Our flight is at a fairly civilised time, a little after noon. No need to get up at a silly time.
But we don’t leave it too late. Not when it can take two hours to get through security. It’s been rather chaotic at Schiphol this summer. Massive queues and people missing flights.
But it does have an upside. They’ve had to hire extra people to work in security. And one of them is Andrew. Yes, the lazy git has finally found a job. And quite a fun one, as he gets to boss people around. He even gets a uniform.
“Can you get a gun, Andrew?” Alexei asked him hopefully. “No, of course not.”
Check in is at Departures 1A. Never been there before. I realise that it’s the new, temporary departure hall tacked onto hall 1. Which has me worrying. Is it going to be cramped and packed?
It turns out neither. There’s virtually no queue at security and we’re through in a couple of minutes. Then we’re stone free. No passport control as we’re headed for a Schengen country.
Our conservative planning has left us with some time to kill. Where could we possibly do that? If only there were some sort of place you could sit and take refreshment.
The Grand Café in Pier C has an obvious Heineken tie, flogging their Pils as well as Affligem Abbey beers.
“Hmmm. “ says Dolores, a little miffed. “They haven’t got any Witbier.”
“Yes they have. Look Paulaner Weissbier is on the menu.”
“It’s not on mine.”
Dolores is right. Hers lists Palm. “Maybe they’ve stopped selling it.” She says.
“There’s a pump with a Paulaner sign there.” I say, pointing to the bar “And that bloke sat at the bar has a glass of it in front of him. I think we can be pretty certain they’re selling it.”
I go for Affligem Tripel. It’s a fair enough beer. And the strongest one on offer. I’ve time for two.
We didn’t bother checking in bags. We haven’t brought that much with us. I’m a little puzzled by our seats: window and centre. I always get an aisle seat. Then I remember: I wasn’t able to reserve seats when I booked. And I forgot to do it later. Oh well. At least it’s a short flight.
I bought a sandwich landside just in case. Sometimes KLM just give you a piece of cake, which is no use to me being a non-sugar-eater. We are given a sandwich. Which looks like cheese, but is actually egg. Dolores tells me this a couple of times, but I’m still not totally convinced. “But it looks like cheese.” I say mournfully. Whatever it is, I wash it down with red wine.
One of the bad features of Berlin is Tegel airport. Hopelessly outdated, cramped and frustratingly difficult to get to and from. Especially when you consider it’s bang in the city.
There’s no choice but to start out with a bus. Berlin’s many U- and S-Bahn lines all manage to dodge past it. This time, we decide to get off the bus earlier, after just a couple of stops where it first connects to the S-Bahn. Which we take to Frankfurter Allee, where we take the U-Bahn for a couple of stops, then switch to a tram. Way too many changes. And lots of walking up and down stairs.
Luggage dumped, we head off to Lidl to stock up on essentials like wine. Our hotel room has a small kitchen. Including a fridge, which is dead handy. Somewhere to keep the milk for our tea cool. I don’t bother getting any beer. Because the Getränkemarkt next door is our next stop. Where they’ve a pretty wide range of beers.
I pick out a selection of stuff. Some from Berlin, some from other bits of the former DDR, some Bavarian. It only comes to 15 euros. And a third of that is for one 75 cl bottle of Maisel & Friends.
“There’s a beer garden further down this street. Do you fancy coming here later?” Dolores says she’s up for it.
There’s a big, enigmatic building we’d been wondering about ever since first walking around this bit. It turns out the beer garden is in its grounds. On closer inspection the big thing is clearly a former industrial building. Which now seems to have been taken over by artists.
We sit down and I order a Berliner Bürgerbräu Rodkelchen. “That’s odd, Dolores.” “Why?” “Berliner Bürgerbräu closed several years ago.
Fitting in with with hipsteriness, we order hamburgers. Mine’s rather messy to eat by hand.
After a second beer I ask: “Shall we go to Jägerklause?” It’s another, rather more rough and ready beer garden. Cheaper, too.
We finish the evening there with a beer or two, as night slowly folds around us and the lights come up.
We don’t stay up late.
Rüdersdorfer Str. 70,
Tel: +49 30 29360215
Grünberger Str. 1,
Tel.: +49 176 22286892
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