If I EVER see anothe German Sausage again I'll....

Trip Start Jun 09, 2005
Trip End ??? ??, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Wednesday, January 4, 2006

At last! A european city that gets modern architecture. Berlin is chock full of the most amazing and bizarre buildings. It has a unique sense of energy and change to it that we haven't found anywhere else in Europe and it we both really loved it. I have found London a little set in it's ways when it comes to architecture. Having worked on a few REALLy ugly new developments recently, I have discovered England has these endless rules and regulations about what you can and can't build - windows have to be the same size, have to fit in with the existing streetscape, they all have to be a certain orientation so you don't cut sunlight, can't be too high or they cut out views, must preserve historic features etc. etc. What it all means is that the city can feel quite stifling, and often large parts all look pretty similar. No fear in Berlin. It has quite a lot of open space to play with (basically because it got the crap bombed out of it, and is still recovering)so instead of trying to rebuild and make things look the way they were, they have been innovative and are in the process of making a truly unique city.

Berlin was also a little frustrating. We just knew there were so many UBER cool places just waiting to be discovered, but they are just not in the Lonely Planet Guide, and do you think we could find them? I think it is a city that you need a local to show you around. But anyway, onto New Year's.

We have met up with our friend from Port Douglas - Andrew (better known as Danger to those in the know)and decided to try and find this ultra cool GDP decorated socialist nightclub that he had read about. Trusting that he actually knew what the hell he was going (he does have a German girlfiend and had been to Berlin before after all), we set off in high spirits for a big night of adventure. After travelling in the wrong direction on the U-bahn, we found the right station. What we thought was a quick five minute walk turned into about 40, as we slid down the icy streets in search of this club, only to finally get there and discover that it was empty and looking decidedly boring. Never mind we thought - we'll jump on the U-bahn and go to another cool place we know of. Another hour or so of wondering thoroughly lost around the back -streets of Berlin, having fire works thrown directly at us on quite a few occasions - and I am not exaggerating,I thought Mick was going to deck a couple of guys at one stage, the rocking ska club that had been so much fun the night before had turned into German techno music hell. By this time, it is about 11:30 and we were facing the prospect of a very boring New Year's Eve in one of the most happening cities in Europe. We trotted across the road to another club called Silver Fisch, paid our 7 Euro entro fee only to find there were a few too many cosy same-sex couples for our liking. But not to worry, we found a nice quite corner and settled down for a few festive drinks, with some fairly decent music (read non-techno) being played by the dj. At midnight, we went outside for the obligatory fire works. They have a little bit of a different attitude to fireworks in Germany. One was fired straight at some poor taxi driver's window as he was driving down the street. When he stopped, another was launched at the rim of his tyres. Stupidly, he got out to take a look, only to have another put up his exhaust pipe. Very wisely, he then got in his car and drove off. There were similar antics everywhere you looked. Well, thinking the climax of our night had been reached, we headed back into the club for a couple more drinks when all of a sudden our night took a dramatic turn for the better as the Pub Crawl from Hell suddenly descended upon us. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much! It get's pretty x-rated from here on in, so I won't go into too much detail as we do have parents reading this, but I have put a couple of the saner photos up for view. The last one of us crawled home at about 5:30pm and we had one of the best New Year's for quite a while.

Other than that, we did a fair bit of sight-seeing largely revolving around old Nazi sites (Hitler's bunker) and communist hangouts (checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall etc) which was all completely captivating. Couldn't quite bring ourselves to visit one of the concentration camps - there seems something fundamentaly wrong about opening these places for tourists. Berlin is definitely a must see and brings High School history lessons to life in a big way. I don't know what it is about the place - we have done loads of historic walks and tours by now, but none of them seemed real up until now. Maybe it's just that it is still such recent history. Anyway, that's enough philosophising. I think we both feel that we have unfinished business with Berlin, and will be back.It was just waaay too cold to get out and about much ( New Year's Eve had a maximum temperature of -6 degrees)We are now back in London, just as well, as my stomach needs some recovery after more processed meats than I have eaten for the last five years, consumed in ten days. As a major coincidence, we found ourselves on the same flight back to London as Leo, for those who know her. Just can't shake those Brisvegas people!

As for the food, all I can say is I am very glad I'm not German.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years.
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