Guten tag! My first trip to Germany began in Berlin; luckily I did not end up in Bratislava after a lost in translation conversation with a foreign chicken truck driver (see Eurotrip movie).
Simultaneous to the unknown holiday is Man’s Day, a German holiday where groups of men get very drunk and parade around the streets. I would have preferred to land in Berlin during Woman’s Day…schiesse!
Monica, Nils and I head to East Side Gallery, have a photo shoot at the former Berlin Wall, and meet up with a friend of Nils to attempt to illegally sneak into an abandoned amusement park (abandoned after the owner went bankrupt and fled to Peru 8 years previous).
My Texan roots come out when Nils tells us a story about a guy who had previously tried to trespass into the abandoned park:
Nils: “He jumped over and then…”
Me: “….he was shot?!?!”
Nils: “No….I was going to say he ripped his pants.”
Me: “Ooh, how disappointing.”
Monica: “Can you tell Tracey is from Texas?”
After the failed action scene from a James Bond movie, we head to an underground grunge bar in East Berlin, where I try to blend in by drinking a Berliner, the local beer (I bet you wouldn’t have guessed it was local if I hadn’t blatantly spelled it out).
The Day of Walking
The day of walking commences with a four hour walking tour (to which I joined bandit, after being told the group was full), where topics of conversation range from German history to Bratwursts and sights range from the holocaust memorial to the house of parliament.
After a full afternoon of walking, I meet up with Julia, my German friend from UT. Right as I’m about to suggest having a seat at a nearby cafe, Julia announces she is going to give me a walking tour of her neighborhood, as she knows how much I enjoy being active. Schiesse!
Julia and I tour the area, snap some photos, eat bratwurst and cake and she places me on the u-bahn, under strict instructions from Monica to make sure I get on the right train….thanks, Mom!!
I arrive safe and sound at Monica’s apartment, just in time for the party! Conversing with Monica and Nil’s German friends, while drinking, breeds a few interesting conversations:
Friend: “Hi! I’m Alba”
Alba: “No, Alba”
Alba: “No no. ALBA!”
Me: “Alba! That is what I said!”
Alba: “Yea, it just doesn’t quite sound right when you say it.”
Me: “Hmm, do you have a nickname I can use?”
Alba: “How about ‘baby’?”
Me: “You want me to call you baby??!
Me: “Can you teach me a few phrases to say at the bar??”
The Germans: “Sure! What would you like to say?”
Me: “How about a phrase for when I like someone and a phrase for when I don’t like someone?”
The Germans: “The phrase for when you don’t like someone is “Fuck off” in English”.
Me: “Woa! That’s a little harsh, no?”
The Germans: “You’re in Berlin! That’s how it goes here.”
Me: “Well, when in Rome…how do I say “Fuck off” in German?”
The Germans: “Verpiss dich”
Me: “sick bin”
The Germans: “??? Verpiss dich”
Me: “ich tin”
The Germans: “??? Verpiss dich”
Me: “Let’s move on. What is the phrase for when I like someone?”
The Germans: “Sie sind süß’. It means ‘you are sweet’.
Me: (okay I got this one. It sounds like ‘beast zeus’) “ich beast zeus?”
The Germans: “hmm…well….yea, they might understand that!!”
Monica: “You sound Russian.”
Me: “ich beast zeus!! Ich beast zeus!!!”
The Day of Parks
The next day is spent nursing Monica’s and my hangovers at various parks throughout Berlin (and trust me, there is no shortage).
Second stop: Viktoriapark, where we witness both a pop up carnival and an animal arena that is a cross between a petting zoo and a real zoo. Only in Berlin.
Third stop: the famous Mustafa’s kebab shop! Unfortunately, the shop is a bit too famous, as the line is at least 50 long, and going nowhere fast. Monica and I bail, in favor of a ridiculously delicious vegetarian restaurant down the road.
Fourth stop: Unknown park, where we hike up the hill, as I complain about my shin splints from the miles of walking, and Monica expresses her disbelief that I finished a triathlon only a few weeks prior. We watch the sunset and head home, where I book my upcoming Munich trip, and Monica and I watch a movie before hitting the hay.
The Day of Museums
Well, the day of one museum….museums are not entirely up my ally.
I then visit an Anne Frank exhibition; a heartbreaking tour through the life of those hidden with Anne, in the Secret Annex (hidden room). Although I spent less than an hour in the museum, it took me nearly twice as long to recover from my somber mood…the only medicine was karaoke at Maurpark.
Maurpark is followed by ice cream, and a 10pm dinner (which didn’t even feel late) with Laura, Monica’s American friend whom she met in German class. I resist buying “American champagne”, aka water, and arrive home two hours later, fiercely dehydrated! I chug some water and head to bed for my last night at the Monica bed and breakfast.
What a great trip, spent with two ‘very marvelous’ and never regal hosts.
Next stop: Munich to visit the castle from Beauty and the Beast, and Garmisch to hike the Alps and detox after 2 weeks of beer and kebabs.