The group tour

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The first tour of the day was the pre-breakfast tour in which there were 2 participants. We went to the Brandenberg Gate where we witnessed a man in board shorts, flippers and goggles doing the ice bucket challenge while a friend filmed him. This location is impressive in the early morning – no buses or tourist groups, in fact almost no people at all. The frieze above the columns indicates significant troubles with rampant centaurs in the past, all of which had to be quelled by heroic acts of bravery. We have not seen a single centaur and assume that they have now been brought under control.

Our return route took us past a number of outdoor sleeping areas – the underneath of most bridges is occupied in more or less comfort depending on individual resources. We also found the Charlottenburg Tor flea market but resisted buying any crockery.

In the post-breakfast tour, two additional participants joined on sturdy hired bikes. Everything started out well with clear objectives and straightforward navigation to the Charlottenburg Palace, set in huge formal gardens and the sort of place Charlotte ought to have been pretty satisfied with.

Following this our general aim was to reach Kreuzberg but we lacked a suitably specific objective. The group management style took many forms including benign dictatorship, participatory democracy and just-in-time. At one stage unionisation occurred and the workers demanded better conditions (coffee and cake). This was agreed to by management but delivery in a timely manner proved more difficult than anticipated. Some distractions along the way were Trabi World, the Topographie des Terrors – the former site of Gestapo and Nazi headquarters – and Checkpoint Charlie.

We then rode on into Kreuzberg but ended up doing the public transport infrastructure tour (overhead U-Bahn) rather than the gritty arty grungy graffiti bohemian cafe culture tour. Eventually we found a cafe that served coffee and cakes (German and Turkish, both excellent) so the workers were appeased. One member of the team went over the road to embark on a journey of personal transformation (haircut and shave in Turkish barber shop) while the rest of us had to fend off a shop keeper who did the equivalent of wheel clamping our bikes, as we had leaned them against her wall, denying her the opportunity of displaying her cheap poor quality goods on the footpath.

At this stage the group underwent restructuring and two independent divisions were created with an undertaking to revive the partnership later in the day.

Our division had in mind a swim in the Badeschiff, a pool that is floating in the Spree, but Not the Berlin Festival had overtaken the whole area, so instead we crossed the Oberbaum Bridge and found the East Side Gallery, a long section of the Berlin Wall that has been painted by many artists to create a striking and colourful memorial.

Our evening activity was a concert in the Berlin Philharmonie by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. They played Brahms, Rihm (who was present in the audience) and Richard Strauss. People sell large pretzels of different varieties outside the concert hall to the audience to help them get through the program and the trip home – good idea I say!

In the gardens of Schloss Charlottenburg

2 Responses to “The group tour”

  1. katejm Says:

    I have reason to believe that the remnant centaur population made it to the United States in the early 19th centaury (as they call it). They lived mainly in Wild West, working as surveyors and traders, before moving to California and being highly paid advisers in Hollywood.

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