Back to the real Europe

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End Nov 12, 2012

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Where I stayed
The train and the Janitor's closet, and Kamil's place
What I did
Euro 2012!

Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Friday, June 29, 2012

I mentioned in my last blog that my next destination would
be Germany. Well, what I love about the way I travel is that I never stick to
the plan. When I was in Iceland I met Kamil, one of Mirza's roommates. He is
from Poland, and was heading back there very soon. He convinced me to come and
stay with him in Warsaw before I head to Berlin, and I am so very glad I did.
Especially with the European football championships currently happening there
the timing was just perfect, and the place was totally nuts!

I’d mentioned before that I couldn’t handle vodka, but being
in Poland I was told that I didn’t really have a choice! With vodka shots
costing just one euro, it was worth throwing up over. But it seems that my
tolerance has dramatically improved since earlier in my travels. After about
ten shots of vodka and a dozen random new friends from all over the place I was
quite proud of the night that I had.

One tip that I have been given during my travels is to
always carry a lighter with me. Even though I’m not a smoker it is a great way
to meet people who need to have a cigarette lit. It is also a famous pick-up
line for the female. After they scan the room for a good looking guy you have
to be prepared, otherwise you strike out straight away. I got asked for a
lighter many times in Poland. They smoke like volcanoes but they are never
prepared for anything. This made meeting people there very easy and the place
was a lot of fun.

While I had a blast in Warsaw, I could only stay there for
two days. I went to Gdansk the next day, hoping that I would somehow be able to
sneak into the stadium to watch the Germans play. I was unsuccessful. Unlike
Warsaw, most people in Gdansk can’t speak any English, making the situation
quite difficult. Maybe my German scarf was making it more difficult to make
friends, given that most of the locals were supporting Greece that day. I was at
a public viewing of the match, drifting from group to group trying to make
friends and find people who could speak competent English.

I did manage to find some very nice people, and made the
most of a crazy night out. At about 5am I decided that my best option was to
get on a train to Berlin so that I could get some sleep, since I had totally forgotten
about my basic need for accommodation that evening. I arrived in Berlin and
this time I remembered to check in to a hostel, before I went searching for
food. However the only cash I had was Polish Zlotys, and my replacement card
(my original one was stolen for those who remember) doesn’t allow me to
withdraw any cash. It was Saturday so I couldn’t get to a bank until Monday. You
would think that in a city like Berlin you would be able to get by with credit,
but this is not the case. Nowhere would accept my card, and I started to get
very frustrated.

It was Saturday night in Berlin, and I was determined to
make something happen. Unfortunately my determination died when I went back to
the hostel to figure out what to do, but I ended up falling asleep. But luckily
it wasn’t to be an early night for me, as I was awoken not long after by some
cheering. I had totally forgotten that Spain vs. France was on. I didn’t want
to miss it, so I went to the nearest bar. Sure enough they accepted credit, but
with a minimum purchase of 30 Euros. My stomach was doing the thinking now, so
I just ordered anyway and went to watch the game.

The situation turned when I decided to solve all my problems
at once. I went up to random people and offered to pay for their bills with my
card in exchange for their Euros. Not only did I manage to get some cash in
hand, but I also made some friends to go out with. The night turned out to be a
lot of fun, as the nightlife in Berlin is mental. After spending the next day
at some hippie daytime club I was bound to meet a hell of a lot of strange yet
wonderful people. The day was unusual and a bit of a blur, as I was quite hung
over from the night before.

After a couple more days in Berlin I am moving on to Hamburg,
and given the hostel I stayed at in Berlin had no atmosphere whatsoever I am
hoping to find another couch surfing host. I am going to be travelling all
around Germany for the next couple of weeks. I can’t get enough of the famous
currywürst and the dirt cheap beers.

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