I’m not a big traveller and most of the places I have been to on holidays have been English speaking countries. On the odd occasions that I have been to foreign speaking countries I have made a point of learning some of the basics… ‘Please, Sorry, Thank You!”
You get the idea.
I don’t like the way Brits are often seen when abroad; commonly as loud, rude and shouting very slowly in English. Like that helps!
I think making a small attempt at speaking the native language (Even really badly) goes a long way towards people being helpful and a lot more patient.
Last year was the first Punk & Disorderly gig I went to in Berlin. My linguistic abilities of the German language is based on a small handful of lessons and a very handy phrase book. My language capabilities extend to asking for help, asking for directions, asking “Do you speak English?” (In German!!) and a very very basic understanding of a typical restaurant menu.
Lat year we flew into Berlin Schönefeld Airport and had a short train journey to where we were staying in the borough of Friedrichshain. This year we touched down at Berlin Tegel Airport and naturally, after looking after us so so so well last year, we booked to stay at the same hotel again.
The journey from the airport was as expected, cheap, clean, very simple, quick and with typical German efficiency the buses and trains all run on time. (Please take note TFL).
Berlin is a beautiful city and the people are warm and welcoming. Unlike London you do not hear sirens continuously screaming or see the police rushing around everywhere.
I am of course doing all the typical tourist visits & wondering around different districts we have not read about. The hotel is in a good location to explore the city and was also chosen for its closeness to the gig venue; The Astra Kuturhaus; The Culture House.
Don’t that sound posh!? Its not!!!
It gets some really bad reviews which I hadn’t read until now. But don’t let them put you off. Especially if you’re heading here for a punk, rock or ska gig….. Okay it has a flat floor and if, like me, you are vertically challenged you are not going to see much from the back of the venue. But then I suppose when many thousands pack an arena to see a pop star, not everyone gets a fab view.
Just as important is the atmosphere and the sound quality. Personally I thought the sound was good last year and I really do not think the atmosphere could have been any better. Hence coming back.
The venue is located in a residential area with really good transport links, lots of hotels and some very good eateries and bars.
The actual venue looks like an old derelict squat area with derelict buildings, poor lighting, graffiti, a few iffy looking characters hanging about that look like they could point you in the direction to buy Cannabis or something stronger. However, they don’t approach you or make any comment as you pass them. Berlin actually feels like a very safe city to stroll around, even at night.
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a photographers pass but if I can get anywhere near the stage I may do a gig review?
In the mean time here are some day shots of the compound where the Punk & Disorderly event is happening.
I’m not planning on having Curry, a burger or fries from here tonight.
Last minute language revision and some dutch courage.
Jim Jimmy James.