A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor
Travel Tips

Hello Garrison & Co.
If you haven't already left Berlin, here are a couple of places to see Sunday. The former East Berlin TV tower & the museum that houses a real sputnik .. can't remember the name, sorry, but it is also in the former East Berlin. Lastly, if you have any more time and energy left .. take a tour on the Museum Insel, lots of beautiful buildings and things there. Oh, and stop on at the former East Berlin Opera Restaurant and get yourself a nice cup of coffee .. that is a must. Good Show ..
Mange Hilsner

Iben Cenholt
a dane in Connecticut

My half-sister lives in Berlin (Waidmannslust) so I have been there several times. She lives about 10 minutes from Tegel! My tip? Walk around the Eastern part of Berlin. You come appreciate what Communism did to that part of this great city. As you know the entire city is under construction but much of the east is still as it was at the time of "the wall" (what Berliner's call the time when the Wall came down). If possible, go to an Opera or a classical music concert. Tell THEM to through out McDonald's and Walmart! Ride the train out into the country side. Of course the southern part is prettier, but the entire country is wonderful. If you are still in Berlin on Sunday...go to the great flea market in the Tiergarten...close to the Brandenburg Gate. It is truly an international feast for the eyes, mind, and heart.

PJ Snodgrass

There is a gigantic building on the corner of leipzigerstrasse and wilhelmstrasse that was built in the 1930s to house hermann goering and hitler's airforce. it is a perfect example of nazi architecture.

after the war, it was (just barely -- it was right up against the wall) in east berlin, where it was used as the house of ministries for the german democratic republic. to celebrate the triumph of socialism over fascism, a wonderful socialist-realist mural was painted on the outer wall facing leipzigerstrasse.

after unification the building housed the treuhand, the controversial agency responsible for the privatization of east germany. now it is the ministry of finance. where else but berlin could a single building so dramatically reflect the twentieth century and all of its most important ideologies, from fascism to socialism to capitalism? It makes you wonder what's next.

It's a stone's throw from your hotel. and by the way, not only is the hotel adlon way too expensive for npr, but it is among the least attractive contributions to the developing berlin skyline. i mean, what's up with that fake green roof? wouldn't you rather be sleeping in the bank next door? i hope you are at least taking the s-bahn, another great contribution berlin has made to the world. and cheap -- it's something all those bublic broadcasting membership fees i scraped together as a student can justify.

hoping to see you saturday,
margarete weathers

Hi Garrison:
One thing that must not be missed in Berlin is Currywurst: a grilled sausage (pleasantly greasy), burried in a warm sauce that looks like ketchup but has a nice tangy flavor: hints of vinegar (no balsamico) and lots of curry powder, which is also dusted over the whole concoction in generous amounts. Ideally, the Currywurst is cut into pieces and eaten with a little wooden fork. They have little machines to cut the sausage, the kind you wish you'd had when you were canning string beans many summers ago, but back then you had to use a knife and after the first bushel you'd stop counting the cuts on your thumb. Currywurst comes with a small wooden fork and a crispy roll to scoop up the sauce.

Currywurst is the food the fueled the Wirtschaftswunder after WWII. It's a comfort food for those who want to take a break from being part of the brie-and-chablis crowd. It's a Berlin institution. Everybody congregates at Currywurst joints: professors, housewives, cabbies (and chefs from fancy-shmancy restaurants after midnight). Two good places to go to: Fleischerei Bachhuber bei Witty, right across the street from the Kaufhaus des Westens department store and the one at Kurfürstendamm 195 (this one might actually be pretty close to the theater). Enjoy!

Michael Kuehlen

Try to make time to visit the Check Point Charlie museum. It's a great tribute to those seeking freedom in the West. Tschuss,

R. Baker

Hi Mr. Keillor and the PHC Crew,
From my experience of living in Berlin since the early 70's, the one most useful tip I usually give to casual tourists in Germany is: " Don't jaywalk " Too many German drivers are stubborn, i.e., if the traffic light is green, they will drive through the pedestrian walk irrespective of if pedestrians are there or not. They will insist on having their right of way. You don't want to sample the hospital emergency room while you are here.

