Monday 21 September 2009

Hallo Deutschland!

After not leaving Edinburgh for eleven months, I decided it was time to do al ot of travelling at once to make up for it. It's not like me to stay in one place for so long! So, after weeks of frustrating and complicated bookings through foreign language websites, I am finally on my way with a three week long journey around Europe of mighty proportions.

The first step was wicked fun. On 16th September, I awoke at 2.20am after three hours of sleep, to get ready to catch a flight to Berlin at 6.30am. At 4.30am Paddy (my beloved Irish man-thing) and I were on a bus to the airport. Having had little sleep and a scoffed slimfast shake breakfast, I was feeling a little crook and my brain was not in the best condition. The trip on the plastic aeroplane was somewhat rendered with anxiety but in the end, I survived, and we arrived on time in Germany.

My friend Saul who was living in Berlin was nice enough to meet us at the airport and help us find our way to the hostel. We stayed in the Sunflower Hostel, which was lovely by the way! Large bathroom with a nice shower, comfy bed, cheap and nommy breakfast, and the whole place had great character and atmosphere. The Common area even had a wee pond and was decorated so awesomely. I had a really nice time there, and met two Canadians who we spent quite some time hanging out with, Maiesha and Spiro.

We stayed in an area called Friedrichshain, the 'alternative' area, which was brimming with metal pubs and cool shops. Kebab shops were in no short supply, infact we pretty much ended up surviving on kebabs. I promised myself copious amounts of chocolate should I ever go to Germany, so that wish was fulfilled too. I bought a shit load of Tofiffee and flavoured milk. Most of our time was simply spend hanging out in the park, enjoying the sunshine and drinking beer. You can drink anywhere you like pretty much, so I felt like such a scummer wandering the streets drinking out of a wine bottle. I made the most of the cheap wine, mainly buying Saurkirsch Wein and Erdbeere Wein, but I did try Satan Beer, because I simply had to.

Berlin, at first glance, seems to be a grid of large, stern looking grey buildings which are covered in graffitti. But within those building are all sorts of amazing things. I wish I'd had more time and money to explore more, especially all the weirdly themed pubs and clubs.

On our first night after going for a kebab with the two Canadians, we all went to a metal pub where the cocktails were named after different metal bands. I had a 'Slayer' cocktail, which tasted like bubblegum candy.

On the second day, Paddy and I went on a nightmarish journey into the centre of the city to locate the start of the Sandeman's free tour. We were 15 minutes late, but made the tour anyway, phew! Feeling very thankful and relieved, we joined the tour, and had a really good time. There was a Danish woman in the group who was being a bitch, but other than that it was good. I got to see all the sights I wanted to see; the Berlin Wall, the site of Hitler's underground bunker, the hotel that Michael Jackson dangled his baby from out the window, the Reichstag, some though-provoking memorials, and lots of beautiful buildings. I felt feeling well informed but of course, I'll never understand all of the horror that the city once saw.

On the third day, we did bugger all, which was exactly what I wanted to do. I bought more Tofiffe, hung out in the park with Saul, Paddy, Spiro, and Maiesha, before once again, heading out to get a kebab.

I enjoyed Berlin, and found it relatively easy to get by in. I utilised my limited knowledge of German and overall had a good time :)

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