Trip Start Jun 08, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tue 13th June
Got up and packed to go to Berlin. Did some press-ups and sit-ups, getting overweight with German beer consumption. Sat in no smoking section next to 4 Brits. They fell asleep and that summed the journey up mostly through the old East Germany, loads of fields. Just outside Berlin travelled through a massive wind farm of 100's of turbines, can't see that happening at home. Utilising my internet map found the hostel no problem. Straight in made my bed bag in locker and straight out to meet Rob, Stephanie and Dave who had all been to a wedding in Weimar. They were in the shade (Stephanie was struggling with the heat) of a new bridge linking the new railway station to the new Reichstag. Dave brought a round and left to get his plane back to Blighty. We made our way to the TV tower to look for somewhere to eat. The waiter made a mistake undercharging by giving us someone elses bill. So been the honest people we are we got out of there quick. Attempted to get up TV tower but Rob and Stephanie (R&S) had purchased a special ticket that was invalid (it transpired that the machine was kicking out out of date tickets). So back to the main station by s-bahn where they issued a new ticket then back to TV tower. As TV tower was in old East Berlin it was slap bang in middle of the city so great views off the top. Could even see the stadium where Brazil Croatia were playing at that moment. Went and had an ice cream in revolving restaurant and then to the exit lift where a studio had been set up for a World Cup highlights programme later. Went and had a look at a few sculptures, one where you have to rub a lucky breast. Then went for drink near R&S hotel where most fans were staying so loads of celebrations from drunk fans. Stephanie went to bed and Rob and myself stayed drinking till 4 as we got kicked out of 2 bars. I had to then make my way across to the other side of town in the old eastern part. I then realised how bad the German signage is and how the beer taxi works. Went to get on the s-bahn but that wasn't running so tried to find the u-bahn. 2 drunken hours later made it back to my room to find my bed occupied so had to sleep in an unmade bed as too pissed.
Wed 14th June
Up at 9, breky and shower, went to meet R&S at Reichstag. I was late but they were later so managed to have a power nap on steps. The Reichstag roof was excellent but Stephanie was struggling with the heat, not best to go into a glass building when its too hot outside. Next onto the Berlin wall route marked by bricks inlaid in the road and even into shops and offices. Crowds at a memorial to people killed while trying to escape from East to West. While looking at a leaflet this bloke gave me an almighty bollocking - in German so god knows what was going on. Next the Brandenburg and then to Tierpark to have a look at the German TV set up, then followed the wall to Potsdam platz to have a look at the Sony centre. Unfortunately the German BBC, ZDF had set up a studio in the middle of it and we needed tickets to get in. Wandered to find Friedrich Stasse and Checkpoint Charlie where I got my passport stamped and went round the excellent museum displaying all the escape stories and the tools they used. Found another excellent museum near the ruins where the Gestapo imprisoned and executed anybody they didn't like. Went and found a place to sit outside to watch the Germany Poland game. After Germany won Berlin went mental, lots of horn hooting, flag waving and chanting. We walked back through all this chaos to Tierman Park where thousands of people (mostly ecstatic Germans) were at the fan fest. The place was in a right state as we gingerly made our way back to the usual drinking hole near R&S hotel. While Rob dropped Stephanie back the owner had hired 2 girls to cavort topless at the bar. This place is on a main street corner with hundreds of blokes about so it caused a bit of a stir. We stayed out late and I took the now well used route back to the hostel.
Tue 15th June
Up next morning but missed breky, meeting R&S at Sony centre. R&S were very late due to getting a bus in the wrong direction and.... been late. This enabled me to check the ticketing situation for watching the England Trinidad Tobago game in the TV studio. Talk about confusion, there were free tickets outside to get into the arena stadium seating and a beer garden situation, owned by surrounding bars, one of which was the Linden micro brewery. Decided to come back 2 hours before the England game started to ensure we got tickets and got the women in the free ticket booth to reserve us 3 tickets. Caught the S-bahn to museum island in east Berlin after overcoming German directions. Walked to the cathedral, past WW2 bullet holed buildings, up the cathedral for more stunning views. Went for a crepe, onto a church then back to the Sony centre where the lady had surprisingly kept us the tickets. We eventually got in but to the wrong bar, this was a kind of fiddle they were doing, charging for free tickets for free drinks. They wouldn't let me go the micro brewery so I kicked up a fuss and managed to get in after speaking to the manager and security. The place filled up but hardly any England fans, mostly Swedes and Germans, so when we scored, stood up air punching, looked round and the whole place was quietly seated. Game ended and we were debating weather to stay for the next game when Pele turned up. Lots of sing from Mexican supporters with R&S and myself trying to get the best vantage point. We went near where the world cup was situated and after Pele had finished this technician let the crowd touch it. Was it the actual thing who knows? We stayed for the Sweden Paraguay game as long as we promised to be up early next day, got completely sozzled and then Beckenbaur was the guest. Rob met some people from Birmingham....Alabama then not long after Rob had a funny turn and Stephanie had to take him home. The last time I saw him he was babbling something like "can I just say I cannot help you with the trains on the way back." I made my way back to the hostel when these 2 Brits asked me the way to the Lee Harvey Oswald bar. They invited me to join them, I said I was too drunk, but they said they were doing a crawl round east Berlin so that was it. The Lee Harvey Oswald bar was shut but we found a few others one with sand on the floor. Loads of swedes and locals tit flashing about. Had a right old session but had to leave because so drunk. I then realised I had no idea where I was but amazingly found the street the hostel was on, after a long walk realised it wasn't the street the hostel was. So I wandered and found my way back to the railway station and then back to the hostel in bed about 6.
Friday 16th June.
Up at 9.30 and breky, had a shower, found a watch, shower gel and a passport holder. Forgot to hand watch in but phoned up later and nobody had reported it lost. Packed and met R&S at the zoo gardens, quite late so they met me at the station. Then went to Charlotteburg, and enormous palace mostly destroyed in WW2 but now restored with many original items. Had some food at a Russian style bar, then back to the gardens to see some more attractions. Train back to Hannover where I got a correctly poured wheat beer from a vibrant bar, sitting at my seat drinking at 250kph. Took the glass back and most were pissed...excellent. Walked back from the station to Harrys and watched the Mexico Angola game with a few beers. Overnight went sleep walking, thinking I was somewhere else opening the wardrobe to try to get to the toilet etc.
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