Back tracking..

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Flag of Germany  , Berlin,
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Back to Berlin....I know....many of your are saying....weren't you there already.  The answer is yes, but why would I do anything that makes any sense.  Not my style.  Plus if I did anything guys would probably stop reading my nonsense.   What's the point of reading a story if you already know the ending anyways??

    So on the agenda for my second time back in Berlin, I had a small list of things and places I wanted to see while I was in town.  Now the very first couchsurfer that I met was a german girl by the name of Julia.  She was staying very close to Tottenham, and we met one time while in Bolton area.  I remember being really impressed by her short but impressive traveling resume.  She had been traveling all around Iceland for several months, which to me sounded amazing, a true kind of adventure.  I mean Iceland isn't a usual travel destination.   So she had now returned home to Germany, Berlin area to be precise, with her 6 month old baby boy Kristian.  Now since we had been in contact a few times while on the road, she had agreed to show me around her neck of the woods if I was ever passing through, so I decided to take her up on her return offer.  She had actually just moved into her own flat from her parents place, and was still in the everything is still in boxes stage.  I told her that I could stop by for a day or two and help her set up some of her things, like cabinets that had to be assembled, since I can imagine it would be rather tough to do that with a little one keeping you preoccupied.  She came to the train station to pick me up with her dad, and the little fella.  It was dark and snowing night, and I was on the old east side of Germany, the DDR.  I really like the feel of the East side.  Something raw about it that felt cool. It  was a real quiet train station, as it was the last stop on the line.  A few cars, a few people, and I just had a feeling that no one there spoke a word of english.  I mean why would they?  They are far from any touristic part of Berlin.  My phone rang and it was Julia.  She had been waiting for me on the platform, and I had somehow walked right  past her onto the street.  Greeted with a big smile, we loaded the big pack into the trunk and off we went.   When we arrived back at her place, I could see that there was plenty of things to do, and I was actually looking forward to doing them.  It gave me a project, something to keep me busy, something almost normal, something completely different from my traveling tasks.  

      Julia had gotten somethings for me to try that were very german.  One of them, was something I quite can't remember the name of.  It was basically fat that is let over from when you cook bacon, cold, with junks of bacon in it.  You are supposed to spread it on bread.  Sounds gross, but gross enough that I had to try it.  I liked it.  Maybe not everyone's cup of tea however....  During the day, we went for a couple walks with little Kristian in his stroller around the lake that was situated in her town.  It must have looked like we were a family or something.  When I told some of my friends where I was, and what I was doing by helping out with a friends new apartment, some of them even asked if the baby was mine.  Mmmm, not quite....I think I would have remembered something like that.   It was a really nice couple of days though spent with Julia and Kristian.  Julia seemed to enjoy having the help too.  Good to see you again Julia, nice to finally meet Kristian, and I hope that your apartment feels a little bit more like home.  Until we meet again...

       My other Berliner friend Anne had invited me back to stay with her if I was ever back in town, which was very sweet of her.   She was nice enough to again lend me her apartment, while she was at work and school.  Her apartment was this really cool old school flat on the east side of the city.  She had some other friends stopping by since we were getting really close to Christmas time.  Her friend Kristoph was coming back to Berlin with his girl friend Maleen for the holidays, and we had a night of going to the silent disco, just like the one I visited in Rio.  No loud speakers, just music your own personal headset.  At first we arrived at it was rather quiet, but as per the norm.  The later the party went, the more people piled in.  Before you know it, the small area was packed with people singing all different kinds of songs at the same time.  Somewhere there is a video of me singing some ACDC, but it is so embarassing, that I will have to pass on showing everyone.  Sorry, that one is going into the archives.  Berlin is starting to be a favorite among my party cities.  I think its just more my style.    

    I remember the days being extremely cold with some of the worst snow Germany has had in years.  One day touring around the city visiting numerous christmas markets and taking pics of some of the local grafiti, my camera reached its limits.  I arrived at the first ever world time clock which is located in Berlin, and started clicking away, when I started noticing that all my pictures were coming out pink.   At first I thought it was maybe a setting I had changed, but after checking nothing seemed to change it.  The LAST thing in the world I wanted was my camera to die on me, because this was my big DSLR.  I turned it off and went back to the flat with it tucked under my jacket hoping to fix it.  After letting it warm up for a few hours slowly, everything was good.  I was very relieved, and kinda liked my weird pink pictures of the world clock and Berlin tower.

     The snow was getting to be a problem all over the city, so much piling up everywhere making it hard to walk.  It reminded me a lot of Canadian winters.  Apart of me loved the sound of the snow under my feet as I walked.   These were the days before Christmas, and most people are going home, or in town visiting family.  One would think that this time of year would be hardest mentally, being away from family and friends.   This is very true. I missed just being able to see everyone and the tradition that went along with Christmas.  Although my mom made me feel as close to home as if I was there with my daily advent calendar emails, filled with stories and pictures of christmas pasts.  They were a great read everytime, Thanks Mom.  Love and miss you and Dad, Mel and Arran.   That goes to all cousins, aunts and uncles too!  Bacheegs for everyone.  Apart of me also felt like doing something completely different.  With the advent of Internet, Skype, and emails, it made it much easier.  I was going to be traveling around during those days.....That part comes later on.

     My last couple days in the Big B, Anne`s friend Julia and Carlos came also to make their Christmas procession back to the north.  They had just come from Canary Islands and Julia in Sevilla.   It was cool to go out wondering the markets drinking gluhwein with them by the world time clock.  On the night of them leaving, we went and walked a fair grounds that was attached to the Alexanderplatz if I remember correct.    And with a few glasses of gluhwein and rum in me, I decided to take on one of those sldegehammer and bell games.    Looked easy enough, because the trick is to make sure you direct the sledge perfectly straight down with no sideways motion.  But this hammer must have weighed 10 kilo.  Try controlling weight like that on the end of a tooth pick.  I made my three attepts, with several people stopping to watch.  I didn`t quite make the top(which I think is rigged, either that or german standards are tougher), any excuse to say it wasn`t the fact that I wasn`t strong enough.  I won`t the prize of a .25 euro plastic whistle.  As I walked away from the ride, I blew my whistle raising my one eyebrow in defeat.  Snow came blowing out of the whistle making for quite a funny look I guess as I remember hearing several people chuckle.  Shit, I guess it was funnier if you were there....but trust was friggin funny.

   Now almost a repeat of my last trip in Berlin, I left to go back to Amsterdam.  But this was not to just get my party on.  This was to start a 5 day christmas tour of Belgium with a old travel friend, Ceyda.   Even though this is super late, I hope every friend and family all around the globe had an amazing Christmas.  Thank you Berlin, for yet another memorable time, and to all those that helped me make it such a good time.  Cheers...Matt out.
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