LesArcsMassage

Thursday, 20 February 2020

First day of Tour de Tarentaise training

I made a video about my first ride. There is some information in there. Not lots, but some.


Cycling eh?

Thursday, 3 January 2019

This Year's 20 Top Tracks - A Playlist for 2018 (part 2 of 2) feat. Classic Memes

Welcome back to this, the tepidly-anticipated conclusion to my year's most-played mixtape of madness. It's the top ten people! In line with recent attempts to finish an assignment in the wrong number of days, this one now approaches the subject with memetics in mind or, more specifically, classic macro-image memes. Sound fun? No, you're right it doesn't. But prepare for surprise because it (vaguely) is. If nothing else, it contains pictures. Everyone like pictures. So, cease all activities thou art engaged in, for the hour of "hammer" is upon us.

10. Pills - St. Vincent

Technically Masseduction was released at the end of 2017 but, taking in to accoubt my general slow uptake of things, it totally qualifies. Also, the album's up for awards in 2019, so must be vaguely relevant. The thing with "Pills" is it's horribly catchy. Really, really catchy. Like air-borne diseases. Then, towards the end it goes all complete-change-of-pace like the piano part of "Layla" but less epic. Still a little bit epic. 

Hide the pain Harold
Hide the pain Harold

9. Beautifully Unconventional - Wolf Alice

Not really sure where this one came from. However, it's pretty pared-back and simple. It's also only about two minutes long. Reminds me entirely of The Asteriods Galaxy Tour - Golden Age, which you might remember from a Heineken advert years ago, or at least some of their other songs. Not too complex. I want to say that John Peel would like it, although I'm not entirely sure why. Also not sure why living and breathing is unconventional. Apparently it is. Still good.


Condescending Wonka

8. Fine Day - Keanu Silva

This came on the radio and I was like "I love this song, I've not heard this in years." Yet, it apparently came out in 2018. This suggests to me that it is a remix of some previous incarnation. Internet searches throw up literally tons of stuff, but it seems Opus III were rocking this in the mid-90s. That, in turn, came from a quite-frankly frightening a cappella song called "It's a fine day" by Jane from 1983. Seriously, she makes me see dead people. The Keanu Silva version is the best. It has more sound. Also, it markedly does not contain the line "we will have salad."


Doge

7. Bedford - Too Many Zooz

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssss! If you like baritone saxophone, trumpet and The King of Sludge, you are going to like this. We saw them play Brise Glace, Annecy in November, so that's very 2018-y. It was awesome. Not entirely sure how people play brass instruments and dance. It pure instruMentalism. Bedford is an easy choice, although the "Car Alarm" track they do is also amazing fun. It's all so high tempo. The one shame is that, towards the end of their set, they did a number with a drum machine making a filthy bass noise, and I can't find anything of the like on the internet-web. That was a tune. Big dirty noise and horns. Boom.


Brace Yourself

6. I-E-A-I-A-I-O - System of a Down

All the songs that sample the Knight Rider theme tune are awesome. Granted I can only name this and the bhangra one by Punjabi MC from back in the day, but still holds true. System of a Down are excellent. Yes, it took me far too long to find this track. Yes, I'm generally way behind the curve, or even completely unaware that the curve exists, but this is a tune. One flag, flaggy but one.


Batman Slap


5. Foundations - Kate Nash

So this track was a late, late entry. Which makes little sense because it's quite old. We started watching GLOW recently, which I'm still not convinced was a worthwhile idea, but we continue. However, it incidentally has Kate Nash in it, who is a musician that neither of us really knew. As far as I can tell, this is her stand-out hit. I discovered this two days before 2019 and have played it lots since then. I reckon it does what "Marlene on the Wall" or even "Gone 'til November" do, which is start sparse and keep adding instruments with every verse, keeping a catchy/easily-singable/naturally-rhythmical chorus which drives on the narrative. You then end up singing along. It also has an element of pathos in the ultimate crescendo. I think it's good and emotive. Others disagree. I will continue to play it ad nauseum until I'm bored.


Distracted Boyfriend


4. Sticks n' Stones - Jamie T

Actually follows a similar formula to "Foundations" above. Furthermore it's also really old and no-one understands that I missed it first time around. I was probably busy. This may be my most-played track of 2018, just 'cause I stick it on repeat a lot and try to figure out how it works. It's kind of nostalgic too, even though I only found out about it this year. Weird, non?


