Berlin, Germany

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).

 I ended up in Berlin, and was generously picked up by Nils, Monica’s boyfriend. Thus began the theme of Monica and Nils dropping/ picking me up at all locations…they very accurately did not trust my ability to navigate Berlin’s über complex public transportation system.

Who the heck can understand this metro schedule?

Going Grunge

 The following day is a public holiday; no one really knew what it was about…Nils thought it was about the birth of Jesus, but I’m convinced we call that Christmas in the States.

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!

Like this, but slightly less classy.

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).

 

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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?”

 As we’re scoping out the situation, looking for a good spot to jump the fence, we spot a moving trolley, complete with passengers…turns out the park was opened for the holiday and morphed into a druggy’s dream (think the techno version of Eeyore’s Birthday, in Austin). And so dashes our hopes of jumping fences, running between trees and generally pretending to be 007.

Yep, that’s a random dinosaur

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).

Grunge is so in.

Only Monica would continue to look cute in a photo at this angle.

We down our beers, grab dinner (not a kebab, my favorite European food, much to my chagrin), and then head to the video store, where I truly judge a book by its cover, in making a selection. Nils falls asleep 5 minutes in (we obvs should have picked my choice,with naked women on the cover), and so ends a successful first day in Berlin.

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.

I don’t know what this is, but it looks fancy.

Museum Island

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 & I in front of the Chancellor’s Office.

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!!

Even though I don’t normally eat pig, I altered all my personal beliefs while in Germany.

Party Time

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:

 Introductions.

Friend: “Hi! I’m Alba”
Me: “Alba?”
Alba: “No, Alba”
Me: “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??!
Alba: “Yea!!”
Me: “Okkayyy….baby.”

Learning phrases.

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!!!”

 After my German lesson, which I definitely aced, we arrive at the scene of the…bar? Neighborhood? We’re literally on a residential street, standing in front of some dude’s house, guarded by a bouncer. As we enter the house, we’re led down a spiral staircase and the quiet home morphs into a bumpin party cave! Super cool. Although I was expecting house music, the music of choice was swing! After swing dancing until the wee hours of the morning, we head home as the sun is rising and crash into bed.

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).

First stop: Tempelhof airport park, a former war-time airport that now houses joggers, cyclists, gardening enthusiasts (you can legit create a garden in one section of the park), ping-pong enthusiasts, and artists, amongst many other activities.

Tempelhof airport park

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.

Pop-up Carnival… Monica and I were not at all worried about the safety of these rides.

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.

How great does this look?

We ate this instead.

Monica hated her food.

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.

Explosion in the park…eek!!

The Day of Museums

Well, the day of one museum….museums are not entirely up my ally.

The day began with a stroll through Stadtschloss gardens & palace, which is to Berlin as Versailles is to Paris: where the nobility vacation. Also, some famous dead Prussian kings and queens are buried there.

Stadtschloss Gardens

Stadtschloss Palace, where the German nobility vacationed.

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.

Every Sunday, a flea market and karaoke event pop up at Maurpark. A huge throng of people congregate, a karaoke machine is set up, and anyone can perform: the drunker and more off-key, the better. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late, and were only able to witness two performances, both of which were surprisingly good.

Maurpark Karaoke

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.

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3 thoughts on “Berlin, Germany

  1. Whitney Sweet Pea says:

    The part about you trying to learn German phrases is like every conversation you’ve had with a foreigner. Hahaha

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