I am back in London now for the next few months, but took a brief hop over to Berlin last weekend to see some friends.
It was the morning after the shock Brexit verdict, so I was feeling pretty sheepish about being English. But as it turned out, not one of the Germans I came across threw things at me or called me or my country an imbecile.
Berlin is not a particularly beautiful city but it has a very nice Feel to it. It’s clean and modern in a Scandinavian way but also very artsy, in more of a French way. Geographically speaking, this makes sense.
Unlike the French, however, the Germans don’t pretend they can’t speak English. Which is always a bonus.
I was in Berlin to see three members of Team Cape Town – my little gang of travel buddies – Ruda (American) who I first met in Antarctica, Taylor (American) and Natasha (Swedish/Hungarian) whom I first met in South Africa.
We stayed in the Potsdamer Platz region at the Hotel Mandala, which was great in all ways except for that the keycards broke all the time – which quite often left me stranded at reception in my pyjamas.
Mercifully I wasn’t dragged to any hectic clubs, and that’s because Team Cape Town is so good at throwing its own room parties.
So that is what we did every night until 5am: wore bath robes, played plinky plonky music and got delightfully spangled.
During the day, we mostly shuttled ourselves from our beds to the sauna on the roof to sweat out all the bad things.
There was also, on the roof, a bizarre ‘reflexology’ path made from rocks of varying spikiness which you can walk over to torture yourself (it really hurts).
We did leave the hotel occasionally. Once to lollop around in Berlin’s largest and oldest park, the Großer Tiergarten, which was suspiciously devoid of any pigeons.
Another time to go and get Raman noodles in a lovely outside courtyard dressed with fairy lights, where a nice lady let me borrow her dog for an hour.
We also ate at a five-course degustation spot called Restaurant Volt, which was strewn with nice copper lamps.
Natasha and I had one great afternoon in Primark. Oh and we drove past Berlin’s famous Fernsehturm TV tower, which is very tall and pointy.
I debated going to see the Berlin Wall, just to be cultural, but decided against it on the basis of it being a wall, so probably pretty underwhelming.
I’m regularly guilty of being underwhelmed by famous touristy landmarks. It’s not a quality I like in myself.
So there you have it, Berlin.
The next time I see Team Cape Town will be at Burning Man, which is a week-long party in the middle of the Nevada desert, a place where order and reason temporarily go to die.