5 Days Later...
Berlin Travel Blog› entry 28 of 113 › view all entries
June 18th, 2008 – by: afredrix
I felt like I was really able to escape all the tourists while I stayed in Kreuzberg. I'm fully aware that I am a tourist as well, but it's nice not to constantly be reminded of that fact. I spent the last couple days exploring different neighborhoods, watching soccer (and listening to our turkish neighborhood explode in hours of horn-honking enthusiasm after their win) and late night discussions at the kitchen table with Márton and Charlotte.
On Wednesday, I had the invitation to play volleyball with Nicola (the very hilarious Italian from the party). You can imagine my excitement for the opportunity to exercise. Especially considering walking all over the city still doesn't seem to counteract the damage caused by the daily beers and döners one must consume while in Germany. For this reason, I was equally scared and grateful when, to my surprise, we had a trainer who made us run laps and do drills I hadn't done since high school. Five gallons of sweat later, we did some scrimmaging as well. It was most excellent. But along with daily conversation, I realize I don't have the vocabulary for german volleyball either.
Wednesday was also Charlotte's last day in Berlin. She had to leave for the airport at 5 in the morning on Thursday, so she decided to just pull an all-nighter. I didn't want her to leave without saying a proper good-bye, so after volleyball and making dinner with Márton and his friends, I went to meet her.
By this point, it was already 1am and the public transportation was shut down. So Márton, being the generous host that he is, let me borrow his bike. I've become quite confident with my Berlin biking skills and riding one to the bars is actually really common.
Somewhere in the easiness of it all, I missed that turn. This was about the same time I concluded that Márton's bike was about six inches too high for me as well. So about 20 blocks and one sore crotch later, I figured it was time to turn north. By this point, I'm pretty sure I was on the very outskirts of town. At least that's what the lack of buildings to the east indicated. Turning back towards civilization carried me through a large wooded area, with nothing and no one around. So, let's summarize. The situation was this: It's 1:30 am in Berlin. I'm riding a bike that's too tall for me and is not what you would call "comfortable" through a dark wooded area (where I'm pretty sure I heard some rustling in the trees).
But to be honest (and make you feel better) I really never felt in danger. Even in the "bad" parts that I've experienced, Berlin is far from threatening.
Luckily I was soon able to orient myself and made my way to Friedrichshain. After several confusing phone conversations, I finally found Charlotte and new friends sitting on a park bench. Finding a bar or club to kill the hours wasn't much of an option in that area, so Charlotte and just I roamed the streets of a peopleless Berlin until the wee hours of the morning. I sent her off in a cab at 5:30am and headed home on my too-tall bike for some much needed sleep. I'm going to miss my French friend. I guess I'll just have to add Lyon to the plans.
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