Bad luck Brian

3. Thrift Shop - Macklemore and Lewis

Yeah, there aren't a lot of 2018 tracks in this top ten. I don't care. This has such a nice loop and hook. I'm not sure I, or anyone else, should really like Macklemore and Lewis, but it's so easy too. Just a fun, play it loud, going-out, party-type track. Oddly, puts me in mind of "Be Faithful" by Fatman Scoop and Rizzle Kicks; not a lot, but a bit. Better though.


Obi Wan Kenobi

2. DNA - Kendrick Lamar

The backing track off this is amazing. I can't think of a song that starts so instantly awesome and it's all down to that backbeat that's deep, low and full of delicious hip-hop tradition. Also, it's lyrically incessant, piling it on until its thick and rich. Like a cake containing fudge, dark chocolate and liqueur. Then, just as you think you're getting to the end, it kicks-off in a minimalist way. Great track. Great album. Sometimes you just need this.


Archaic Rap

1. Oh Hector - NIKO IS, Thirstin Howl III and Colours of the Culture

#1, or ##1 (hastag number 1). Party track! To be played loud. Found this in a really round-about way. Was looking into seeing Dub FX, then saw a video of him with Talib Kweli on a bus going around SXSW with Niko IS who absolutely killed it. That put me onto this track, and I never looked back. Got some Brazilian samba (I think, not good at musical classification) in the background, and some language-flipping going on. Also, kind-of old-school thing going on. It's amazing. Don't know why I'm trying to explain it, or any of these songs to be fair. Listen to them. You will be enriched. Absolute banger.


Left Exit 12 Off Ramp

That's it. Finished. Not much to add. Perhaps I'll give some "special mentions to tracks that didn't quite make the list, obituaries-style (ie slow and black and white). "Wasting My Young Years" - London Grammar. "Trogdor" - Strong Bad. "23" - Jimmy Eat World. The Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band - PIMP. "Kill Yourself" - Bo Burnham."Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo. "No Roots" - Alice Merton.

That will do. That's what I listened to a lot in 2018. Also, the memes may have been fun. I've tried to maintain thematic fidelity even if they're not that funny. 

Happy New 2019 everyone!

Monday, 17 December 2018

This Year's 20 Top Tracks - A Playlist for 2018 (part 1 of 2)

Hello all.

I, once again, interrupt the seemingly never-ending review of German motorcycling fun for an end-of-year special. It's around this time (well, usually between Christmas and New Year) that the TV, radio and practically every other media outlet is getting all nostalgic about events that have unfolded in the past year. Jumping on that particular bandwagon, my addition to the oeuvre is this: my top musical listenings of the past 12 months.

Now, there's an important thing to note here. Not all of these tracks actually came out in 2018. This is a chart of what I have been listening too, normally because it's good and new to me. Some of the following are therefore a bit older. However, they are still good. I promise. So without further "Freddy Adu," here are the hits in countdown fashion (may not be hits).

20. Fake ID - Riton feat. Kah-Lo

Got to start with a tune from this year (that's 'tune' with a variable vowel length). Also, got to love the pared back beats and general vocals/lyrics. One for playing in a van. Not sure why. I was tempted to go with Riton/Kah-Lo's earlier "Money," because it's probably had equal playtime this year and has a real Summer vibe. But it was released in 2017, so I went for Fake ID.

19. Vingt sur Vingt - Kacem Wapalek

This is very gentle and melodic hip-hop. Real chill-out shizzle. You've got to love Kacem's lyrical flow and the nigh-on Elysian (again, super-pared back) very-slightly-cut-up classical track in the back. We almost went to see "ce mec" Kacem in Lyon earlier this year, but it didn't quite happen in the end. It's not from 2018, but very few of these songs are. I'm generally a bit slow.

18.  Girls - Joey Purp feat. Chance the Rapper

First of all, this song is hilarious: from the knowing backbeat incorporating random noises to the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Again, it's pretty lo-fi, which is interesting. Simple drums, simple beats, vocal-led. That's what I seem to like this year. Also, the video is a joy. I generally don't know music videos any more, but this one verges on the surreal.

