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Published: October 29th 2009
Again, I will apologise in advance. Zac has informed me that my blog is very “dry”. Not sure what I’m supposed to do to wet it up. There’s a glass of Polish vodka sitting next to me, but that wouldn't do my computer any good.
After Mum’s concerns that we would be sharing our sleeper compartment with an axe-murderer/drunk/weirdo/all-of-the-above, we had a much smoother trip on the train, mainly because we were sharing with such an on-the-ball Polish lady. So, we managed to get off the train without the same mad scramble as last time. Mum and I found our way to the hotel by subway, and went for a wander around the local area (hmmm… wandering seems to be a common theme….). Finding ourselves in a much larger city, we felt a bit overwhelmed by how much stuff there was around us!! We visited the Kaiser-Wilhelm Cathedral, which is amazing because they have not rebuilt it since WW2 destruction, unlike many others in Europe, and have just kept the partially destroyed steeple and turned the rest of the space into a modern concert hall.
We met up with Pen and Dad, watched Dad meticulously unpack his suitcase and
then had an awesome Italian dinner, made even more awesome by the fact that Pen told the owners that our hotel had recommended us to eat there, so they gave us free peach liqueur and champagne, only to discover when we left we were in the wrong restaurant!
The next day, we wandered (!) past the Brandenburg gate, the Reichstag, the remains of the SS headquarters and Checkpoint Charlie. A highlight was also the Holocaust memorial which is a square of concrete blocks of many different sizes which you can wander through, left up to you to interpret, very cleverly coated in anti-graffiti paint, which makes the raindrops do cool things for arty photos!!!
We then travelled out to the East Side Gallery (the world’s longest art gallery) to see the Berlin Wall art. The gallery is a 1.3 km section of the wall that has been painted, but we visited it just at the right time because, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down, the sections have just been repainted by the original artists - bright shiny new!
Yay for currywurst!! Penny and I indulged in a currywurst (fried sausage with dead horse and
curry powder..mmm….) and Pen introduced me to European Fanta. Yay for European health codes and high standards - Fanta actually tastes good in Germany. There’s no horrible bright orange colour, and it tastes much more ‘natural’.
Pen took us all out to dinner at “Max und Moritz” - a gorgeous pub with traditional German foods - I had a fantastic Sauerbraten, pickled meats and cabbage (with potato- of course!), traditionally made with horsemeat, but not anymore! We threw the parents back on the train, and Pen and I went out to catch up with a good friend of Lucy’s, Liesl, and her friend Bethany. Many a tall gin tonic and some loud story telling! Lots of fun!
The following day, we (with tired and slightly hung over Pen and Sof's) got up early in the morning to try and get inside the Reichstag, which we did, but it was a loooooooooooooong queue. It was worth it though, for the amazing architecture. It’s another building that was burnt in WW2 and has been reconstructed, and you can climb up inside the dome of the building and look down on the German parliament. It’s a very clever design to remind
the politicians that the public are always looking over them.
Said bye to Mum and Dad, Pen and I had a delicious home-cooked meal with Liesl and Bethany, stayed one more night in Berlin, and then headed to Mannheim (where Pen lives) the next day.
In Mannheim, Pen and I have had delicious pizza, pretzels with cheese (OMG THE PERSON WHO INVENTED PRETZELS WITH CHEESE SHOULD BE CROWNED), lovely cafe food, many cups of tea and some great german beers. I don't understand how chinese beer can taste so crap when the germans started the factory in Qingdao. We also visited Heidelberg - a quaint old town close to mannheim - for beer and schnitzel, among other things.
As I finish this off, I'm sitting in Pen's room whilst she's at uni, eating a take-away kebab (probably making her room smell like kebab - Sorry Pen) with the awesome task of packing my bag. Bleh. Tonight I head off on an epic adventure to get home to Beijing. Trains, buses, planes... fun, fun, fun. See you on the other side.
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