The Wall... The History...
Berlin Travel Blog› entry 31 of 45 › view all entries
Haaaaaaaaaahahahahaā¦ Let me start by telling you that the funniest thing happened on the way to Berlin. The buses stop in the most random places for food/smoke/WC breaks. So we pull over and everyone jumps out for a quick nicotine fix when Nico notices that the whole row of cars parked there have Polish plates. Weāre so dumb (ok, and itās 3am or so) that we decide that we must be in Poland, and are actually kind of happy with ourselves for noticing when all of a sudden my brain decided to come to the party and, well, thereās not really any way to justify how incredibly unintelligent the conversation was because we all know that Poland is on the other side of Germany, and thereās no way you could possibly detour through it! Idiots!
Anyway, maybe not as funny from there as it was at the time, but it was officially the dumbest conversation I have had in my life!!!
So, moving onā¦
Time, time, timeā¦ 3 night in Berlin, hardly seems enough to see everything that the city has to offer. So, after finding our hostel at some ridiculous hour in the morning we dump our bags and set off to try to find the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) to catch a walking tour by 11am so that we can see the whole city. The walking tours are brilliant, theyāre free and then you pay a tip according to how you think that the tour went. Because they work from tips alone, they have to be good otherwise they donāt make any money.
So we take this massive tour that takes us all the way around the city with all of the history being explained as we see the sights. First thing we see??? The balcony where Michael Jackson dangled his baby over to show him off to the people below. Now before you say anything mean, Iām a huge MJ fan so keep those opinions to yourself. And yes, I took lots of pics of the balcony because Iām a tourist and thatās what tourists do. We saw the Reichstag, and a couple of days later went back to see it from the inside, Check-Point Charlie (the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War) and of course we saw the remnants of the wall. (I donāt know exactly what I was expecting, but this definitely wasnāt it!) And the murder mile next to it. I couldnāt list all of the things that we did there, every minute seemed to be go, go, go! But I did see loads of museums, fantastic buildings and massive landmarks that are so, so famous. I stood over Hitlerās Bunker, and saw some amazing Memorials. One of them, Denkmal fur Ermorneten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) in the city, is interesting. Walking past it just looks like concrete columns, thereās 2711 of them and theyāre huge. But the whole idea is that you walk through it and feel amongst other things, disorientation. The ground is uneven and you canāt really see the other people walking through until you bump into them. Within seconds you have so idea where you are or how to get back out. I think that everyone experiences something different in there and itās not really something that I can explain, but something I would definitely recommend doing for yourself if you want to understand. Especially after visiting the Holocaust Museum there. Powerful stuff thatās full of all of the horrifying facts and realities.
Bebelplatz, outside The University Library, where the book burning was started by Nazi students has a kind of memorial thereā¦ Itās poignant in itās messageā¦ Itās just a glass square in the ground, and when you look down through it all you can see is empty bookshelves lining the walls, and a simple quote: āWherever they burn books eventually they will burn people tooāā¦ Nothing else really needs to be said when you see it.
After the tour was over we got cut off by a HUUUUUGE protest in the city, it was Serbian Germans protesting about the independence recently granted to Kosovoā¦ There were so many people there protesting that we almost got caught up in it. Then one of the guys turns to me and says ādo you really think that now is a good time to be wearing that scarf?āā¦ Duhā¦ Here I am caught in a huge march and Iām wearing my Kosovo scarf complete with Albanian flagā¦ Ugh!!! Luckily nobody had seen it yet and I quickly stuffed it away and avoided getting mobbed in the streets of Berlin!!! I donāt wear it as a political statementā¦ I was in Kosovo and it was snowingā¦ I was cold and had lost my scarf so I bought a new oneā¦ I like it, itās pretty!!!
There were also loads of interesting Churches that I visited, and some great museums, and also possibly the most boring museum that I have ever been to (wonāt even bother explaining that one!) Basically, we managed to see all of the sights that we wanted to see in the too short time that we had.
Believe it or not, in between all that sightseeing we managed to get in some solid drinking too!!! The first night we went on another pub crawl, and being a Saturday night it was massiveā¦ I thought that the last one was big in Amsterdamā¦ But I think that they said that there was about 140 people at this oneā¦ Now just picture 140 people, mostly young (and young-ish) backpackers, cramming into bar after bar, we just pretty much swarmed the places. Thankfully there was none of the skulling vodka from the bottle antics like last time, so after a fabulous night of drinking and dancing with so many random people that I have never seen before I made it through to the last bar. Nico and the others form the hostel went home but I stayed on and partied more, I donāt even wanna know what time it was by the time I got home.
The second night nobody was up for even going out, let alone another pub crawl, so we got some (lots) of alcohol and stayed in at the hostel. Our semi quiet night turned into drinking games which turned into loads of other people coming and going throughout the night. It was a lot of fun but once again I am never playing drinking games again. Theyāre dangerous! This one was a lot tamer than the last though, and pretty much involved all of us doing embarrassing things like getting up and singing at the top of our lungs in the bar and trying to humiliate each other. Good times! And we did all meet some cool people.
The last night, Nico and I had booked a very early bus to Munich so we had to get up at some ridiculous time the next morning. His friends that we had met up with in Amsterdam were also coming to Berlin, and one was celebrating a birthday, so what do we doā¦? Pub crawl!!! Great night, drinking and dancing and drinking and dancing. Messy morning though. I completely slept through my alarm but luckily one of the guys in my room woke up to it (whoops, sorryā¦) and woke us up and we made our bus where we spent the next 8 or 9 hours being completely scattered. I couldnāt sleep, so over long bus rides, but the views of the German countryside were amazing and kept me occupied. At one point on the journey the bus stopped and instantly a whole bunch of guys in uniforms boarded and marched straight up to us demanding our passports. I did take German in school when I was younger but only remember the basics now, and one of the words I definitely remember is Polizeiā¦ And that was definitely what was written on his badge. So, handed over my passport and he took my bags too and proceeded to empty them out and rifle through everything. So grateful that it was clean underwear that was in there!!! After he was done scavenging through my bags and was satisfied that I was telling the truth when I said that I had no drugs, he then took my passport to the car to check all of the details. When that was finally over he handed it back with a quick āEntschuldigungā for the hassle and he moved on to the rest of the foreigners on the bus. Turns out itās actually a completely routine thing because we were only 30 km from the Czech border and it seems that they have a lot of troubles on the border. Oh well, got my passport back thatās all that matters. When it was all over a little old German lady came up and gave me a big hug and started speaking to me in German. I explained (in German) that Iām Australian and I donāt speak fluent German over and over, but she kept going and hugging me. I think that she was a little scared for meā¦?
But, other than being really tired the rest of the journey was great for the stunning scenery that we drove through. And on that note, Iāll leave you againā¦
Next stop, Munich!
Love, love, love.