 2009 in Berlin

Ticket ist¬† gebucht, Hotel reserviert und auch f√ľr einen Flug habe ich mich entscheiden. Ryan Air mal wieder von Skavsta direkt nach Sch√∂nefeld, und das nicht weil es g√ľnstig ist (was es eben manchmal nicht mehr ist) sondern weil es meistens die beste Flugverbindung f√ľr mich darstellt.

Momentan warte ich gespannt auf das Programm, wenn dieses so gut ausf√§llt wie das der pre:publica auf der CeBIT, dann wird es echt interessant! Als re:publica Newbie freue ich mich auf nette Gespr√§che mit alten und neuen Gesichtern – und vielleicht sogar ein bi√üchen Berlin, wenn die Zeit daf√ľr noch reicht.

Als alter Wessie von der Nordseek√ľste und Leipzig-liebender Mensch aus vier Jahren Studienzeit (Berliner, bitte nicht hauen jetzt!) trug es mich erst vorigen Monat im Rahmen einer Gesch√§ftsreise nach Berlin. Am Ende meines eint√§gigen Ausflugs in die ehemals geteilte Stadt bedauerte ich es sehr, dass ich nicht schon einmal fr√ľher einmal eine Anstrengung unternommen hatte, mir alles anzusehen – und nicht erst knapp 20 Jahre nach der Wiedervereinigung. F√ľr mich ist Berlin eine der wohl geschichtstr√§chtigsten St√§dte, die ich jemals besucht habe – und auch eine der vielseitigsten. Es wird in 2009 wohl noch einmal ein langes Wochenende nur zum Vergn√ľgen in dieser gro√üartigen Stadt geben, so viel ist sicher.

Am 1. und 2. April werde ich dort sein – man sieht sich ūüôā