An incident free trip back to Dublin doesn’t make for an interesting blog post. We had spent the day meeting a few friends and wandering around the parts of the city. People make places and I have to say our experience of Berliners and others who live there was very positive. The staff at the hotel were friendly and not in a way that suggested that they had acquired their friendliness from a training manual. All of them spoke impeccable English which again I feel puts us to shame. The people I spoke to were also incredible welcoming. Peter is a Berliner who spent time in rural Cork in the 80’s and it turned out we had mutual friends from Patrick St in Cork City and Clonakilty. A small world indeed. Benjamin is from Berlin but spent some time in Canada and who imparted some very wise advice to me which I will keep to myself. I spoke to another man whose name I can’t remember. He is a musician who was dreading the thought of having to play the piano at a New Years Day church service for rich Berliners many of whom would still be drunk from the night before and who would not want to listen to his beautiful playing but it payed the rent. As I say people make places. We found the transport system very easy and efficient. I guess efficiency is one of those national stereotypes that Germans in general have to labour under but the fact was that the trains and buses ran on time although my friend Gordon tells me that there is one bus that runs from Moabit to Zehlendorf, the 101 which is always late and is a reassurance that there is humanity there. As we were waiting in the hotel lobby for the taxi back to Schönefeld Airport the citizens of Berlin were heading to the Brandenburg Gate ready for the big New Years celebratory fireworks display which we thankfully missed. One million people turned up apparently. I’m not a lover of fireworks or loud bangs of any kind. Coming from here loud bangs of that kind will always be associated with something else. The Aer Lingus flight left half full and on time and not even the kids running up and down the aisle were too annoying. They were twin boys of about four or five years of age and they were having great fun playing with the cabin crew whose patience had to be admired and again that patience didn’t come out of a training manual. I wasn’t looking forward to the drive back to Coalisland. I was tired by the trip and I never sleep well out of my own bed. It’s only a two hour spin along a soulless motorway these days. It use to be at least three hours up through places like Julianstown, Balbriggan, Drogheda Dunleer and Dundalk. But now you fly past these places on the new M1. Quick but dull would sum it up on our very own Autobahn. Anyway that has been our trip to Berlin. Many happy memories and an experience I hope to repeat soon. I’ve included a few more people photos.