Saturday, 28 December 2013

007 Travel story: Berlin (GERMANY) 2012

GERMANY: Berlin, 16 - 19th November 2012.

Pirita´s and Mika´s own trip for two 

Airline:  Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
Flights: Helsinki - Copenhagen - Berlin - Stockholm - Helsinki
199.21 € / person
Helsinki - Copenhagen, flight time: 1 h 40 min
Copenhagen - Berlin, flight time : 55 min
Berlin - Stockholm, flight time: 1 h 40 min 
Stockholm - Helsinki, flight time : 55 min

Hotel Sylter Hof BerlinKurfürstenstraße 114-116, Berlin
115.00 € / 2 nights, breakfast 10 € / person, booked via

Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin , Kurfürstendamm 27, Berlin
189.00 € / 1 night, breakfast not included, the hotel booked via hotel's own website

James Bond (Roger Moore) and Q (Desmond Llewelynin movie "Octopussy"
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

"Next stop Berlin"

Friday 16th of November 2012

We went by taxi to the Helsinki airport, and ate at Seasons restaurant, where the meatballs are good, but the pizza is not. We flew with SAS to Copenhagen, where was  a stopover. Later, during the trip we learned that there was a threat that SAS could fall to a bankruptcy, and we had no certainty how to get back to Finland. After short waiting, we changed the plane and flew to Germany Berlin- Tegel airport. Flight was on time. We got our luggage fast, and we took a taxi to Sylter Hof Berlin hotel, which is a three -star hotel, and there we had a suite with kitchen.

Mika @ Hotel Sylter Hof

After check-in we went to explore the environment and to our delight, we found the ad, with the two-time Formula One World Champion, Finland's own son Mika Häkkinen

Pirita & Mika Häkkinen

After that we went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum, which was easy to find. In the holidays we usually visit Madame Tussaud's, if there is such in the city. This was now the third one where we visited. Earlier ones were in London and New York and all of them are nice in their own way.

Mika and Bonowho with The Edgehas written a theme song in Pierce Brosnan movie  "GoldenEye"

Mika and The Beatles. Paul McCartney and the Wings performs a theme song
in Roger Moore  movie "Live and Let Die"

Blonde and intellectual. But which is which?

After the visit at the Tussaud's, we went to the Brandenburg Gate because it was near. The weather was pretty cold, probably below zero degrees of Celsius. Other places of the evening were the Potsdamer Platz, where is the fairly new shopping center ArkadenThere, we ate at Play-Off  restaurant. At Potsdamer we visited the Christmas market, and watched when people came down the snowy slope with large tires. We got familiarized to Berlin subway line also, which is nice experience with its S- and U- lines.

Brandenburg Gate

Roger Moore as James Bond and Brandenburg Gate as a background
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

We visited also in front of Hotel Adlon, which is mentioned in John Pearson's book 
"James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007"

In front of Hotel Adlon

"He used to travel to Berlin and always stayed at the Hotel Adlon."
(John Pearson: "James Bond, the Authorized Biography of 007") 

Saturday 17th of November 2012

We ate breakfast in the hotel, which cost 10 euros / person. It was very comprehensive. After this, we went to the Zoo Berlin, immediately after opening hours and we were able to walk there in peace. There we saw e.g. giraffes, elephants, rhinos and hippos.

Then we got hungry, so we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe to have lunch. Salads were good! And we had espresso for the dessert while watching people walking along the Kurfürstendamm.

"He walked to the Kurfürstendamm, sat in the Café Marquardt, drank an espresso and moodily watched the obedient queues of pedestrians waiting for the ‘Go’ sign on the traffic lights while the shiny stream of cars went through their dangerous quadrille at the busy intersection."
Ian Fleming"The Living Daylights"

This was followed by the famous Kaiser - Wilhelm - Gedähtnis- Kirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church). There was a facade renovation project going. 

Inside Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

James Bond and Kaiser Wilhem Memorial Church as a background
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

From the church straight to hell, that is, the KaDeWe department store (cf. Harrods in London), where Christmas season was started.

Then it was time to educate ourselves, and we went to the Salvador Dali exhibition. After that took a look at the Sony Center, and of course visited also the Deutsche Guggenheim. We had visited Guggenheim in Bilbao (Spain) which was huge and prestigious building inside and out. Similarly, the New York Guggenheim was seen, but only from the outside, and it looked nice as well. So there was quite a disappointment when we saw Berlin's Guggenheim. But of course we had to go out there because we had read somewhere that it will be closed at the end of this year. The place was located in a modest apartment building at the corner, just a single painting on the wall of the house told of its existence. And there was only one room, in one floor.

Sony Center

Deutsche Guggenheim

Then we hung out at Alexanderplatz, and we planned to go to the TV tower 360 ◦ (Berliner Fernsehturm). The ticket seller was honest; he said that from the top you cannot see anything due to heavy fog, so we didn't go. When you looked at the tower from its bottom, it was clear that you could not see anything from the top.

Then we tested using the tram and found DDR Museum, which was quite close. There was which plenty of interesting spy equipment and other objects. And also in addition: photos, cars, as well as furnished rooms from period of East Berlin time.

The spy at work

The sunset was already passed a long ago and we took a taxi and went to Bond Berlin. We took Martinis as aperitifs and ate the dinner. Food was named after James Bond and we ate hamburgers. The restaurant is playing Bond music, and the walls are covered with photos of Bond -movies and decorated with the Bond stuff.

Sunday 18th of November 2012

After hotel breakfast  we went by taxi to search some Octopussy filming locations. We asked the driver to drive along Bundesautobahn 115 - Federal motorway 115, towards Wannsee. Northern part of this road was earlier known as AVUS (Automobil - Verkehrs und Übungsstrasse - Automobile traffic and training road). It was used also as a motor racing circuit until year 1998). Bond connection comes when we reach the Hüttenweg exit. There in Octopussy movie Bond exits highway when escaping from police cars. We asked taxi to stop here (had to explain to driver why on earth we wanted to stop there) and while driver smoked a cigarette we took some pictures.

