Following the trail of Scandinavian crime fiction – Sarah Lund, Copenhagen

Holiday season is upon us, and as if that’s not enough other work duties are taking all of my time so to make sure you have something to read on a regular basis for the next month or so we will be republishing some forgotten gems from the past. And adding new content when we can, of course.

Here’s the second of our Nordic Noir locations articles…

Scandinavian crime fiction is still riding the crest of a wave and we have been finding out how the various tourism offices have been capitalising on its popularity. As fans ourselves, it’s certainly fun to visit locations used in films and books too.

Even more fun to play at being Wallander or Sarah Lund for a day?

Er yes, I didn’t realise we’d been spotted…

It was the whisky drinking in Ystad and that jumper in Copenhagen that gave it away mate…

Image (c) BBC/DR/DR

Can we get back on topic please? Right, having wandered after Wallander in the lovely town of Ystad in Sweden it was time for Copenhagen and a few of the places used in “Forbrydelsen”.

What?

Oh right, “The Killing” as it’s known to you guys. The Danish television series was a massive hit in its home country when it came out in 2007. Indeed it was seen by almost half the population – imagine that in UK or USA terms and you begin to see why it stirred up international attention. The BBC in the UK sat on it for some reason but when it was eventually shown there it attracted more viewers than “Mad Men”. The BBC didn’t wait so long to broadcast the second series…

So Copenhagen is all fired up to make a Killing from fans then?

Well, actually no. The tourist board could learn a lot from Ystad about how to promote the connections with the TV series. I suspect they were rather taken by surprise and do seem to be working on it though. When we visited in the summer there was no mention of the TV series on the official website but they have now posted some details on a specific page. Annoyingly (and somewhat unforgiveably) a lot of the deeper links are broken and some of the location details are vague. But it’s a start, so there’s enough for independent travellers to mark on their maps. A better alternative is a guided walk with Peter and Ping (a small company that specialises in literary tours) but these are currently infrequent – again the summer season will presumably offer more regular tours.

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Hotel Review – Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Germany

[UPDATE: I stayed at the Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof in February 2012, this time in a studio apartment. Once again I had a wonderful experience and my top score of 6/6 remains in place – also for those travelling alone]

Having stayed at – and been wowed by – the Adina Apartment Hotel in Copenhagen, expectations were high when we arrived at one of the three properties Adina runs in the German capital. The hotel is about a ten minute walk from the new main station in Berlin (hence the name) or a couple of stops on the bus. If you’re travelling with more than hand luggage then it may be worth taking a taxi.

Ooh those lovely Berlin taxis. Are they all still Mercedes with leather seats?

Pretty much. It does seem rather grand if you’re used to South London mini-cabs but is basically par for the course in Germany. By the way the station itself is worth a look around; there are tracks running through the glass-dominated building on several levels, there’s practically a small town’s worth of shops and restaurants and the usual facilities for travellers. If you’ve seen ‘The International’ you can play out the opening scene on the area outside the entrance facing the Reichstag should you be so inclined.

A bit of a step up from the old Zoo station, right?

It certainly is; and gives arriving visitors a far better first impression of Berlin too.

Anyway back to the hotel…

Ah yes there was that. The Adina is located just over the former border in ex-East Berlin and to get there from Haupbahnhof entails walking past the site of the once notorious Invalidenstrasse checkpoint.

This was the scene of a failed escape attempt using a bus in May 1963 which was peppered by machine gun fire from the border guards and got wedged in a street blockade close to the Western side. The wounded would-be escapees were immediately arrested.

Plenty of grim stories have played out on these streets. Still, sounds like an ideal location for a place to stay then?

Yes, you’ve got the historic centre close by and Berlin’s excellent public transport system will get you wherever you need to go. There is also a bike stand for the fabulous scheme run by the German railway company DB right over from the hotel.

Okay, so we need somewhere to stay in Berlin…

Of course there are a mass of hotels to choose from but again if you are looking for a little more flexibility, travelling with children or planning to stay more than a couple of nights the Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof may provide the answer. Just as in Copenhagen, the property offers the facilities of an apartment (fully equipped kitchen, washing machine and dryer etc.) you get daily cleaning and concierge service and there’s a bar, restaurant, gym, sauna and an indoor pool.

Same kind of prices as in Denmark?

In fact the Adina in Berlin was a lot cheaper which makes it a real bargain. This is presumably due to the generally lower costs of accomodation in Berlin rates compared with Copenhagen. Once again the hotel runs about the same or less than a mid-range hotel and special offers are often available. Early booking will also ensure a good discount on the standard rate. Just as in the Danish capital families travelling with children will find an Adina apartment a much better deal than booking two hotel rooms and will be able to wash clothes too.

Okay, let’s have the low-down then…

Coming right up:

Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Platz vor dem Neuen Tor 6, 10115 Berlin, Germany  +49 30 2000 32-0
Email: abhb@adina.eu

Website: http://www.adina.eu/adina-apartment-hotel-berlin-hauptbahnhof/home

When?

Late July 2011

Vital stats:

Four stars. Built in 2005. 139 rooms over 7 floors

Location, location, location?

As mentioned above the apartment hotel is located near the main station in the Mitte district. In other words very central and ideal for exploring both sides of the former path of the Wall which is marked on the ground:

dsc_0915-640x377

What about parking?

Outdoor parking is available at extra cost. If you’re driving your own car, first of all don’t. But if for some reason you have to make sure you read up about the environmental zone which is in force in the city centre.

Why choose this place?

Continuing on from Copenhagen and travelling as a family on a two week holiday visiting several countries, the opportunity to wash clothes was a big plus. The rate was extremely good too for an almost identical one-bedroom apartment to the one we enjoyed so much in Denmark and we would have spent far more in a hotel. Again the pool was a major draw as was the proximity to the main station as we planned to take the train down to Tropical Islands to enjoy the crazy indoor water park.

Room

Again the same set-up as in Copenhagen: three different types of room – or ‘suite’ as they call them – studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom. Studios do not have full kitchen facilities (but do have a fridge, kettle and microwave) or washing machine/dryer. The one-bedroom we stayed in was perfect for the three of us but we needed to pay for an extra bed which was set up in the lounge area. The suites are modern, stylish and have everything you need. Washing powder can be purchased in single-use packs. There is a supermarket close to the hotel and you can also make use of a grocery delivery service.

You get an LCD TV in both the bedroom and lounge, a work desk, CD player, hair-dryer, mini-bar and safe. All rooms are non-smoking.

Carpets?

Yes, but once again immaculately clean. Wooden/laminate floors are our first choice in hotels but when they are kept in such perfect condition carpets can be okay too. May be a problem for those with allergies but I highly doubt it – and of course the hotel is non-smoking.

Bathroom

Modern bathrooms with underfloor heating and complimentary toiletries. Washing machine and tumble dryer (with powder and instructions). Combined bath and shower.

Free internet I hope?

No. The charges are not excessive but we will continue to campaign for free hotel Wi-Fi. At least there is a signal in the rooms too, unlike in Copenhagen.

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