Trip Start Jul 16, 2013
Trip End Oct 07, 2013

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Saturday, August 3, 2013

Moving day today. I tried to book for longer where I am but someone had already snapped it up. So here's a last look towards my window.

But the new pad's not too bad either. Who would have thought that for this price I'd score a place with a piano!? I didn't bring any sheet music with me and the sheet music in the cupboard is all too difficult... except for what I've been practising at home... the Moonlight Sonata - perfect.

A not bad leafy outlook too... over the courtyard, not that I've actually bothered standing at the window to look out.

As luck would have it there's a beer festival on today. Up along the footpath at Karl Marx Allée. One end to the other is close to two kilometres

Each place had its own glasses but you could buy an official tasting glass - 0.20 litres and have that filled at the various stands.. Except for a few exceptions I think that was €2.

I had to start somewhere... this was where I bought my first beer.

There were about twenty stages from one end to the other. From Polish music to Bavarian to Czech to doo wop.

This seems to have been one of the main stages. Possibly because everyone was enclosed (in a huge tent) it created more of a frenzied atmosphere.

Apparently the Spree River area is famous for it's pickled cucumbers. They were about €1.50 for one... no bread, no nothing. I wasn't that impressed actually. I can get better homemade ones in Tasmania.

I've heard my mother carry on about Grünkohl which is apparently kale. Also not impressive. I only tried it because you can't get it in Australia. When will the Germans learn that the plant is already dead... they don't need to continue to boil it to death.

My neighbours at the table. But of course they were much too cool to eat kale.

And of course I had to have a fresh beer to wash down the kale.

This was pretty interesting... the device had beer fed into it and it was used to force beer into the bottles then they were closed with the swing top. This is apparently the last operating example of such a device in Germany.

For some reason the perspective has been lost but these were 2 litre swing top bottles - full of beer of course. Remarkably cheap at €9 a bottle. A good souvenir but all around Central Europe is a long way to shlep such a big bottle - even an empty one.

There were quite a few foreign beers represented including ones from Mongolia and Madagascar. These two stalls were manned by the appropriate Mongolian and Malagasy looking staff respectively.

I was convinced that they'd just got some local Asians to work there so I tried out my Mongolian and the two phrases of Malagasy that I could remember. Well, they still could have been locals but they certainly weren't cheating.

This stand was selling horse meatballs and horse sausages including what I tried, a horse meat wiener.

This is what it looked like. As usually the bread/roll is too small but it would still have been too small even if they'd been using foot-longs from Subway. It tasted pretty good, just like a good sausage.

Of course, another sausage required another beer.

What do we have here? Well this bloke and his mates were encouraging people to pay to slap this bloke on a cheek. Judging by the redness I'd say they've already made a bit of drinking money. I saw one bloke go a bit easy on him so he turned around, told him that was a bit poor and encouraged him to have another go.

After the shock of all that I really needed another beer, though I wouldn't really say that they really tasted that different. Perhaps Tolstoy was a beer drinker and that's what really impelled him to write at the start of Anna Karenina that all happy families resemble each other, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

This were the Thüringer Biernotdienst. (Emergency beer service.) An extremely good presentation.

This band was superb. Vocally, instrumentally... the whole presentation was great.

The band was right down at the other end so it was time to begin the long trek back to the beginning... for that I needed more refreshments.

Minor police presence but I suspect they don't intervene too often.

The doo wop band. They looked almost old enough to have stayed on after the Berlin airlift but they were fantastic.

Here they had some interesting glasses and that's all I wanted but I ended up with a full one - so double the usual tasting glass size.

First I spotted one Asian face then another but when I had an overall look I noticed that they were all Asian... and I remembered the Vietnamese flag flying over this section. Yes, they had Vietnamese music as well.

Also pretty unusual. Obviously some sort of traditional or neo-traditional fare. A swinging grill. It looks like a great idea. That way you don't have to continually move the meat around to stop it from burning. Well it does get moved around but automatically by gravity.

I had my tasting mug and the unusual one that I'd spotted that they filled with beer, now I just needed one of these for my collection. €3, just the mug.

Yeah, this is just what it looks like. Well you'd never know what a free-standing one of these was but the bloke unzipping his fly is a bit of a give-away.

Lest you think these were hidden away somewhere, they were facing the road and here you can see some woman walking past.

Another musical highlight was this Bavarian band. They band leader had a great platter and the music was good.

In traditional Bavarian style he got everyone to lock arms and swing from side to side with the music. German even have a name for it.

English have taken the German Blitzkrieg but what about schaukeln ? Typical!

Time to go home...

I had no backpack so I had my tasting glass on a lanyard around my neck and my two other glasses in one hand. Both had a handle so it wasn't too difficult.

I'd nearly made it home when a foot caught the curb crossing the road and I had to take a dive.

This is the remains of the glasses.

I thought one had miraculously survived but it too suffered a few chips.

Luckily it was a nice soviet style East German footpath and not full of tourists sitting outside having a beer. I could have ended up in someone's lap.

Looks like I'll be back tomorrow - with a backpack.
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Axe on

Emergency beer service!

Mario on

Grünkohl muß man in der Oldenburger Region essen, nur hier kann man das richtig :) Dazu gehört Besenwerfen und steifer Grog! Du mußt dich wohl mal im tasmanischen Sommer auf den Weg machen...

Anthony Havens on

Those public pissoirs are a bit intimidating to anyone brought up in an Anglo country. I expect they have to empty them quite often too. Stumbled into a uni-sex public loo in Croatia recently, not even the slightest attempt at segregation, the women had to walk right past the mens urinals.

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