First, some background. Berlin has three airports: Tegel, Tempelhof, and Schönefeld. Schönefeld is already the biggest and the furthest out from the city, where there is more room. It is currently being expanded to become Berlin-Brandenburg International. Once that happens, the plan is to close the other two. Tempelhof is nearly unused now — we had the pleasure of flying out of Tempelhof last year to go to Belgium, and our flight was literally the only one in the airport. How often do you show up at the airport to find it empty? We just walked up to the counter and checked in, went to security (where there was no line) and went on our way. It was great, but perhaps not the most efficient use of the airport. The airstrips at Tempelhof are not long enough, as I understand, for the big jetliners, so it can only be used for some shorter flights. In that sense, the airport’s days are certainly numbered, since there is no room to expand the runways — it’s city all around.
However! Tempelhof was also the main airport used during the Berlin Airlift in 1948-9. Over two million tons of supplies were delivered during this amazing operation, most to Tempelhof. So there is a lot of sentimental support for keeping it open, and the debate about what to do with the prime real estate, if it is in fact closed, continues.
What does this have to do with parades? Well… we went to see the KarnevalsZug parade this weekend, a Berlin Mardi Gras celebration. While there, I was a little surprised to see an artistic rendition of Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, on the throne. Not the throne of Berlin.. but, you know, the ceramic goddess. Just take a look, and hopefully with the short background introduction I have given, you’ll get the message. THF is the airport code for Tempelhof.
I thought this was pretty funny and I also thought, “Wow somebody must be really fired up about this Tempelhof thing to build that float.” I’d like to know the backstory on the financing, as I have some suspicions, but it was pretty entertaining anyway. Not the most flattering portrait I’ve seen of good ole Wowi (that’s VOH-VEE), but funny.
Now, if we’d have gone down to Düsseldorf for the Rose Monday parade, we could have seen some awesome political floats. They even had one in honor of Super Tuesday (Reuters picture below)! More here!