22.02.2013 - 22.02.2013
Alright. Berlin. I arrived in the city at 4 30 in the morning hoping to find some Internet and discover my couch surfing inbox filled with acceptances. Starbucks shined like a beacon and I hopped onto their network. Nothing. My requests had brought immense sympathy and kind words from many people but not a single person could have me at the time. Facing the first trouble I'd had on the trip I decided to hop on the tram and wait a few hours to see if any if the people who hasn't responded would get back to me with better news. I fought off sleep as the cityscape blended into the country and the train began passing through snowy fields instead of concrete jungle. Thankfully the train did an about face about an hour after I got on it and another hour later I wound up at Starbucks again. Still nothing. With my pack feelin heavier all the time I started googling good hostels and found a number very close to me. I set out feeling glad I finally had a destination. Walking along the Berlin streets I glanced to my right and stopped, realizing the wall across the street was far from just a wall. Crossing over I soon realized that I had been walking along what was once the death strip, the dead zone that along with the Berlin Wall, once separated east and west Germany. It's hard to describe the feeling but it was one of the most powerful emotions I've had in a long time, just looking down and knowing what the ground under my feet had once signified and the sorrow and grief it had once created. I walked reverently along the wall for another mile or so, most of which now only consists of the supporting rebar.
As you know from my last entry I made it to the east 7 hostel and dropped my bag and with it my fears about not having a bed for the night. 5 minutes after I posted my last entry two guys entered the dorm room I was in and one dropped off his bags. I introduced myself and found out the Matt an Aussie studying at the university of Berlin, was leaving in a couple days for home and after losing his apartment keys the weekend before he was no longer welcome at his place and so was staying at the hostel his final nights. So as you can imagine he and Paul ( his friend, an Irishman) were in a celebratory mood. An invitation was extended in direction. I accepted. After eating the best doner I'd ever had ( 5 months and turkey and nothing there even came close to as good) we hoofed it over to Belushi's, their favorite bar where we met up with a number of their friends and then ventured to the meeting place for a pub crawl they knew well. For 10 euros you got a free drink at 6 bars and other deals as well at each place you went, culminating with a visit to Matrix, a club I had seen adds for all over the city. Needless to say everyone had a great time and I made some great new friends, though my jet lagged body clock was in no way improved from the evening.
Saturday brought me to Rachel Harding, a friend of my brothers girlfriend and who had kindly offered me a place to stay in Berlin. I thankfully got to bed earlier that evening and was grateful to be in the comfort of a home. I also made the decision to travel to Prague on Monday and started sending out couchsurfing requests to people in the area, wondering what adventures my next city would bring. On Sunday I got down to sight seeing business and hit the east side gallery, a mile long wall of graffiti and murals, along the way stumbling into a reggae hamlet that in the summer hosts street soccer tournaments, a definite destination in the future. From there I made my way over to the Brandenburg gate and from there to the Jewish memorial. Pictures to come soon I swear. For lunch I ate currywurst, basically a hotdog in a doughy casing and covered in a rich, smoky ketchup, kinda like ketchup crossed with barbecue sauce. Not the most high class food but German without a doubt. The next day I hopped on the train to Prague and when I leave for my next destination after here I'll post again on what my Czech forays consisted of. Have a great one.