This month I've dipped in and out... hope to post more details later, but I just want to put something up in order to test out the blog.
Feb. 8-10 saw me in Berlin for the annual Country Music Messe, which this time was held in a new venue -- the "Postbahnhof" right next to Ostbahnhof. Til now, the fair had been held in the so-called Fontana Haus, a sort of community center in a concrete development way up on the northern edge of Berlin. Apparently, the Fair was moved out of there because of safety and security concerns. The new venue is much easier to get to, and this was reflected in the huge numbers of people who crammed the space on Saturday. Most appeared to be from surrounding areas of (former) East Germany; it was easy to come into town, arrive at Ostbahnhof and then just stroll across the street to the Fair -- rather then ride the Metro and bus for nearly an hour to get to the former venue. It led to the amusing scene of cowboy figures hanging out in the train station or jamming the fast food joints at the food court there -- the catering opportunities at the Fair left a lot to be desired. I waited for 20 minutes in line to get a Bratwurst and then decided to walk the 3 minutes to Ostbahnhof, where I had my choice of the finest in fast food offerings....I settled on actually quite good, freshly made Pad Thai at an Asian noodle joint.