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9am, I arrive in Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport.  After an amusing rant from my Egyptian taxi driver on the cavalier disregard for parking regulations displayed by the residents of Neukolln, I reach Prenzlauer Berg.

My first port of call is a local beer shop to pick up a bottle of Augustiner.  This I enjoy with a roll-up in the dappled sunlight of Helmholtzplatz, in the agreeable company of some Osti-looking gentlemen doing likewise on a neighbouring bench. I then proceed to take up residence in my rented rooms overlooking leafy Kollwiztplatz.

Ah, how eminently civilised a country is Germany!  Where it is perfectly respectable to enjoy a beer on the street, in the park or on public transport without the drunken yob associations of Anglophone countries; where a fellow can enjoy a morning beer and smoke on the square without it being automatically assumed that he is some manner of derelict.

It’s good to be back!


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