Sunday, July 8, 2012


Keeping our Prague roses alive.. in a bidet
Today was a long ride from Prague to Berlin. But the train travel throughout Europe is so gorgeous that it doesn't feel like an ordinary plane ride of 5 hours or anything. We were greeted by lush mountains and many little quaint houses that blotched the green with terracotta colours. I finally finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy. And thank golly Pancake bought me the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy yesterday otherwise I would be out of entertainment with my Kindle! I didn't really get started on the new series of books though. I curled up into my mum's lap and took a little nap until she kept prodding me awake because she was bored & restless. We haven't spent so much time together in so long that it's really nice to do it with an European backdrop.
We finally arrived in Berlin and boy were we welcomed by a different feel compared to other towns. No typical old structures at this main train station, Berlin was cool, sleek and modern. Wilkommen to the capital of Deutschland!
We caught a bus to our hotel which was situated on Leipziger street, very convenient to everything we needed to see so after I did the usual routine of circling our destinations for the city on the tourist map, we headed out. We always try to head out as much as we can on the first day, because by the 2nd or 3rd, we're pooped. First things first, our stomach - we stuffed ourselves with 5 plates of currywurst for lunch on some random fake beach hangout area. We saw Checkpoint Charlie first, where I let my passport get stamped by the 7 different areas that used to control Berlin/Germany. I had no idea what the wall was about until today. I just thought it was some meh wall. I had no idea it separated Berlin into East and West. We walked along where the Berlin Wall once stood, until we reached the remains. There we were greeted by the remains where charts were hung up about the Propaganda and Terror that reigned Germany.. you know. I wanted to read everything but the heat finally got to my mum so we moved on. What happened totally sickens me. We rejuvenated ourselves with fresh juices. Freshly married with a craving for icecream We then went to Potsdamer Platz - I don't get why it was a destination to go see apart from the commercial buildings and some strange pink sewerage pipe that bordered above the city square…. yeah so we weren't really wooed until we saw Haagen Daaz sitting in the corner so we devoured ourselves into some Belgian chocolate ice-cream. Mum got rum and raisin. We walked and got to the Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial. At first I was abhorred by the people and children running across the 2, 717 cement blocks, weaving in and out playing games like they had no idea what it was all about. Turned out I had no idea what it was all about, from far away it looked like thousands of tombstones, but close at hand mum and I noticed there were nothing cemetery about them. There were no writings, no inscriptions on any of these blocks. We were so confused.
We realised it was just a MEMORIAL that a New York architect had designed, it wasn't actually the BURIAL. So we let ourselves go a bit and joined in the concrete jungle, only a little bit, we were still weirded out. It's fun but morbid at the same time..
Random bubble machine on the street Got the black and green dress… coz it was so cheap for $15!! Then we shopped a little. Drank more fresh juice and ate a bagel for dinner. Rest time. Day 2 of Berlin was pretty chilled. Awesome for any girl really because we pretty much shopped all day. The bargains for July sales in Germany are so much better than Australia. But I find that the American brands are much more expensive so maybe that's it - the stuff from Europe is cheaper, everything else imported is expensive.
We had to shop all day (not like we had to have a reason to) because the rain finally dawned on us. It was so funny, in Hungary, on the way to the next city - rain struck and we were like "HEHE YAY WE AVOIDED IT!" then in Vienna it was the same thing on the very last day. Except this time there was thunder. In Prague, just before we tucked ourselves to our last night of Czech sleep, the skies cracked with lightning, thunder and a lot of rain. So we escaped it again. We stayed in Galleries Lafayette, a Parisian department store, all day. We ate their patisserie, shopped for my mum's family then of course, ourselves. Ohhhh my, I tried so good to be a good girl but there were just so many good sales that I got spoiled. So spoiled. No more, no more. I can't buy anymore!! We saw some odd things like a protest in the rain, weirdo hippie girl ran up to me and told me to take her picture with her top up and her belly showing "Fashion Kills." The photo I took, captured an off facial expression but I promise she didn't look that dero. It was nice to see that the German police surrounded them to help control their rowdiness but never to cease the whole parade. It was about the fashion slavery of Adidas, Puma, Nike, Quiksilver… etc. Then we ran home in the rain, it was much colder today. Day 3 of Berlin landed on a Sunday - so it was pretty quiet. We keep forgetting that in Europe, everything is closed on Sundays. I hardly remember the time when Australia did the same thing, I think I was about 12 or younger! We started off at a cafe to fuel our tanks. It was so funny because I went to order a Green tea but on the menu it says something like, "Grüntee." I speak English, right? So I don't know what those two dot dots do so I took them out and asked the man, "I'll have a GROON tea please" Man: "A what?" Deena: "G-g-groon tea??" Man: "You mean, green tea?" Then my mum and I cracked up laughing because I just seemed like SUCH a fool! We then caught a train over to Schloss Charlottenburg where the Royalties of Prussia used to reside. The crowns were kept there but we were a little tired of museums, palaces and royalties after seeing many all over Europe so we skipped the $12 entry fee and appreciated the palace from the front. We didn't know what else to do on the Sunday. The hotel man suggested we went to the park to chill but mum and I weren't so into that so we decided to go look at the big shopping strip Ku'Damm even though it was closed. Just to take a peek! We wandered about and struck gold when we landed ourselves in an Organ Festival! This lovely German man greeted us and gave us some information about the whole thing. Its a yearly meet up with Organ hobbyists to show off their collections and the tunes that the organs can play! I don't understand the fascination though because they were handing out awards and.. all you have to do to play those things is to wind it around in a constant tempo…. but it was really adorable to see. We were like the only tourists there, it was filled with local old Germans dressed up absolutely traditionally and adorable. Everyone just stared at my mum and I who were a little odd to be there, but who cares? We got to enjoy some German culture and food. We finally got to munch on bratwursts, freshly cooked over some hot charcoal. We looked around at the markets, said bye to the lovely German man who escorted us everywhere. I think he was a little bored playing his organ so finding some people to practise his English with was a lot of fun! He showed us the oldest organ on the block which was a 150 years old. He said all the hobbyists comes from different areas of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Dutch and even one from America.
Some were decorated with clapping monkeys, marionettes, puppets etc. Really strange and interesting! He was trying to convince us that we should get into it, just get a small one on wheels to scoot around and join another meet up in December. Haha!
Then we came home, ready for some dinner. Everythings closed around our hotel so I think we might just eat downstairs! Berlin was fun and interesting! A long 7 hour train ride tomorrow, in the DAY time! I am not looking forward to that!