/ Europe2017

I've stolen ze secret plans ...

Simple plan today - do the weekly wash then into the city, check out a couple of shops, do a museum, eat and back to the van early.

Shopping, the goal was to look in at the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop and possibly pick something for Christmas. Some fantastic pieces, some prices to match. We were tempted by untold baubles, Nutcrackers, angels and Santas but declined. Prior to that we'd popped into the Karstadt department store, Liz to look at knitting, me at games. Liz's purchases fitted neatly into a tiny pocket. My huge plastic Crokinole set was a burden to be carried all day, far too large even for our day-sacs. Still it was such a bargain price and ought be fun, perhaps it will be worth it.

As for the museum we picked the nearby Story Of Berlin which turned out to be fantastic value (€9 for us aged concessions). We were there 2 and a half hours and only hunger and my painful knee forced us to rush. There's easily 3 hours or even longer worth of material.

Of course any Berlin museum with its salt will have one of these:

A 600cc two-stroke powered plastic bodied Trabant. The E German people's car, although unlike a VW in the West there was a 12 year wait for one.

The museum covered Berlin from its founding in the 13th century through to modern day. Lots of material, lots of reading, perhaps too much. My only real criticisms are the displays weren't always strictly chronological and often an understanding of basic German history was assumed. Still minor quibbles.

The highlight of the museum was a 30 minute guided tour to one of the 16 1970s nuclear bunkers here in Berlin. Scary stuff, you enter the bunker through an air lock where you shower off any radiation particles and then get given clean clothing as you enter. Immediately you are confronted with row on row of sparse bunk beds, 4 high. Barely any space between the beds to walk and not enough space to sit but your bed is where you will spend 24 hours of each day along with the other 3,600 occupants. As well as the beds there are 2 kitchens, each equipped with 2 rings and a 60l water boiler - and that's it. Two very basic kitchens for 3,600 people. At least there are 4 toilets blocks, 2 for each gender. WCs and urinals of course but no showers, water is too precious. And don't think you can escape the bustle by taking a long, luxurious WC break, there are no doors on the loos, just a curtain to maintain the minimal of privacy.

Of course, it was all propaganda. The water, food and diesel (not just for lighting but for the all so important air filtering) were designed to last just 2 weeks. So if you were one of the lucky 2% who actually got into the bunker, if you managed to struggle your way to one of the kitchens often enough to eat and drink, if you didn't go stir crazy, after 2 weeks you would be back out on the streets of post-holocaust Berlin. You're chances were poor, whichever way.

Still it is interesting that the 16 bunkers were built alongside other underground structures such as car parks (as in the car of this one) or tube stations and such a small percentage of the population has been aware of their location that even today millions of Berliners pass close by such relics of the past, totally unaware of their existence.

Anyway, tonight's post title. In these dark days with Trump at the helm of the free world and North Korea desperately needing to develop nuclear weapons as the only assurance against regime change, you might want to build your own nuclear bunker. So I have stolen ze secret plans

And in case you need to furnish it here is the most chilling photo I've ever taken

All this cold war fear made us realise we hadn't eaten all day. Now I blame Liz. She said "You know, we've been in Germany several days and haven't yet had pork knuckle". So we find a typical corner-street bar in Spandau and were struggling with the menu.I'd recognised Große Eisbein and was just looking up just exactly what type of potato salzkartofflen are (as suspected salz means salt, but it actually means boiled potatoes) and I had no hope with what turned out to be crushed peas. But our fun was spoiled, the waitress rustled up a couple of out of date but useful English menus - a surprise, this place doesn't look like it would have English menus (I didn't push my luck and inquire about paying by credit card). 

Now, hands up, who spotted the word "Große" preceding "Eisbein". Now "Große" really means ”Große" - 1.1kg of pork knuckle!! Alright there's the bone and a LOT of fat but the amount of meat is obscene. Now, me, if an animal died for my meal I feel it is only respectful to eat it all but Liz made great inroads and amazed me by leaving only about 25%. It was a BIG meal!