Postcard from... Berlin


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The Independent Online

It would be enough to make Basil Fawlty foam at the mouth. Not only do they build today's Bentleys and Minis – they also do Britain's best bed and breakfast.

This year's Traveller Choice Award for the UK's best B&B has gone to Wolfgang Herrlinger, the 58-year-old German proprietor of Bath's Athole Guest house. His establishment won the highest accolade in an online ranking competition.

"First it's the penalty shoot-outs – now the Germans make the best English breakfast," scoffed the Western Daily Press. But whereas the achievement appears to have gone largely unnoticed in Britain, it was one of the "most viewed" news items online in Germany last week. Mr Herrlinger came to Britain over 15 years ago. He has been running his B&B in his Bath stone house for a decade.

The secret to his success is bread. Mr Herrlinger admits to baking at least four different types for his guests every day. It comes on top of a"full English" with baked beans, sausages and eggs. But as German commentators noted, Mr Herrlinger evidently has another secret weapon: he hails from the southern German region of Swabia. The Swabians, are renowned for their industriousness and they have flocked to Berlin in large numbers since the fall of the city's Wall.

They were recently accused by Germany's former parliamentary president of swamping the city. Others point out they have set up many successful small businesses.

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