Hüttenweg exit

Bond at Hüttenweg exit in "Octopussy" movie
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

Then we continued to Wannsee, which is mentioned in the Ian Fleming short story "The Living Daylights". Historically it is also an important place: On 20 January 1942, senior Nazi officials met at the Wannsee Villa and kept the Wannsee Conference to plan the "Final solution" to the "Jewish Question" - the extermination of the Jews of Europe.

"Bond, closing his mind to the evening, debated with himself about ways to spend the afternoon. It finally came down to a choice between a visit to that respectablelooking brownstone house in the Clausewitzstrasse, known to all concierges and taxi-drivers, or a trip to the Wannsee and a strenuous walk in the Grunewald. Virtue triumphed. Bond paid for his coffee, went out into the cold and took a taxi to the Zoo station."

Ian Fleming: The Living Daylights"

Then we took subway back to the city, checked out from the hotel, and took our baggage to the next hotel's storage, because our room was not yet ready. We went walking along 
Kurfürstendamm e.g. to the place, where one scene of the "Octopussy" movie was filmed. This was the establishing shot where Bond and M drive along the Kurfürstendamm before ending up to the Checkpoint Charlie.

@ Kurfürstendamm

Kurfürstendamm in "Octopussy" movie
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

At this point, it was a good time to go to the City Circle bus tour to see some sightseeing from the bus. This tour lasted a little more than a couple of hours. We saw Berlin from the east and from the west. We spent some time around Checkpoint Charlie, which was one of the most interesting places on this trip.

007 @ Checkpoint Charlie
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

From "Octopussy" movie
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

Near Checkpoint Charlie there is a Back-Factory Cafe, which is Octopussy related coffeehouse. There we had lunch and took plenty of photos.

(Did you know: Filming of "Octopussy" started at 10th of August 1982 with a scene where Bond arrives to Checkpoint Charlie.)

After lunch we continued towards Kochstrasse and the Wilhelmstrasse corner where one of the house was mentioned in the Bond short story "The Living Daylights".

Corner of Kochstrasse and Wilhelmstrasse

"The ugly six-storey building at the corner of Kochstrasse and the Wilhelmstrasse was the only one standing in a waste of empty bombed space. Bond paid off his taxi and got a brief impression of waist-high weeds and half-tidied rubble walls stretching away to a big deserted crossroads lit by a central cluster yellowish arc lamps, before he pushed the bell for the fourth floor and at once heard the click of the door opener."
Ian Fleming: "The Living Daylights"

When the place was explored, we went right next door where was  Topography of Terror exhibition and then we visited it in front of the Berlin Wall.

Pirita at Berlin Wall

Bond at Berlin Wall
Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

Finally we reached to our hotel Kempinski Bristol Berlin, which is the Bond Hotel in the sense that it appears in the Bond book "Death Is Forever". It is located on the Kurfürstendamm Boulevard, which is quite a fancy area. We celebrated our last evening in Berlin in the hotel's Bristol -Bar, where we drank a couple of Martini's and ate Créme brulée's.

"When taxi took him towards Bristol Kempinski, Bond tried to look back without warning his followers by rolling on his seat."
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever"

Mika, Pirita & Martinis
"Bond ordered a Martini by giving exact instructions of making it. The waiter made a bow and said it sounded like a symphony, but it was unnecessary politeness because of 007"
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever"

We found rooms 207 and 202, which are mentioned in Bond book "Death Is Forever".

Bond's suite 207

"The thought crossed Bond's mind when he stepped into Kemp's pleasant luxury, where were relaxing pool of tropical fishes and order without rush. - Good afternoon, Herr Boldman. Nice to see you again, Herr Boldman. Suite 207, Herr Boldman, and if there is anything..."
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever" 

"Her voice sounded steady and Bond didn't recognize any fear in it. He left the suite and touched his ASP like it was a good-luck charm and he went along the corridor at the door of room 202 and knocked it" 
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever"

We visited also hotel's media center. During the evening, we were confirmed that there was no more SAS bankruptcy threat, so our flight should be still in schedule.

Public phone in the lobby

"At the main lobby in downstairs, Bond searched for public phone somewhere in the middle of leather and tropical fishes and chose direct international security line, which would offer him a connection to either Bill Tanner or M personally."
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever"

Later, we ordered food in our room and the butler brought the table and served our dinner. Kempinski Bristol Berlin is a nice 5 -star hotel which took care of us at all times, the staff came to our Junior Suite during the evening asking if we needed anything. Later we the put "Bitte nicht stören" - sign on the door.

Dinner at our room

"A silent knock to the door was a mark of well-groomed, young waiter, who pushed bread trolley with a large oval figured platter. It had an ordinary silver cover."
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever"

Monday 19h of November 2012

Because our hotel breakfast would have cost 25 euros, we went across the road to the Starbucks. Soon after, we went by taxi to the airport.

"From the moment he went through passport and customs control at Berlin's Tegel airport, James Bond knew he was followed."
John Gardner: "Death Is Forever"

Fog over Tegel airport

Our plane was delayed due to the fog, but in spite of this we were able to catch our connecting flight in Stockholm. We had to run a bit to catch the plane in Arlanda airport, but managed to do it and then finally we were about 15 minutes ahead of time in Helsinki. Another unforgettable city trip. :)


See the list of 007 LOCATIONS (visited), excluding 007 HOTELS (visited) and
007 RESTAURANTS (visited), which have sections of their own, please follow the links.