Thursday, June 16, 2011

Zees ees not Hamburg, zees ees Harrrrburg

Paris Square

Where Michael Jackson casually dangled baby Blanket out the window

Holocaust Memorial

Berlin Wall (ugly side)

Checkpoint Charlie

Best frozen yogurt this side of the Mississippi/Berlin Wall
berlin hot dog=weiner in bread. yum.

segway nudists

spotted: lady gaga in Berlin

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

creepiest place i've ever been to

if only America had train station food like this....

4 hour train from Munster to Berlin

            Thursday was our last day in France- HALLELUJAH PRAISE DA LAWD- and we definitely went out with a bang. We finally found the dance club we’ve been planning to go to and it was crayzaayyyy. We haven’t made it there before because one of the French kids in our dorm kept telling us it was really expensive to get in/far away/etc…well we come to find it’s around the corner from the Australian bar we’ve been going to every time we go out, and it’s 3 euros -_- really Thomas (pronounced Toe-ma). We ended up at the “goblin doors” after as usual, which- if I haven’t already mentioned- is literally a set of doors to what looks like a basement on the street, but Will found to be a bakery that serves freshly baked goodies from 2am till they open in the morning. That was a really bad run-on sentence but this is my blog and I’ll run on if I want to.
            Bright and early the next day, 7am, we were on the bus to Munster, Germany. SEE YA NEVER BYE DIJON. It was a 10 hour drive but I slept 90% of the time so it really didn’t feel too long (used to these drives anyway from CT to Tech).  Once we got to the dorms, I knew this place was going to be a million times better than Dijon (which, at first, doesn’t say much). Our rooms here are big and spacey and not only do we have our own stoves but we have our own bathrooms wooohooooo. The only problem is that we are all scattered across the buildings here. I didn’t think I’d be as scared as I was going to sleep that night but every noise I heard was turned into the rattling of someone trying to open my door in my head. I barely slept that night.
            The next day we were up early again to catch a train to Berlin where we were staying for the 3 day weekend. We asked the woman at the station the day before if we needed to reserve seats or anything like that and she insisted that we didn’t. Of course, we end up missing the 9am train and get on the 10am- an ICE train that needs reservations. We sit on the floor for 2 hours. Some German ticket lady with bleach blonde hair and scary piercings tries to tell us we have to get off at the Hann station and take a different train to Berlin because this one is too full. So we nodded and got off at Hann where we passed her on the platform and then proceeded to get back on the train at a different car. We end up sitting on the floor again and as I nod off with my head in my hands apparently she walks by and Jen makes eye contact just before shutting her eyes to pretend like she was sleeping too. This is a really pointless story. We’re just bad asses.
            We end up getting off at Hamburg where we need to change trains. We’re a little confused when we see how small of a station it is, and we can’t find track 5. We walk up to the information desk and ask the man where the train to Berlin is. He looks at us blankly and then begins to laugh, “Zees ees not Hamburg, Zees ees Harrrrburg”. We are literally the worst world travelers. We don’t plan anything and we cannot for the life of us follow directions correctly. Mind you, 2 of the girls are not with us at the moment because they forgot their passports and need them for our German rail passes. Luckily we all make it to our hostel at the same time, which is conveniently located in the center of Berlin AND is only 40 euros for 2 nights AND includes breakfast AND is actually pretty clean.
            After we get there we immediately start the search for the things we’ve written down out of the book on Steph’s kindle “Let’s Go Europe”.  We found a cool wine bar that we read gave unlimited glasses of wine for the price of: whatever you felt like paying.  As broke-and-getting-worse college students, this was our calling. It was a really cozy little café but we were a little early- apparently the wine deal didn’t start till after 8. I got a Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo that was hands-down the best glass of red I’ve ever had. When I went back to ask for the exact name (you went up to a counter to order, there weren’t waiters) the bottle was gone, meaning they had replaced it with a different red for the hour. I still have the label in my head and I WILL find it one day.
            As we started to get hungry, we kindled again and found a whole-in-the-wall-type German restaurant, Berliner Marcus Brau. Char and I split something with saurkraut, sausage and potatoes and it was every element of tasty. Most delicious saurkraut of my life- sorry Nana! We finished it off with some of the restaurant’s home-brewed light beer. I'd show pictures but the food literally looks like poop/throw up on a plate (obviously the fault of the lighting not the photographer). That night we went out to one of the popular clubs the guys heard about. It ended up being 2 floors in an old warehouse, completed with strobe lights and house music all night. When we went to the basement, the combination of fog and strobe lights made me think I was having a seizure. When I looked around me, in between each flash of light, everyone else looked like they were seizing. The best part was when I found out the next day that even though I was the one probably foaming at the mouth, Claire had been asked by some random person if she was okay…meaning “you’re dancing like you’re having a seizure”. I couldn’t stop laughing.
            On Sunday morning we went on a walking tour of Berlin, where I learned more in 3 hours than I had in 6 years of history classes. For lunch the tour guide brought us to an Israeli café chain known as Aroma. There I ordered a hot dog but instead received some type of sausage with pickles, mustard and ketchup on hearty whole grain bread. While the pictures definitely do not do it justice, it was delicious to say the least. While we were waiting for our tour to begin again, we stopped by a frozen yogurt store where the woman behind the counter was in such a good mood she gave us some for free. It was finally frozen yogurt that tasted just like real plain yogurt- I loved it.
            That night I went on my first pub crawl. The crawl consisted of 4 bars and the last stop was free admission to a club. However, we were so tired from walking around all day that after the 4th bar we just decided to take the metro back home. Apparently the club was also really confusing to get to and everyone had basically given up on finding it.
            The next day was our last day in Berlin, but because it was a holiday in Germany, many of the stores and museums were closed. The tours were still running so the 6 of us decided to go on the Concentration Camp tour. We knew it would be depressing but it was an opportunity many of us would never be able to pursue again. Looking back on the pictures of the camp now, I am reminded of the eery atmosphere I felt while being there. There was a certain silence that, with the rushing wind that came every so often, gave you uncomfortable chills. After going into one of the barracks I couldn’t hold back my tears. I think actually seeing the beds, the bathrooms and the living conditions made it more real than ever before. Reading from textbooks about something so horrific makes you somewhat immune to what the horror really is.

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