Happy New Year

Well… we’ve arrived in the year 2005… I’ve just returned from a wonderfull trip to Berlin where I visited the 21st CCC congres together with 3500 other hackers, lockpickers, administrators and students. After half a day of travelling and half a day of walking/tramming through Berlin the conference began. Three long days filled with more then 200 lectures and workshops on various subjects.

I spent most of the first day fiddleing with the network, trying to get some form of internet connection, as my hostel only had T-mobile wireless… which didn’t agree with my dutch T-mobile phone ;) However, the CCC staf had some networking trouble, so that didn’t quite work yet either… I learned about the Freifunk network, which was also accessable from the conference. It is a mesh-based network, where all nodes are interconnected without a central hub or accesspoint. Connectivity with nodes outside of the congress-center was however quite limited so a internet connection was only sporadicly available.

The second day of the congress I actually managed to listen to some lectures, and the mesh-network also worked somewhat better, so I could finally upload my photo’s (as can be read in my previous posting). The third day I listened to some more lectures and visited the after-party at C-base (www.c-base.org). I heard that a total of 3500 people had attended the conference, which was about the limit that could fit in the Berlin Congress Center… It was really stuffed with people, especially as there were people sleeping, eating, drinking, internetting everywhere. The entire center was covered in smoke and ashes from the many smokers, the airco couln’t keep up and the basement housing the hackcenter was about 10 degrees warmer then the rest of the building.

After the CCC congress I had an extra day and a bit to visit Berlin, So I decided to take the U-bahn to the western half of the city, as I handn’t spent any time there yet, and It’s quite different from the eastern part which I’d already spent a couple of days in (as the BCC and my hotel where there, near alexanderplatz). I first went to the Zoo Bahnhof, and after a quick visit to the EasyInternet inet-cafe to check my messages I walked to Kurfurstendam (Ku-dorf), visiting some of the stores there like KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westes), Conrad and other electronics stores. I ended up at Nollendorfplatz and took the S-bahn to visit Potsdammerplats next, however, on the road these I saw the Deutsches Technik museum and made a short stop there to check it out. I didn’t have too much time, so I just checked out the entrance hall, some leaflets and the objects viewable from the outside, and then continuing back to Potsdammerplatz.

Potsdammerplatz has some wonderful buildings and a large semi-underground shopping area. After getting someting to eat and drink, and watching the activities there I headed to the Reighstag, wanting to visit the dome before it got dark. There was however a very long line to get into the building, so I just settled for some photo’s from outside and then wanted to go to checkpoint-charly, I walked in the wrong direction however (not knowing what to look for, I saw a large towing, thinking that might be it) and ended up at the Siegessaule. Getting pretty tired from the long walk I was looking for a S-bahn station… the nearest was Hansaplatz which was still quite a long walk away. By the time I got there and got into a train it was already getting quite dark.

I headed back to alexanderplatz and then my hotel to get some rest and something to eat. After having eaten twice in a little italien restaurant on the corned of Greifwalderstrasse/Pasteurstrasse (main-course 4 euro’s) I was looking for something else in the neighbourhood (as this was a very cheap area of berlin) that wasn’t italien, thai or indian. I finally found a little eat-cafe called Charly Cheese on the Hufelandstrasse. They had a variety of dishes, from greek to italien, german and american while also being very affordable.

After diner I went back to visit Hackisher Markt, as I figured there might be something to do there. There were some pubs there but I didn’t visit any of them… while walking through the area I was approached by prostitutes a couple of times… trying to get them to leave me without being to rude and obnoxious I went back to the hotel to get a drink there.

The next morning was the day of departure, so after sleeping in a bit and breakfast I checked out and left for Zoo Bahnhof again. Getting there with about 90 minutes remaining I visited EasyInternet again to use my remaining few minuted of Internet time, and after that expired, trying to hack the easyInternet system. I did get quite far, however there were still some layers of protection to be broken before I had free internet access. This would have to wait till next time, as I needed to get back to the station.

Arriving back in Amersfoort at 18:10 and picking up my car I was back home around 19:30. Fireworks was allready all around… with still a few hours remaining of the year…

It was definitly a good way to end the year this way… Berlin is a city to visit again some day… maybe even by car… It’s not as busy/full as I imagined or expected… though a bahn-card is recommended (at 25 euro’s per week).

Everyone… a happy new year, and the best wishes…

Check out the photo’s

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