17. Only Getting Younger - Elliphant feat. Skrillex

Finally, something a little more upbeat. Also contains swearing and dirty, dirty noise. Good old Skrillex. When you want unconscionable post-hardcore dubstep, Skrillex is generally a good go-to. He also does a surprisingly good job at soundtracking kids' films (see Wreck-it Ralph for more details). Again, a bit older than this year, but not to me so literally qualifies.

16. Shotgun - George Ezra

I'm not sure I should like this. I'm not even 100% certain that I do like this. It's sort of everything that I lament about chart music but... it is catchy. Also, there was an end-of-stage-highlights closing credits for the Tour de France this summer where they had done a frankly excellent job in making the music fit the montage. Geraint Thomas was having the ride of his life, the sun was shining, people were celebrating cycling and the great outdoors rather than donning gilets jaunes and setting light to parked cars. It was a simpler time. So, yeah, not sure if I like it really, but it definitely makes me feel something. That's what we should be aiming for, right? Oh, and it's from 2018 too, which is a plus point.

15. 1492 - Counting Crows

Following the above contemporary music, here is something a bit older. I'm not sure where it came from, why I wasn't aware of it earlier or even what it all means, but ooo-eee it's a track alright. Driving drums and guitar, building excitement, singing, it's got it all. At one stage Adam Duritz channels Dave Grohl ("I am the king of everything, I am the king of nothing"). It's a rollicking good rock track. Also love the semi-euphoric, unintentionally-perfect harmonising towards the end. Yes. I don't care that it's ten years old. Yes.

14. Thirteen - Johnny Cash

If the last one was old, then this is ancient. Johnny Cash has been dead since practically the start of the millenium. Back then Will Smith was vaguely regarded as a musical artist. Anyhow, this is a great cover. I think there's some phrase about "being able to sing the phone book and it sounding great" and that sort of applies to Johnny Cash, although I'm not sure "sing" is the right verb. I've also recently got into his version of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails, but the original is better (well, the original (quiet) version is my favourite, but you get my drift). Anywho, this is exactly the sort of song where you can pretty much ignore Danzig and accept that Cash nailed it.

13. Taki Taki - DJ Snake et al

This is a song from 2018 which I like. I'm not proud of it. I do like saying "taki taki" though. Who doesn't? It makes me think of FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team when they were unstoppable around 2008-onwards. That was technically tiki-taka, but that's association for you. In terms of the music, it's got a pretty Latin vibe and plenty of Spanish lyrics which definitely influence that whole feeling. Apparently it also falls into the musical genre of moombahton, which sounds like some sort of multi-player online game featuring Thai currency.

12.  The Louvre - Lorde

Not quite 2018, but 2017's pretty close. Also, I was probably busy/asleep when it came out. It's all a bit The XX-y, and you have to love the "boom boom boom" part followed by some heavy, thundercloud-type bass. It's standard Lorde understated and atmospheric. It's probably the bass I like most. Good. I also liked the "Supercut" track and "Green Light" off the same album, most likely in that order.

11. Yoga - Janelle Monae feat. Jidenna

OK, so if you've read any of this blog, you may remember when we went to Paris to see Janelle Monae. It was good. This wasn't actually a stand-out track at the time (I'd give that to Cold War or Django Jane) but it has settled nicely into my list of regularly-repeated tunes. It's funky. Apparently it's the second best song of 2015 (according to Time) after, wait for it, Years & Years by King. Clearly a slow year for music ("I dreamed you dreamed of me calling out my name" I know it's a dance track but WHAT?!?) Back to "Yoga" though, that's genuinely good, regardless of what Time think.

Part 1 over...

So that's enough of that for the time being. Tune in soon for the continuation of do you remember now that's what I call this year's best top of the pops countdown playlist of 2018 special! It's going to be explosively unpredictable...

 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Germany Epic 7: Weimar

Beer and bowling

I don't know how much you know about the Weimar Republic. I know that its pretty much accepted as the name for Germany between 1918 and 1933. However, having been to Quedlinburg, we then took a ride down to Weimar, so I learned literally nothing more. It was Sunday, we'd taken a ride down some pretty fun roads before heading more directly to ournew (and fairly posh) hotel on the outskirts of Weimar. We had passed through the city centre, noting that there was nothing really going on. Thereafter we decided to do pretty much bugger all. We ordered pizza, which came with the best salad ever and then went and used our private bowling alley. It wasn't really a private alley, but it was in the hotel, in its own tiny bar and you could reserve it. So we had a bar/bowling alley to ourselves. That was pretty much all we acheived in Weimar. The town might have been lovely, but who knows? Watching TV, eating pizza and having an hour of bowling was quite sufficient for us that day.
Like Tina Turner's private
dancer, but instead of a
dancer, a bar, and instead
of Tina Turner, no-one.