Restaurants are aplenty in Berlin, but one needs to look hard to find ones that serve good traditional German food in enormous portion, if one is into that kind of things. Try 'Hardtke' on Meineke Strasse near the Kurfuerstendamm or 'Hardtke' on Hubertusallee (at the western end of the Kurfuerstendamm). See you guys at the show. Uff Da !

With best wishes,
Quincy Liu

Dear Garrison,
Your timing may be a little off, sounds like you will miss most of Carnival or Fasching. Last year at this time I took a long weekend to Germany with my seventeen year old daughter. It took us a while to figure out what was going on in Frankfurt, but finally figured out it was Fasching. (Just because we are German does not mean we were familiar with our heritage.) Be aware the shops close early on Saturday afternoon and many are not open on Sunday. Possibly next year, the folks back in Lake Wobegon might want to practice Fasching. The public transportation is so great in Germany, or in Europe. Don't forget to hang on to your mass transit ticket till the end of the line. Don't be intimidated by the blonde military police at the airport with submachine guns. They give a whole new meaning to "the angle of death". (Check out which Kaiser is on their tee shirt!)

Bill Goehring

Mr Keillor & crew,
In Berlin, be sure to try the local dish called Eisbein. It is a pork knuckle, cooked so that it just falls off the bone and is quite tasty.

Wash it down with a Weizenbier, or Wheat Beer. The Berliner Weisse is a wheat beer with a shot of something raspberry in it. The straight stuff is better.

In the section of town not far from the Dom and the old arsenal, (which by the way now houses a wonderful museum of German History) there is the Nickolaiviertel, or Nicholai quarter. There's a brew pub called the Georg Braeu there, that will serve up both a good beer and eisbein.

Be SURE to zip out to Potsdam, and do not miss the chance to see Sans Soucci, the pleasure palace of Frederick the Great. Have a good trip. Wish I were going with you!

Since I saw him in Munich, I've always thought that Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester would be a natural for the PHC. Glad you've already arranged to have him on the show. Please Please Please ask him to sing "In meine Badewanne bin Ich Kapitaen" or "In my bathtub, I'm a ship's Captain."

J. Schonewise

Hi Garrison,
During 5 years in St. Louis, Mo, I became a avid listener of your show - and was most proud after I started understanding (some of) the jokes. Berlin was the place where I did my PhD and had a most enjoyable 5 years - with the radio playing in the background (most favourite show: Klassik zum Frühstück presented by Julian Brettingham-Smith uttering his flawless German with a beautiful touch of an English accent).

Anyway, Berlin needs to be discovered on foot. Walk through the streets of the Friedrichsstadt, visit the Bertolt Brecht Haus on the Chaussee Strasse and the adjacent cemetery, where Brecht and many other greats of German literature have been laid to rest.

Oranienburger Strasse and adjacent streets have much to discover, a Jewish quarter of sorts for example.

All the best.

Dear Garrison and Friends,
Almost two years ago, after my wife and I got married, we spent the summer in Berlin. For six weeks, I worked as a street musician while she studied German full-time. I can honestly say that Berlin is one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities -- all the culture and excitement of New York, without the crime, pollution and traffic. As Americans, you should have no trouble staying in Berlin. However, bear in mind that the public transportation system, at least when I was there, shuts down at midnight. I know firsthand because, one night, I had a gig on the opposite side of town from my apartment. I got out around 11:30 p.m. and, after getting hopelessly lost finding the train station, ended up walking home through the night, carrying my trombone. I arrived at 7:30 a.m., just in time to wake my wife up for class. Hopefully you guys have a tour bus.

Rob Enslin
Rochester, N.Y.

