Knut
Knut pictures

Berlin Notes

News and views from Germany's federal capital in easily-digestible blog format.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Knut's recovering from his recent injury well, but it looks like he's worked out who was responsible for the injection which knocked him out for x-raying: the moment he saw zoo vet Andreas Ochs he went into a rage, showing the less playful side of the 80kg polar bear. No-one was injured - Knut is now so big that no zoo staff are safe in his enclosure. Even his "foster daddy" Thomas Dörflein now has to feed Knut from the public's side of the cage.


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Monday, September 10, 2007

One of the less customer-friendly aspects of Germany's banking system are the fees levied when you withdraw cash from an ATM of another bank (or at least one which isn't part of your bank's ATM network). Fees range from 4 to 7.50 Euro, and can quickly add up if you take out cash without much thought.


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Monday, September 10, 2007

The last "missing piece" in Berlin's central public transport network is a section of S-Bahn line running north-south which would connect the Ringbahn to the Berlin-Hauptbahnhof, which is currently only served by the Stadtbahn and a few buses. This line, known as the S21, was meant to be part of the same packaged of construction measures which brought the Hauptbahnhof and the much delayed U55, but problems with financing mean it's been put back several times.


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Saturday, September 8, 2007

It's a hard life being the world's most-loved polar bear, and the strain - or rather the sprain - is showing. Knut (now 8kg) appears to have injured his left leg, but after being sedated and x-rayed vets have made certain that no bones are broken. Nevertheless Knut has been given a few days off to recover and is being kept inside, but can go out at any time if he wants to.


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Friday, September 7, 2007

Tattoos have long since left their niche exsistence and have become part of mainstream life. The Museum for Communication in the Leipziger Straße is now showing an exhibition of 20 individuals and their tatts - ranging from construction workers to graphic designers.


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Friday, September 7, 2007

It's one of Berlin's never ending debates: should the Berlin-Hauptbahnhof get a roof extension? Due to the inevitable delays to the construction the North-South Railway Tunnell, about a quarter of the station's steel-and-glass roof structure were left off so the station could be opened in time for the World Cup in 2006, which means passengers (particularly first class passengers) boarding trains at either end of the above-ground platforms are exposed to the elements, and the station as a whole isn't as impressive as it might be.


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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Western Berlin's main shopping area around the Ku'damm and Tauentzienstraße (the eastwards extension of the Ku'damm ending on Wittenbergplatz near KaDeWe) retains the title of most expensive retail real estate location in Berlin, according to a report by realtor Grupe.


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Monday, September 3, 2007

Bad news for fans / addicts of smelly, cancer-causing nicotine-based products, good news for everyone else: as of September 1, another step in Germany's gradual move towards a general smoking ban came into effect, with smoking now banned by law on all forms of public transport. This includes all of Deutsche Bahn's trains, which no longer have smoking compartments or carriages, and taxis. Smoking has also been banned on all stations except the 330 largest, where it is only permitted in strictly limited areas.


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Monday, September 3, 2007

Bad news for fans / addicts of smelly, cancer-causing nicotine-based products, good news for everyone else: as of September 1, another step in Germany's gradual move towards a general smoking ban came into effect, with smoking now banned by law on all forms of public transport. This includes all of Deutsche Bahn's trains, which no longer have smoking compartments or carriages, and taxis. Smoking has also been banned on all stations except the 330 largest, where it is only permitted in strictly limited areas.


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

You'd think Berlin has enough hotels by now, but construction has just started on another one: the Arcotel John F. is being built directly opposite the Foreign Ministry in the centre of Berlin. It will be a 4-star hotel with 193 rooms, suites and apartments. The name derives, as you might guess, from assassinated US president John F. Kennedy.

The hotel is scheduled for completion in early 2009. Some more information on Arcotel's site (in German) is here.


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