That's the "problem" with the way we travel. We're not good at stopping. We cover a lot of ground, see everything we can (or not, in the case of Weimar) and move on. This is a very whistle-stop way of doing things, but at least you don't end up in boring places for long. We also got to do a lot of motorcycling around some pretty lovely roads, although the weather wasn't always great (one particularly mountainous bit of the way to Weimar was a bit foggy/wet/twisty which wasn't the best). But yeah. Still a joy.

Germany Epic 6: Quedlinburg

Wow. It has taken me far too long to continue with this. Suffice to say we were in Quedlinburg just over 14 months ago. Everything I'm about to say is still relevant though, so don't go anywhere.

Quedlinburg is awesome. Fully amazingly awesome. It is definitely in the top five towns I've been to anywhere ever. I'm tempted to think it's very, very close to being number 1. When an English town has a timbered building, people will think it's charming and the twon will literally build a tourism strategy around it. Quedlinburg is all timbered buildings. All of it. It's spectacular. Oh, and it has an incredible Rathaus. And a castle. And a Käsekuchenbäckerei.... What do you mean, what's a Käsekuchenbäckerei? It's exactly what it says it is: a cheesecake bakery. Although the direct translation doesn't quite express the full magnitude of what they do there. Baked cheesecakes served in wedges which could end a non-lactose intolerant elephant. I know what you're thinking, "pics or it didn't happen." Well.
An oven full of cheesecakes with cheesecakes on top.
I mean. That's a pretty German picture. The bakery has been around forever and was within a short distance of the castle. It was great. Also, apporximately two minutes away was a genuine brauerei which served its own fully-delicious German beers. I think we tried four different types and were none the worse off for doing so.

We actually stayed in Quedlinburg a couple of nights, which was an excellent choice. This gave us sufficient time to take a ride out to Thale (because we weren't motorcycling enough)
Don't look down. Why not? You might be afraid of
heights. Well I'm not. OK, good, do what you want
then. I will. Good.
and enjoy a chairlift/gondola ride up to the top of the Tierpark Hexentanzplatz, which is a park on a big hill/mountain with spectacular views over the generally flat surrounding countryside. Hexen means (or at least is aligned to) witches. There was therefore a lot of witch-related stuff going on at the top of the hill including, but not limited to, an upside-down house, brass naked witch sculptures and various stalls selling black-magic-type souvenirs. It was clearly a place people went, which seemed a bit odd. We had a bit of a wander around, decided that too much walking in leathers was a terrible idea and took the gondola back down. It was fun/weird.

Really quite weird
There were probably any number of interesting things that happened in Quedlinburg. It was the sort of place that people go to chill out, wander about, eat a sausage in the square and go for a nice meal/beer in the evening. I really can't recommend it enough.

Because we were staying in a nice little apartment (in a timbered building obvs), we popped out of town to get cheap dinner provisions one evening to the local Lidl (or whatever it was, that or Edeka or Pennymarkt, one of the good/cheap ones). I think it was here that we first realised how beer with caffeine/coke/coffee is a thing in Germany. Despite the fact they have such strict laws on what can or can't be called beer, they then seem to like adding it to everything! Often called Diesel or something similar, we bought a couple. It's interesting. Like drinking beer and coffee at the same time. Very like that.

Anyway. Keeping it brief. Here're some more pictures of Quedlinburg.

Kasekuchenbackerei anyone?

Quedlinburg from the Castle
Looks like Pudding Street, or Ankh-Morpork...


Monday, 10 September 2018

Paris sera toujours Paris (also Troyes, Chablis and parts of Burgundy)

Hello and welcome to another interlude in the as-yet uncompleted story of a trip around Germany. This is a much more succinct story giving plenty/some/a modicum of useful information about Paris and a small amount about Troyes.

Last week, James, our good friend and celebrated author of The Almost Lizard came to visit sunny Les Arcs, with a view to later taking a fairly long road trip to Paris via Troyes. In this piece, I'm going to largely ignore what we did in Les Arcs, as it's essentially home and I probably go on about that enough. Thus I'm going to concentrate on the road trip and fun found therein. We had a lovely old time, and this is what I learned...

