Initially we decided we’d go for a look at the Charlottenburg Palace, which had a couple of quick caches and some very grand gardens and buildings (once we’d found the way in). It also had a nice little coffee shop over the road, which we were ready for after a couple of hours. It was sunny again but breezy and really quite cold, and neither of us really had much in the way of warm clothes with us.
After the palace we decided on a trip to the Olympic Stadium. It was a bit of a hike up there on the bus and then a bit of a walk from the place the bus dropped us off, but once there it was quite impressive in that neo-Roman block style that Hitler was so very fond of, and that we’d seen the previous day at Templehof Airport. We were surprised by the amount of money they charged to visit what is essentially an empty stadium, but we decided (again) that having come here we shouldn’t shirk over a few Euros.
Once inside it justified the expense. The contrast of the newer fit-out of the blue running track and the roof against the massive pillars and blocky stone style of the stadium superstructure is very stark. They’ve left a few of the other original features in place too such as the swimming pool and the open parade area, plus an absolutely huge bell. These older items enhance the historical feel of the place and serve to emphasise the strangeness. From the outside it is most definitely from the Nazi era. From the inside it’s much more difficult to tell that. It could be almost any stadium in any European city. I read that the design of the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium was deliberately flowing, open and random to emphasize the “new” Germany in stark contrast to the stern and heavy looking architecture of the Berlin site.
At this point though, we became conscious of the time and decided we really needed to get away, so we walked as fast as Kas could manage to the nearby U-Bahn station and sped over to our hotel, where we picked up our bags from the left-luggage cupboard and proceeded directly out to the bus up to the airport.
Airport check-in was all fine but somehow we were late into Dusseldorf and would have missed our connecting flight except, of course, that they had our bags on board and it was an “official” connection, so they had to wait for us. We were going as fast as we could through Dusseldorf Airport but we still sensed some grumpiness amongst the other passengers when we made it to the plane, as we’d made them all wait for a while. We were slightly surprised and relieved to see our bags being stuffed into the hold beneath us as we sat down too.
From that point onwards it was all fairly easy. We got to London, the car was where we left it, the kids and my parents were where we’d left them, and home was very much home.
That was an excellent weekend by most standards. I found 25 geocaches in a country I’d never cached in before and Kas smashed her marathon PB by some huge amount. And we had some good beer, sausages and cake.