Sunday 23 Aug
I started to hit a wall pretty quickly and the shower did little to wake me up. After eating we packed the coach and hit the road at 800. Straight away I lay down in the isle in the middle of the bus. There was no way I was laying on the hot plate that the floor at the back is. I was asleep straight away too.
When I woke we were pulling into Dresden and were well inside the German border. Dresden is another beautiful city, except it doesn't feel very genuine as everything has been flattened during the war and had been rebuilt. I walked around for a bit and then sat in a beer garden had a coffee and wrote in my diary. This task is becoming quite an epic one. Everyday i'm writing between 1 and 2 thousand words and the task takes a minimum of half an hour. Its definitely worth it though. I'm already reading extracts from the start of the trip and am so glad for it.
After a lunch on the river we jumped back in the coach and I resumed my position in the isle of the coach and again was out like a light.
The next time I awoke it was to a slightly less suttle tune. Wayne had put on Killing in the name of by rage against the machine on full pelt. In hindsight it was pretty funny but I was so angry as I thought he was just being an ass. Turns out though that letty had just asked wayne to wake everyone up as we were nearly in Berlin, that made it excuseable and made me laugh, although many of my fellow passengers still had a sook.
We went around the outskirts of berlin to our campsite, which is miles from the centre of town. We set up camp and myself George and jack packed an overnight bag. We had booked a room in berlin and were planning on going out to try one of Berlin's famous clubs.
We went into Berlin for a driving tour. This was made difficult as Berlin has just finished hosting the World athletic championships and the marathon had been on that day. As a result there were roads closed off all over the place. We had a temp Driver as law requires that brent havfe a 48 hour rest and luckily he knew the city very very well and we were still able to see all the sights.
Next we went to the restaurant where we were having tea. The place was a little irish pub and they sat us all out the back. There are another 2 top deck tours in Berlin at the moment and they were there aswell. The dinner was a chicken dish and an awesome soup to start with. Although the food was ok they rushed us through and were quite pushy. I was being served my dessert before most people had finished there main.
This place also had karaoke on that night so we moved from the restaurant into the front bar and various people got up and did there thing. We had to leave at 10 so that the driver could get back to the campsite before his hours ran out.
We had to wait for about 10 minutes two of the girls had disappeared. These two were notorious for wandering off so we left with out them as the driver couldn't wait any longer. I'd asked the drivers to drop us off close to the hotel as it was on the way back to camp. The plan was to walk to the hotel. But it was soon evident after we got dropped off that the plan wasn't going to work. We hailed a cab and jumped in that and he took us right to the door.
Myself and George checked in while Jack waited out the front, we'de only booked a twin share and didn't want to have to pay more. The room was pretty small and only had 2 single beds. We pushed these together, the plan being for the three of us to sleep cross ways.
We walked out side and jumped in another cab. I'd read in the lonely planet that there was a hostel with a popular bar nearby and wanted to head towards it. George suggested we go to the area that top deck had recommended, I thought what the hell and changed plans then.
This driver was a crack up and spoke very little broken english. I was asking him about the best night clubs in the area we were going to. He started raving about his favourite one where the girls are the most beautiful in all of Berlin and that they were friendly and very cheap...? Again i'd forgotton that in many parts of Europe Night club means Strip club, and that I should have asked for a discoteque.
Where the driver had taken us was really nice and was full of really cool restaurants and bars. The only downer was that it was really quiet, being a sunday night. We went into one bar and had a drink. It was soon evident that at 1030 at night it was a little late to organise anything so we decided to call it quits.
We stopped by a side stall where they didn't sell 'burgers' they did however sell 'meat in bread with ketchup' I decided to settle on that and we sat in the bar which was really cool. Half the chairs were swings, the type that are like a giant woven washing basket.
We left that bar and jumped in another cab, showed him the business card and went back to the hotel and crashed. I was exhausted
Monday 24 Aug
Yesterday morning we woke at 7 and went down and had breakfast, planning on a delicate juggling act to get the three of us in with only 2 breakfast tokens was entirely unnecessary, I've still got my token in my pocket today. The Breaky was good though, cereal, bread cheese and salami.
We left the hotel at 820 we needed to meet the rest of the trip at 0900 for a walking tour. The map said it was just over 2k's away, but it was definitely closer to 4 and we just made it with less then 2 minutes to spare. The tour was a "third Reich tour" and took us around the centre of Berlin explaining various Nazi sites of interest. We went past the bunker where Hitler Killed himself and through all the Government areas. The tour was really good and was run by a young girl who'd grown up in west Berlin.
The tour also included a fair bit on the Berlin wall. We were shown past the twin lines off cobblestones that mark the old wall and to check point charlie. The last check point with any remnants.
The tour finished at 12 and we all split. Again I wanted to hang out by myself all day. So I went and grabbed a coffee and a bagel for lunch and then set about finding a laundry. I'd only done washing once since the start of the trip and everything was beginning to stink. I found a hotel and they pointed me in the direction of somewhere to de-stink my clothes.
Once I finally got there I stood there staring at the instructions for a good 5 minutes. They were in german and I was getting no where. I ended up trying to find a local who spoke english to translate it for me and he pretty much did my washing for me.
What goes around comes around I guess as soon after a bunch of yanks were having the same problem I was. These guys were a punk band from Austin, Texas. Funny guys I ended up hanging round with them while I waited for my washing to finish.
After i'd done my washing I started walking up to the "chupa chup" a giant telecommunications tower that resembles funnily enough, a chuppa chup.
I got to the chuppa chup after about a 20 minute walk and sat in the park playing my harmonica for about 30 minutes. I then walked down the boulevard into town. There's heaps of beautiful museums and buildings, but one of the most interesting things is the massive expanses of empty land. They're still rebuilding from the war and as a result they have these awesome expanses of land in the middle of the CBD. It was a really nice day and as a result these were covered in people just laying in the sun, sun baking or just lounging around enjoying themselves.
I got through town and ended at check point charlie a little early so I went down to star bucks to use the internet. Again I was slapped in the face by the language barrier and had to get the barista to set my commputer up for me so that I could use the wireless. After i'd finished with the net I went downstairs to use the WC, which is the international sign for toilet, coming back up a smashed my elbow into a painting that was fixed to the wall. It hurt so much and I sat in the stairwell hunched over for a good 1 or 2 minutes. I spent the rest of the day with my arm half cocked and I was pretty worried i'd done something serious but it's heaps better today.
George and I met at Check point charlie at 6 to go for another man date. We jumped on the metro and went up the river. Where we found a place on the river that sold meals for less then 15 EU, amoungst other places that were charging at least 25 EU for a main. We both ordered the Germanian sausage and asked for a beer. The waitress asked if we wanted the small or big one. Thinking she meant the .3L of the .5L we said we wanted the big one and sort of puffed our chests out. "Ok 1L" she said and walked off.
She came back 5 minutes later with the biggest beer i'd ever seen. 1L , holy s***. They were huge. Our sausage and sour croute came out soon after. It was really good and the whole meal only cost us 35EU, so we rounded it up to 40 and left.
We got back to Check point charlie an hour befor our pick up so we sat in a cafe called "einstein cafe" the bear was pretty cheap here so we had another couple befor getting picked up and heading back to camp.