Troyes

What a lovely French city. Full of wobbly timbered buildings, some of which contain really generic shops (like Claire's Accessories, which is apparently a thing in France as well), the pedestrianised centre is very charming and filled with a variety of restaurants and bars. There is a tiny Ruelle des Chats (Alley of the Cats), which isn't as bad as it sounds, loads of old buildings, a ton of churches and plenty more to recommend it. We've been there before and we'll undoubtedly go there again.

Paris (Pantin)
Firstly, driving into Paris is very interesting indeed. Other than the Peripherique (which is really an "inner" ring road) they have tried to belatedly create a system of motorways which vaguely improve travel around the city centre. It means the roadways are quite frankly the most confusing thing ever envisioned. If you look at any online map system during rush hour there will be literally innumerable crashes punctuating the entire road network. When you've driven on them, you realise why.

We were staying at an Ibis Budget (represent) in Pantin, which is just outside the Peripherique in the 19eme arrondissement. Although our direction of approach made it seem a bit rough around the edges, actually the area was pretty cool. It was clearly gentrifying and had a few cool bars without being (at all) pretentious. From near the Town Hall, you can join the Canal de l'Ourcq which travels in towards the city centre, via the Parc la Vilette and outwards to somewhere far, far away. This was a good/great thing as our primary reason for being in Paris was to attend a Janelle Monae gig at La Grande Halle in that very park. It was therefore nearby and accessible.

Anyway, the reasons I thought Pantin (and indeed the positioning of our hotel) was great include:
The canal is an absolute hub of activity. Loads of running, cycling, impromptu fitness groups, daytime graffitti (by very polite and talented artists) and socialising with a beverage at the canalside. The exercise went on from first thing in the morning to very late at night. There is a very bijou bar called Jardin 21 which is a lovely outdoor mix of allotment and bar next to the canal. They do an interesting selection of drinks and can furnish you with pizza too.
Near Pantin station (on RER line E, unfortunately just in zone 2 so slightly more expensive) there is a shop which seems to be called both "Coffee Spot" and, more importantly, "Chicken Spot." That's right, a fairly low-quality (that doesn't mean bad) chicken shop à la South London. But you can get an Orangina with your chicken fillet burger.
The nearby Parc la Villette contains any number of cool buildings and places to visit. In addition to the excellent Grande Halle concet hall, there's a very shiny architectural goliath housing the Philharmonie de Paris, a City of Science and Industry, a cinema on a boat, a cinema not on a boat, a Geode (which is a huge silver ball containing... erm... joy?) and all manner of outdoor installations (from a deconstructed, half-buried, giant bicycle to a garden of mirrors). Awesome place. Also, even before the gig, you could get a pint of Grolsch at the venue bar for €5.
Furthermore, there had been a bit of gentrification along the canal (the BNP Paribas building being possibly the most obvious thing) but not too much. Pantin was definitely keeping it real.
Oh, and the (free) Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, displaying a small but quality collection of modern art, was definitely worth a visit. The building was a nice space and the collection on the theme of Waves (I think) was well curated. 

The Rest of Paris (the real bit)
I tell thee. Paris is not a bad old city. There are a lot of tourists. Some places smell a bit like piss (although with free public toilets being few and far between, and some "luxury toilets" charging €2 for entry, this seems fairly understandable). But generally the boulevards are epic, the buildings are grand, and there is plenty to see.
There's a lot of security around the Eiffel tower. There are also lots of young men selling cheap, tacky souvenirs on blankets at pretty much every tourist spot. Buying a coffee near a landmark is a terrible idea, unless money is no object. There are some free public toilets but they seem to all be "stand-alone" and, especially around the main tourist spots, often have a queue. This is generally exacerbated by the fact that after every "use" the toilet wants to clean itself like an OCD cat who has fallen into a vat of jam. There is a good and interesting selection of trains on both the Metro and RER (a double-decker train underground is a joy to behold. I could watch the traffic going around the Arc de Triomphe endlessly. Which is lucky, because if you want to take a picture in Paris, expect it to contain at least some traffic. Anyway, there's a lot to see. Have some pictures...





