Berlin

Babel….
Mission:  Get the washing done and dried. (Thus saving $NZ60 for one night’s accommodation at a local Camping Site, plus the cost of the washing and drying machines!)
Complications:  No suitable street map, no knowledge of what a laundromat is called in German and my regular, 9.a.m constitutional is pressing!
Plan:  Go to nearby dunny, which is a supa-dupa, stainless steel, electronic, high-tech pay toilet in the middle of a suburban shopping area and then find a Laundromat.
Equipment:   Cellphone and TomTom.
Staff:  Dennis
Weather: Wet (as usual).
Execution:  Made like penguin one kilometre to said dunny, put 50c in slot, promptly rolled out and door didn’t open!  Waddle to nearby Turkish Dairy with Internet Cafe, asks if he speak English?  He replies, “Little but good at German and Turkish!”  Explain dunny bung, recounted word on-screen of dunny’s instruction to see if it meant Kaput?  He’s not sure.  “How about I use yours?”  He said, “he no have one!”  I say, “What now?”  He suggests McDonald’s, 1 kilometre away, heart sinks, waddle off with smaller more rapid steps, occasionally stopping to think of England!  En route, spot 24 hour pub still going strong, think valour is the better part of discretion and walk straight through a crowded bar and find toilet.  RELIEF!  Walk out again, get grumpy glare from barmaid.   Back to unfriendly Turk at Internet Cafe.  Buy an espresso to sharpen brain for mission ahead.  Use Internet, Google Translate and establish that Laundromat means Wascher Salon.  Mention to Turk, “Ah..”  He gives me an address two kilometres away and points to general  direction to a different suburb.  He attempts to load said address in TomTom but does it wrong, I then reclaim TomTom and he gets mad with me and stomps off in disgust!  Address successfully entered, show Turk, we’re all friends again.  Walk in a brisk manner with 10 kg of laundry between five storey buildings which obscures GPS signals.  Get there in 45 minutes with a few minor mistakes (GPS’s fault).  I walked a 400 metre pirouette at one stage for no reason.  Find Wascher Salon at last with 40 machines, of three different types!  Next problem all the instructions are in German, but very clearly written.  Eventually, sort it out, put washing in machine, add own laundry fluid, go to the payment machine, misread instructions, figure out I have now fired up the wrong machine, with no laundry or detergent in it!   Friendly Krut helps out, Kiwi admits being stupid, away at last!  23 minutes later job is done.  Go to different machine and put in dryer.  Repeat same mistake, but not a problem because the machine inadvertently selected was already broken.  Drying complete, no problem, leave Wascher Salon after one hour with clean and dry laundry.  Next problem, where’s home?  I think it’s Treptower Park.  Do numerous aforesaid pirouettes on the way home, as GPS cuts in and out, think I need further input!  Speak to Fräulein nearby, very helpful.  Points me in completely the wrong direction, 120 degrees out.  Follow her instructions for ten minutes, toss up who makes more sense, a wonky GPS or Fräulein?  Decide to back GPS.  Eventually following GPS to Treptower Park.  Remember Treptower Park isn’t where we live, we live in Alt-Treptower Park, parked beside a park which is not Treptower Park, but in the suburb of Alt-Treptower Park.  Think, I have cellphone, text red-headed Frau via London back at motorhome (cost 28p) ask for the actual address at intersection.  Verify GPS is clever.  Four hours after leaving arrive at home, with the top layer of washing now damp again from all the rain, but saved over $50 for my trouble.

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