Im currently writing from Prague, thought I would make use of the FREE internet... a rare luxury in the backpackers hostel, and keep you updated on my adventures in Berlin and some of those here in the Czech Republic. Berlin was an amazing three nights and two days. Our hostel was in a great spot, near the Berliner Dom (Catherdral) and about a 15 minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate... which is a leisurely stroll down the main street. I spent the first night settling in and then buying some good old groceries from the supermarket in an attempt to save some cash.
The first day I went on a walking tour with my new found Bus About friends. It was absolutely pouring! But at least I had been wise enough to pack my bright red raincoat to keep me dry.. it was an Aussie Little Red Riding Hood in the middle of Berlin. Apart from the torrential rain, the walking tour was great. Our guide seemed to know the entire history of Germany.. so it was so interesting learning all the extra little bits and pieces. We visited Berliner Dom, Museum Island (its not literally an island... just a massive group of all these different museums put in the same place... ingenious Germans hey), the Jewish Memorial, Hitler's Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie, Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and many other little memorials and statues with names that cant be remembered for the life of me. After the tour, I headed off to the Jewish Museum under the memorial.. have been there before, but it was an entirely different experience after having studied the history of Germany so intensly last year. Very sobering experience, and the letter from a dying 12 year old girl to her father.. will be stuck in my mind for a long time, "i hug you with tears knowing i will probably never see you again". It was an intense museum visit that definitely left me feeling all the more grateful for my life in Australia, very glad I took the time to see it. An interesting fact about this Memorial.. if you don't know it, it has about 2700 black blocks of different shapes and sizes built in tribute to the Jews who lost their life during the Holocaust. In order to prevent graffiti being plastered all over them, they were sprayed with a special coating that prevents paint sticking to them. Ironically, this protective spray was produced by the same company that produced the deadly gas during the Holocaust. . . it just shows you how closely everyone was involved in the opression of the Jews during that time. Athough sometimes it was hard to see and hear these stories, one of the things that truly amazed about Berlin was the history... everywhere you looked was another story... and so many things to learn. It was so great to be able to spend time in a city that had that history to offer and really made you feel a part of it.. the Germans have dealt with their past really well, not hiding anything and even leaving parts of the Berlin Wall up to make sure no one forgets the past.
That night after the day of walking, I decided to go on a Berlin pub crawl with my new friends. We started off at the hostel and from there went to four different bars... dont know their names or have any idea where they were. They were alright, some were fairly cool with their chilled couches and mood lighting. I met some new friends from Aus and a couple of cool girls from Aus. We were given free shots at each bar and then could buy whatever else you wanted. By the end of the night we ended up at a small club called Sophienclub on... Sophienstrasse (haha how original!) for a couple of hours. It was pretty small but had some great music so spent a bit of time dancing there with some new mates.. Funny story came out of this night that I cant resist sharing. Andrew, a guy from our hostel insisted at the beginning of the night that i make sure he get back to the hostel at the end of the night because he was planning on getting smashed.. i promised nothing... so it really was not my fault that he got so blind he could not read the texts telling him where the group was or the way back to our hostel.. and it definitely was not my fault that he ended up paying a prostitute 80 euros (thats about 150 aussie dollars!) for directions home and had to be helped up the stairs by the reception staff when he eventually got there....... mm a real smart guy there, couldnt believe he could go so overboard.. it was a bit of a laugh at his expense the next day though!
My last day in Berlin, I spent the morning getting ready and packing up my stuff after having to change rooms every morning! That day I went to East Side Gallery... for those of you who dont know its a existing strip of the Berlin Wall that has been decorated with artwork all along the east side. I had a great time checking out all the paintings and sneakily using self timer to get some good photos! Then it was off to the Tiergartens which are like a massive Botanic Gardens... except with so many more trees. I sat here for a couple of hours reading my book... the great thing about travelling is that you get to do this without feeling guilty! And after Boy in Striped Pajamas (highly recommed) I was really caught up in the new Jodi Picoult book. That night I just relaxed and caught up with some of the Bus Abouters that were staying a couple more nights in Berlin.. hopefully will see them the last night in Prague! The Hostel Bars are great cos you can sit around in the warmth and comfort of the hostel and get a cheap drink... these can be very rare to find in Europe!
Some extra handy things I have learned... from making some stupid mistakes. Id love to share them with you and give you a bit of savvy hostel travelling advice. #1 If you are having a shower, don't forget to take your towel in with you... this avoids a nasty surprise and having to dry yourself with your clothes! #2 Never, ever forget to take your key card with you when you leave your room, otherwise after your shower you may have to trek shamefully down to the breaky room in your pjs to find a nice roommate who will lend you their key! #3 If you are heading out on a 3-4 hour walking tour of a city, check the weather forecast first. This will avoid you being stuck in the middle of the tour in absolutely pouring rain with no raincoat or umbrella to protect you!
Ok thats all from me, I will give you a Czech Republic update from the wonderful town of Cesky Krumlov... which I am travelling to tomorrow. Love you all very much and with this trip flying past, Im sure I will see you very soon.. Off to work out this stupid washing machine system xxx