Walking out of the Underground station at Oympiastadion from the U2 o World Cup Final Day there are lots of fans seeking tickets and only a few sellers. But straight ahead is a 6 year old boy dressed in a Batman costume, with a large home made sign up to his chin. 'Batman needs ticket. Make Batman happy'. Probably his dad put him up to it-good luck.
Berlin was at its best as we arrived on the train from Munich, and swealtering under a heat wave. I act as tour leader, from the one month old BERLIN Hbf to the Reichstag, the mile long fanfest site, and under the Brandenburg Gate to the Unten den Linden-'Under the Lime trees', The most famous street and entirely in East Berlin until the wall came down. To the Adler Hotel, the best and most famous-rebuilt from its shell in the last decade. Its the FIFA HQ and full of smoking soccer politicians, agents and other riff-raff.
We go to a more striking hotel the Radisson SAS. In the lobby is a spectacular glass elevator in the atrium, and surrounding it from the second to the sixth floor is an Aquarium, with lots of exotic fishes as you ride up or down through it.
Past the Russian, French and British Embassies to the Museum Island, and famous Humbolt University. The crowds are sunbathing on the lawns and on the banks of the River Spree that winds in an S through this great city. There is a square with around 200 8 foot Berliner Bears.The bears are 'rampant', not 'passant', on all fours. (I DO know my heraldic terms), all designed differently, to represent every country on earth. On the sidewalk there is a giant 70 foot monument- a pile of white books-to represent freedom, and honor authors, and remember the Nazi book burnings on that spot 70 years ago.
Across the wide avenue is the 'Tomb of the Unknowns' containing the remains of a concentration camp victim and a fallen hero from the last war. Until reunification it had jack booted East German guards outside.
Nearby is the Red Town Hall, former East Berlin town hall, that was painted referencing its red color, not its politics. and then the Opera House and the the former East Berlin Parliament being transformed into a new use.
Grinzy Klinsi ( smiling Klinsman) (in contrast to the dour Bruce
Arena) shows up at the FAN FEST to great acclaim.
He is very popular and the 3rd place match was his swan song as coach.
He brought new ideas and American fitness trainers and the team did better than people thought.
The day before we had watched half a match in Rosenheim between a local club(there are 6 of them), and Munchen 1860 2nd team, who play in the German 3rd Division. Not much talent, and we turn and watch at the next field as the Rosenheim Rebels, the American football team plays a league match, while a youth track meet and the club's field hockey team practices.
After dinner at the gasthof there is 'down time' waiting for the viewing of Germany vs Portugal.
A fly lands on the table, followed by another, on top of it. They start 'doing it' and with nothing better to do we bet on the outcome.
How long do flies take to 'Do it'? Well I suggest 60 seconds, the others range from 2 minutes to 2 min 25 seconds. WELL, after 1 minute
45 seconds all bets are off, because Dru arrives, takes his UCLA hat
off and SPLATT!!! Two VERY mortally wounded flies!!
After the final Berlin Hbf is a mad house with all post midnight trains 'sold out'. so I have an idea. I take the 70 min ride to Leipzig, not so polular, and then an almost empty train to Frankfurt and on to Strasbourg and Colmar, France at the end of the Alsace 'Rout des Vins' a gem of a city only one tenth the size of its more famous neighbor, Strasbourg. Petite Venice, 'cigognes' storks on the chimneys, well preserved medieval streets and houses, canals, great food and one of our soccer training sites, and the home of Frederic-August Bartholde. Well, you all know what he is famous for,
don't you? www.ot-colmar.fr and many more sites.
More later, Home of the Rottweilers, cuckoo clocks, Black Forest sights and sounds.