May22

Written by:Driper
Saturday, May 22, 2010 

The day starts in Amsterdam bright and early, we make our way out to the Bus About pickup point which is just outside our hostel, perfect. I would recommend staying at the Bus About pick up point hostel just for the ease of pickup alone but having said that a few of the stops are not nice even for a hostel. Avoid the hostel for Munich, Nice and La Spezia (because it is too far out). We make our way from Amsterdam to Berlin on the bus and its no where near as painful as I expected, there is about 30 people on a bus which can carry 50, plenty of room, stops every 2 hours. We get to Berlin, our tour guide, Amy gives us some history lessons as we arrive which I find unusually interesting, I guess because this is a short trip.

The day starts in Amsterdam bright and early, we make our way out to the Bus About pickup point which is just outside our hostel, perfect. I would recommend staying at the Bus About pick up point hostel just for the ease of pickup alone but having said that a few of the stops are not nice even for a hostel. Avoid the hostel for Munich, Nice and La Spezia (because it is too far out). We make our way from Amsterdam to Berlin on the bus and its no where near as painful as I expected, there is about 30 people on a bus which can carry 50, plenty of room, stops every 2 hours. We get to Berlin, our tour guide, Amy gives us some history lessons as we arrive which I find unusually interesting, I guess because this is a short trip. We arrive at the hostel, Citystay. We were looking forward to a 4 bed dorm and walk into a 6, was forced to pay cash and had to fill out a registration card per person even though the form has a box labeled people, why? Anyway, I digress. We settle for our incorrect yet confirmed room as there are people we know from the bus in there already. We arranged on the bus to go on a pub crawl. We go down to reception with Ingrid from our room and meet a few more people. The guide, Jack, collects us with a trolley of beer, he hands one out to all while we stand in the middle of the square drinking. We have already been told it is legal to drink just about anywhere you like in Germany, even a litre of beer at work is ok. After waiting around for about half an hour to see if anyone else will be joining we leave for our first pub of 5. One every 45 minutes and then onto a club for those that are still alive. We dance, talk, drink from pub to pub until the early hours of the morning, destroying our budget along the way. The places we go are awesome, good tunes, nice atmosphere, not that I can recall any names. The last place had huge flames erupting from the bar timed with the beat. As we leave the last stop for the night we walk down the street and realise that there are a large number of attractive women in very little who we then realise are prostitutes. Just like Amsterdam except I believe it is only legal in Amsterdam, not here. We head back to our hostel and stop at the kerbab shop along the way having earlier been told that the kerbabs in Berlin are good which I am lead to believe is because of the large Turkish community. It was an amazing kerbab, well, I assume it was, I don’t really remember it.

The shots on the Berlin Pub Crawl Nuts from a can while on the Berlin Pub Crawl, classy.

The next day we see some of the typical sites, we visit the Tear Gardens, the Jewish war memorial, Brandenburg Gate and other historical buildings. The war memorial is very moving and full of information, its also free which is great considering we blew a days budget yesterday. The day progresses and we decide its time for dinner, we look form a cheap local eat and find the Bruehaus Mitte which does a pork knuckle for under 10 Euro just around the corner from our hostel. It turns out to be an awesome meal. We wander back to the hostel for happy hour and enjoy 4 Euro black Russians until the early a.m. and then make our way to bed so we can run the next day (why do I have to workout on holiday? Freda?). We run through the Tear Gardens for a bit, get back to the hostel and pickup a few of the other people who pulled in to Berlin with us who are in our dorm.

The Jewish Memorial The Berlin wall is marked by these two bricks anywhere it has been removed Artwork depicting what was a Berlin Wall crossing attempt, launch ramp not shown

Peter, Kevin, Samuel and Ingrid are the others in our dorm and they all feel a hit worse for wear as they went onto another place after we were drinking downstairs. Samuel and Kevin come with us to visit the East Side Gallery which is a strip of the Berlin Wall which still stands today and has been painted on by street artists. They return every so often to paint their piece of the wall. There are some great works and some more unusual, abstract works. It’s about 1.5km so there is a lot of art to see. We then go to the tower which has a view of the Berlin wall from about three stories up including the sand in the middle of the two walls, the guard tower and generally as it was when in one piece. The tower is part of the documentation centre and both are well worth a look. Kevin has seen our next stop so makes a quick exit for some sleep. He did tell us that Hitler's bunker was now just a car park and you can’t see anything, with this in mind we decide to skip the bunker. The three of us head to checkpoint Charlie which is a US checkpoint. It’s clearly not the original and just doesn’t feel authentic really. Worth seeing, free, but missing the reality of what a checkpoint no doubt really was.
We visit the Sony centre which is interesting architecturally, have a quick beer and then wander back to the hostel. Later that night we head out for to take some night photos of some of the place we had been during the day.

Sam, Freda and I having a cheaky beer at the Sony Centre The Sony Centre Night shot of the Brandenburg Gate A Storm Tropper gets into trouble with the law

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