Friday, 1 February 2013

Berlin

Wow. This city is seriously amazing. Me and Louise decided from day one that we didn't want to be tourists in Berlin, but rather go to cafes and go op-shopping. I arrived on Monday, and Louise and I were ecstatic. A big city with cars, asian food, English signs, and young people at every turn! It felt like coming home after Wroclaw.

The first evening we tried Currywurst, a Berlin meal. Its pretty much a huge sausage covered in tomato sauce and curry powder. Surprisingly delicious. Then still buzzing from the new setting, we walked around the local streets. The first shop we hit was turkish, selling Baklava, our favourite sweet from Turkey. Then the second shop was also Turkish, but selling German frites, which were cut like crisps but were wedges. We also bought flavoured Ayran from the shop. We walked past graffiti murals, op shops which we made a mental note of, and trendy bars. We are staying in Mitte, which is apparently a hip suburb. There was a Brazilian glow in the dark, vegan shoe-shop; shops which sold hipster bicycles; clothing stores; an old school cinema; Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese restaurants; clubs; and finally an open cafe. We went inside to find they sold flat whites (I thought this coffee was exclusive to Australia and New Zealand), and Chai Lattes... I can't tell you how happy we were in this metro multicultural city after two months in Poland drinking Starbucks.


The next day the South American contingent of Favela went on a free walking tour. Perhaps Louise and I should have done this because we spent about 6 hours lost on the city streets. But we were happily lost. We started our day accidently heading north until we found a coffee shop which would have looked at home on Wellington's Cuba Street. We went into every expensive designer store, trying on their coats in a nice suburb. We discovered this little alley covered in amazing graffiti murals, filled with museums, art stores, galleries and a cinema. We ate cheap and cheerful Chinese food and after 4 hours of searching, found the river! It was night when we got to Alexander Platz, which turns out is only a few minutes from our hostel. We are both terrible at directions! Louise ate Dunkin Doughnuts for the first time.

That night we did a pub crawl. We missed the ordinary crawl, so we had to do the alternative one. We met a  flower power bar, decorated like it was from the seventies. We waited a while until other people began to arrive. Lots of Australians, and one Kiwi who was from Lower Hutt. We also visited a vampire bar, an absinthe bar, and then finally a club playing 80s music in an old garage somewhere miles out of town. The guides left us there and gave us directions to get home which I promptly forgot. As we were leaving because the music was so bad we ran into three guys wandering around outside. They asked us if there were any good bars around... no there wasn´t. So they walked back to town with us. On a tram a crazy religious guy tried to find a reason to rant at us, at first he thought I was Irish, but on discovering I was a NZer he couldn´t find much to say except for that we were associated with the Queen. The Brazilians left us as we got back into town, Louise and I decided to follow the British boys we had met to a club called Cookies. The club was absolutely amazing... it had a main bar and dancefloor upstairs, but lots of little themed rooms beneath it, and other dancefloors to be discovered. We decided to leave around 6am despite the British boys calling us weak. They were really funny, Louise had a massive snowball fight with one on the walk, and we spent a good hour trying to tell them they pronounced Europe wrong... its not Yorrup.

The next day was a bit of a fail. Due to booking issues we were meant to check out, I made it but Louise didn't. Then I followed the Brazilians to the other side of town to go shopping while Louise slept. Urban Outfitters is a really great shop, I wish it would come to NZ. Plus they had a sale so I bought some new leather boots. Then I went back to the hostel and slept.

The next day me and Louise decided to stop being absolutely pathetic tourists and go look at the wall. We got distracted of course by The Barn, a trendy coffee shop run by Australians. Really good coffee. we went to an open shop where Louise bought second hand denim Docs. We tried to find an ATM for me to get cash out, but for some reason there are nearly none in the whole of Berlin, its really strange. Then we went to urban outfitters again. We had lunch at a japanese shop, then finally made it to the wall around 4pm, in the dark. The guy in the trainstation thought I was mad because I asked him, excuse me, is the wall close? His reply, its right outside, how can it ever be closed... its a wall. Oh dear.
We walked a length of it before giving up because we got too cold.

The next day we attempted another tourist activity. Unfortunately this was stumped by the Federer vs. Murray tennis match in the Australian Open. We sat in the hostel bar yelling at the TV until 1pm things like ´Change your shorts Andy, theyre too tight´ and 'if Roger doesnt win this I will die'. The receptionist, Barney Stinson lookalike was even kind enough to put the sound on for us, but Germans never smile when they do something nice for you, they´re so funny. We made it to Bramberg Gate (is that what its even called) also at nighttime. We had to say goodbye to Sara, Joao and Jessica that day. They woke us in the morning so it felt like a dream, suddenly they were gone. I said goodbye to Louise the next day as she rushed late for her train. It was really difficult. I later headed to the train station on Barney's instructions, to catch a train to Hamburg on a whim.

Berlin was truely great, the metropolitan paradise we had been craving in Poland. I never heard anyone speak German the entire time there, we had a wake up call when trying to book a movie... 'sorry all the films are in German'.





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