Monday, 14 April 2014

Adventures In Berlin

For once, Easter holidays have actually lived up to the second half of that name. After three years of spending these three weeks of supposed freedom chained to a desk full of revision with thrall-like wails, cries and dejected snufflings in the servitude of GCSE, AS and A2 level exams, I've finally caught a bit of a break. Say one thing for your first year of university - at least they're aware that a few months aren't quite enough for someone to completely readjust their academic mindset enough to start contributing toward a degree.

So, if not tied to a desk, where have I been?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.

Or, more accurately, clattering about Germany wondering if she remembered to pack her hairbrush this time.

Say one thing for big cities - they are excellent places for adventures. My first was on the train, where I found myself in the company of a very nice (but very confused) Arab gentleman who shared my deficit of German ... but also, sadly, a deficit of English. Luckily, we were speedily joined by a Nigerian gentleman who spoke not only English and Arabic, but German too. Between the three of us, we not only managed to make it onto the correct train, but also commandeered a very comfy set of seats in 2nd Class. Mostly because there wasn't any space anywhere else on the train.

Berlin itself, I must say, is a lovely city. I was happily encamped on the sofa of some uni friends, who took me out to see bits and pieces of the city between the rainstorms. Of which there were a lot. So, sadly, this post shall be a bit of a dearth of pictures. Luckily, each one of the few I have comes with another little adventure story.

 This, my friends, is the Brandenburg gate. This is also the point where I discovered that the German word for 'pancake' does not exist.

Why? Because they have multiple potential words for pancake, all of them context dependant, and most of them absurd enough to bend an English-speaker's brain over backwards in several directions.

It is also here that I learned that the city of Bielefeld does not exist, according to most city-centric German landlines.

This lovely structure, meanwhile, is part of the German parliamentary network. Rather puts 10 Downing Street to shame, eh?

We planned to cross the road and take a look at some of the older buildings further down, but there was a rather forceful-looking police barricade in the way at the time.

Our attempts at circumnavigating the streets to get around it ended up with us in a flea market, purchasing possibly the most awesome t-shirts known to man.

Finally, we come to an unexpectedly artsy shop over the new Jewish memorial, with guest appearances by the American embassy and another German parliamentary building.

The fun fact about this structure is that the main part of it is underground - and features a huge information centre, exhibits, and all manner of soul-crushing things within.

The upper bit, however, sufficed perfectly well as a bamboozling optical illustion that ended with a terrifying disoriented collision with a local tour group.

There were, of course, a great many other adventures that were had - like the unexpected visit of the police to the flat, after a well-meaning neighbour wondered if we'd left the door unlocked or if an intruder had gotten in, a night spent in competition for the high score of a limited edition Lord Of The Rings pinball machine, and lots more linguistic discussions that ended in me trying to bribe my German friends to steal the word 'matchbox' from the English in a desperate attempt to spare my sanity from processing the absolute monster of a word they have for the blasted thing.

I bribed them with Jammy Dodgers - and I darned nearly convinced them, too!

Well then, now that you've had some snapshots of where I've been, I feel it is only fair to update you on where I am right now.

Bavaria, on the Alps. A beautiful, beautiful place - so beautiful, in fact, that one doesn't tend to mind when the snow for skiing does not appear in as great a quantity as one might wish for. Not that we haven't made an attempt today, nonetheless. So far, I have also climbed trees, jumped out of trees, and  made lots of bad puns concerning trees, and later in the week look to be indulging in a spot of waterskiing, and maybe even some hiking if the weather holds out.
I shall, of course, endeavour to procure some pictures of that, too. If the rain stops.

I'm sensing a pattern here.

~ Charley R


  1. OH, that all sounds quite wonderful. I am four weeks away from my summer break, and counting every day as it passes.

    1. I bet you are - gotta love a good holiday, eh?

  2. Go get 'em! Looks you're having a blast! Two more weeks, two more weeks, two more weeks....

  3. Keep counting! It'll pass faster that way ;)