Take along a disposible scrapper for your shoes 'cause there is a lot of dog poop on the sidewalks. I'm not trying to embarrass the Berliners but it is pretty disgusting.


ps Hamburg is reportedly a much more exciting city


A wonderful venue for lunch is a modern bar called "The Barge" in Ranelagh. There are many rooms there, which are all big and bright with high ceilings and huge windows perfect for viewing; it overlooks the canal and is sufficiently on the fringes of the city centre not to be packed at lunch time. (Evening onwards is a different story!). The food is very good, of the home cooked/personally prepared variety and there are, of course, the usual plethora of liquid refreshments. A good place for a quiet comfortable lunch.

Conor Brennan
New York (and erstwhile of Dublin)

Dear Mr Keillor,
Two very interesting thing to do in Dublin are these: 1) St Michan's church in Dublin has some vaults below. What ever is the correct explanation, the fact is that the remains of several people who were buried there are surprisingly well preserved - like leather. So much so that they (used to) allow one to shake the hand of an honest-to-goodness Crusdader - from the crusades, the real crusades! It isn't one bit creepy even though it sounds like it would be. An added bonus is that George Fredrick Handel used to be the organist in this church and one can see the keyboard he used to play on. They used to allow visitors to touch and pretend to play on that keyboard. (Needless to say, it pre-dates plastic and accordingly the keys are made of bone/ivory and are *very* worn down from use.)

2) 20 miles north of Dublin is a magnificent big, ancient - as in the time of the pyramids- tumulus called "Knowth" It is surrounded by great big white stones (about the size of small cars) which were mined/quarried many miles away and somehow transported by the ancients to this site There is also a smaller tumulus close to it called "Dowth".

It is absolutely fascinating to go into the larger one. The entrance is by a long low tunnel - 75 feet long, 5 feet high - and on winter solstice but on no other day, when the sun rises, it shines directly down that tunnel into the central crucible. This place is awsome (in the true sense of the word). An interesting aside is this. When the President of France visited it 20 years ago or so, his minders would not let him go inside because they were afraid that his "button" might not work in there. [Sounds like an additional reason for him to have gone inside, if you ask me.] No doubt other people will recommend other touristy things to do. I hope you have set aside enought time! Regards.

Marcus O'Sullivan
Victoria, British Columbia

Dear Friends,
Of course, you have to go to Fitzsimon's Pub in Temple Bar, where practically every night there is traditional music and dancing (not to mention an immense crowd, so get there early). If you haven't already, you should also tour Dublin Castle (the underg round ruins of the original 12th century castle are amazing), Christ Church Cathedral (where Strongbow is buried), and all things literary (Oscar Wilde's House, the James Joyce Institute, etc.) There's a literary pub crawl that takes you to all the pubs where such famous writers hung out. The cool thing about Dublin, aside from everything else that's cool about it, is that everything you could possibly want to see is pretty much within walking distance of each other. It's a heavily populated city, but there's still that strong sense of community (missing in most American cities) that keeps the city centre grounded in spatial and interpersonal intimacy. It's an amazing city, and I'm absolutely jealous that you will be there and I won't!

Enjoy the Guinness!
Sean Tolley

Dear wayward midwesterners,
Absolutely do not miss the Dublin pub scene if you can find the time - amateur Irish musicians are a rare and exceptional breed. I was lucky enough to be in O'Shaunnesy's the night after Christmas to hear four absolutely top notch bouzouki players tear through traditional tune after tune until a guitar player showed up and they all semlessly switched to old timey American blues. Unbelievable. Some of the best music anywhere gets made in such sessions by regular people with day jobs, for the sheer joy of it. And as we were leaving, one of the zouk players mentioned that they were all a bit tired out from Christmas and the music was a bit slow that night.

Aaron Bady
Proctorville, OH

The only tip I have for your time in Dublin is to enjoy all the Guinness you can! (Bring back some to share, too!)

Mike Leckrone
North Manchester, IN

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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