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Nick in Berlin

March 31, 2010

I have developed an uncanny ability to sleep pretty much anywhere.  More on that later.

My little adventure started at 6 or so in the morning of the 27th.  I took a bus down to the city centre to catch the train from Bergen to Oslo.  Though expensive, the day train offered some great views of the Norwegian landscape.  A quick layover in Oslo (the city is really quite disappointing), and a bus from Oslo to Rygge, and I was on a plane to Stockholm Skavsta airport.  This was all in one day.

Stockholm Skavsta is a tiny budget airport in the middle of nowhere.  I decided to save money by overnighting there.  I was in the closed cafe with three stiff wooden Ikea chairs pushed together to make a ramshackle bed.  It was 4 or 5 in the morning when a security guard came around to tell me I couldn’t sleep there.  Definitely not refreshing.  Now, flying into Berlin that day, that was.

I arrived in Berlin a good 3 hours ahead of schedule.  By a stroke of serendipity, I checked into my hostel at the exact same time that Dan did.  We met up with 2 people Dan met in his previous hostel, and we explored the city for a time before they had to leave to catch a train.

How did I get around?  First, the transit system in Berlin is amazing.  It’s efficient, easy to understand, and fast.  But you can’t see the city whilst underground, so we walk.  And walk.  And walk.  Over the course of the 2 days in Berlin, I must have done the equivalent of 4 walking tours of Berlin.  My legs hate me.  I saw the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the university where Einstein taught at, the plaza where Hitler made his speeches to the masses, the Church where Goebles was married, what are supposed to be the first Russian tanks to enter Berlin during WWII.  I saw a lot, and you can take a look in my pictures.

Then there was the nightlife.  Two words: pub crawl.  By far the best way to see the city at night, meet new people, and have some fun.  The first day was a massive commercial pub crawl.  The bars and such are your typical clubs – okay, not too bad.  Dan and I decided to leave early and walk home that night.  We started in a bar on the south-east side of Berlin.  And walked to our hostel, in the north-west side, straight across the city.  Fueled by doner (delicious, Berlin has a massive Turkish population) and another 0.5L of beer (which can be bought at 3am in a convenience store for a euro!) , we proceeded to wind an S-shaped pattern through the city.  Probably more that 10km in total, in about 2.5hrs.  Epic.

The next day’s sight-seeing was more of the same.  We woke bleary-eyed to drag our sorry, hungover, behinds to a free walking tour of the city.  More walking, why?  Coffee at Einsteins Cafe picked us up, and we headed back to the hostel to “boot … then rally”, as Dan was apt to say.  We bumped into two girls – one from Peru, another form Mexico – who had just checked in, and we decided to play tour guide for them by … guess what?  Taking them on a walking tour pretty much the same as the route we just took a few hours earlier.

That night’s pub crawl was labelled the “Anti-Pub Crawl”, and rightly so.  The meeting point was at a bar called Yesterday, which featured game-board tables, funk and Beatles music, and psychedelic decorations.  The (much smaller and cosier) pub crawl group got to see the underground bars Berliner locals do.  A weird converted garage turned ping-pong tournament bar.  A heavy metal bar.  A mystical tranny bar (though no trannies there).  More bars that I don’t remember the significance of, but they were cool, too.  It was such a great group of people that we were with that I stayed out all night.  4:30am to be exact.  My plane to Dusseldorf boarded at 7:30am in another town.

Thankfully, I had packed beforehand, so my drunken stumblings saw me actually get to the airport in record time, and one hour early.  I slept everywhere.  The train to Schonefeld (magically woken up one stop before mine by a conductor checking my ticket).  The plane to Dusseldorf.  The bus from the plane to the airport 100m away.  A bench in the airport as I wait for the bus to Amsterdam.  Good God, I’m going to need a vacation from this vacation.

Vi sees.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Natalia permalink
    March 31, 2010 4:07 pm

    Can’t wait to see you in Brugge, lover. Your feet better get ready for some more walking. Although, not nearly as intense as Berlin.

  2. ikkenorskgirl permalink
    April 4, 2010 9:42 pm

    My goodness, were there no direct flights?? I’m impressed with how hardcore you were managing to survive all that! I haven’t been to Berlin yet, but I think I’ve learnt one thing from you and that’s to take public transport around! :p

    Hope you’ve recovered enough and rested up well.

    Ha det!

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