Janelle Monae
I feel like I should talk about the gig, because it was very good, but without talking extensively about the music I cannot really do it justice. Suffice to say it was an excellent stage show featuring a very talented artist in conjunction with some highly-skilled musicians and dancers. Plenty of variety of sound, with JM at times channelling both Michael Jackson and Prince. Not 100% sure about the section where members of the general public were invited on stage due to their "having the juice" before then perfoming a short dance whereafter they were, once again, told "you have the juice." But otherwise a very enjoyable evening.

After Paris - Chablis, Fleurie and Burgundy in general
Once we had finished in Paris, and James had headed to the airport to return to England, we went to Chablis. We did this for wine reasons. It's harvest time, so there were lots of tractors transporting lots of grapes to lots of small wine producers. The area around Chablis is fascinating (a point we learned during a cheeky degustation), with specific areas providing the grapes for Petit Chablis, the vast majority of vines falling under the wider "Chablis" grouping, then a selection of particular climes (or areas) yielding grapes for the Premier Crus, and only seven small areas (making up only about 2% of the wine-growing in the entire area) being special enough for the resulting wine to be described as Grand Cru. Chablis itself was a very cute little town and well worth a visit. We enjoy a little glass whilst watching the tractors go by. We stayed at the campsite, unleashing the Robens Fairbanks (tent) for the first time this year.  

The following day, we "enjoyed" another few hours of driving before arriving in Fleurie. There, having noted that the air was flavoured with the pervasive smell of wine, we sampled a few reds and whites from the Burgundy region before retiring to a vineyard near Juliénas which was also a very small campsite. There we were able to have a private wine-tasting involving a number of local wines both cultivated and produced by Franck Besson and his family. This was an excellent choice. We ended up buying a bottle of sparkling Crement (for drinking that very evening) and a bottle of red. These wines are not available in the shops and are exclusively supplied to restaurants and bars in France and America. It was fun. We did wake up when the church bells went mad at 7.30am (is it to get the grape-pickers working?) but that was not bother. Oh, and the campsite was filled with fun plants and trees, like partitions of bamboo, fig trees, pear trees, apple trees and all kinds of other stuff.

Visiting wine-making regions is excellent fun.

Summary
It was a fun week. We came home alive with additional bottles of wine. Now to get hold of Django Jane and Cold War by Janelle Monae...

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Germany Epic 5: Berlin

There is a team from Berlin called Hertha Berlin. There is a hot dog/frankfurter manufacturer called Herta. Are these things related? Concomitantly probably not. Thematically, yes.

Berlin is full of bears. Terrifying golden bears pulling chariots wherein another golden bear rides whilst making a "raise the roof" motion with his large golden paws. This happens in built-up areas and even multimedia complexes containing restaurants, cinemas, offices and cafes.

We stayed on Englische Strasse, near to the Tiergarten on the old "Western" side of the city. When we first arrived we went for a walk, found a laundrette (which would become relevant later) and generally saw what we could see. This perambulation included the Brandenburg gate, much of the Tiergarten, a long walk through Kurfurstendamm (or ku'damm as it's known), the Reichstag with it's big glass dome and comprehensively ugly anti-terrorism system, and an intense rain storm. After this big loop, we returned briefly to the hotel before going for two beers, one on a boat, one a short distance away in the park. I recommend the Schleusenkrug beer garden in the park although the Capt'n Schillow boat/resto/bar was by no means a bad choice.

The next day we rented bikes from the hotel and went a-riding. Yes, I know we had a motorbike already, but completely different. We saw lots of bits of Berlin wall and went to the Topography of Terror museum which is by no means fun but very worthwhile. We checked out some of the Eastern side, via Checkpoint Charlie, including the Museum islands. At Alexanderplatz we ate sausage from a street vendor (classic). Oh, there was a lot to see and do. We went to Wedding too. Riding around town is fun and effective. In the evening we put a wash on at the laundrette and, whilst it was running, managed to have an entire meal at a very nice Thai restaurant on the Ku'damm.

Overall we packed a load in. Things I had previously forgot: we went to the Bauhaus museum, which wasn't fantastic (it was a bit small) and saw/walked through the huge "monument" to the holocaust, which was impressive. The weather was not the best, but it was not too bad and we never got so wet it was uncomfortable. The B&B hotel was excellent. I really like B&B hotels. I even like their mint chocolate-chip colour scheme.

After two days and nights in Berlin (and one full day of not motorcycling, substituting bicycles as our methadone), the next day we were back on the road and off to one of the nicest places in the whole World...