Oct 7, 2018

The Berlin Diaries #5.5: Heading Home In Style. Tiergarten.

I'm bringing you the irregularly numbered Diary #5.5 from Hamad International Airport, Doha where everything as been as extra as departing Berlin's Tegel Airport was ... very average.

The reason for all this irregularly numbered excitement is that I don't think I've ever had this much fun with an 8 hour transit between long haul flights.  I'm writing from the depths of a high backed leather easy chair in the second floor 'buffet' floor of the lounge.  Waiters stop by every so often to refresh drinks and the only reason I would see myself moving anytime soon is that my laptop may run out of battery and while this part of the lounge has everything else, it does not have power points.

Do you ever get to that last day of a trip and think. 'Whatever'.  That was my inspiration this morning.   It seems so long ago.  Anyway I harnessed the spirit of 'Whatever' and wore my Havs down to breakfast at the hotel.

I read about Australia from the International Edition of the New York Times as I had a macaron and Madeline with my coffee.

I could get used to cold cuts, cheese and gherkins for breakfast.

And house made preserves.

I had a half day left in Berlin and the weather gave me a pretty special farewell.  After a few days of rain and wind, Saturday was a stunner.

So I got out in the sun and took a walk around Tiergarten.

Parks are the lungs of the cities they call home.  It was so refreshing walking among the trees as their leaves rustled above me.  Shards of light filtered through branches and there was a crisp coolness to the air.

Every so often, I'd happen upon a beautiful sculpture so I'd pause to appreciate it.

The tracks of the park are very popular with the locals.  There were lots of runners, a couple of children's birthday parties and lots of older people walking with purpose using these trekking poles. Their rhythmic clacking kept my walking at a brisk pace.

The halfway point of my walk was the Victory Tower in all its golden splendour.  The tower has its own central 'roundabout' or street circle.  It was inaugurated in 1864 and commemorates the Prussian victory in the Prussian-Danish war.

I found this sculpture at Floraplatz.

The Beethoven-Haydn-Mozart sculpture which commemorates the three musicians looks out over Venusbassin pictured below.

And here, finally is my photo of the green Ampelmann at a pedestrian crossing.

 A seven hour transit time before a 14 hour flight would be purgatory in any other airport but Hamad.

Where do I even begin with how the time both flew and was so relaxing.

My first stop was the Vitality Spa which is part of the Oryx hotel but entry is open to all patrons of the hotel for a fee.

Booking a spa treatment gets you free access to the gym and pool but I am so not a spa person, especially at the tale end of a flight.

So I ponied up for the entry fee which was around $70AUD.  Money well spent in my opinion because I feel a million bucks now even if I still don't look it this deep into that timezone limbo you get returning from Europe to Australia.

The gym was very well equipped with all the standard stuff as well as fit and medicine balls and exercise mats.

But it was the pool that made that $70 fee pay for itself.

I don't think I've had that much fun doing laps in a long while.  The tiles look brilliant as you swim and there are coloured lights under the water too.  Then there was the simple pleasure of just floating on your lonesome in that pool after your laps and ahead of that killer flight.

There were all the amenities you could need in the bathroom as well as a spa and sauna both of which are single sex.

There's no other way to describe the Al Mourjan lounge except epic.  It's large, airy, spacious and even has a water feature in the middle of it as well as that sweeping staircase.

Attention has been paid to things like the decor and there is a definite mood and theme in each area.

There's private areas to lounge in and more formal areas where you can eat restaurant style.  There are even several restaurants depending on whether you're after breakfast basics or something more elaborate.

I've divided by time between the restaurant area and the lounge section.

I give the hummus an 11/10.

Ditto the coconut yoghurt.

It's nearly 7am here which means I'm just about ready to board.

See you on the other side.

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