germany, hungary, czech republic, poland and back to spain
09.10.2011 25 °C
sorry, its been almost a month! with keeping my diary, i get confused when ive posted things haha. and its almost october, eek!
we eventually got to berlin!! yay! our eurail is valid on the s bahn so we took that as far as we could towards our hostel and then we decided to be stingy bums and walk. the distance wasnt to big. ha. ha. so we walked. and walked. and walked. and popped into a supermarket because we were staying for 5 nights and wanted to stock up and we thought we were close to the hostel. we were wrong. so we got pointed in the right direction, and we walked. and walked. and i carried olivias day pack, and she carried the shopping and i think her arms still hurt like a week later :/ and we walked. and then we arrived! yaya! we checked in, cooked our pizza becaus there was no freezer, and chilled for a while. that eveneing we went to see the east side gallery which is a very long stretch of the berlin wall that is decorated with street art. it was amazing! i got some great photos, one i looked at again the other day and i swore it was actually real. like it actually happened. anyway. as we were leaving some (a lot of) harley davidsons rocked up, we stayed and watched for a bit, because they were forming a movie. it was all going rather slowly, as making of movies do so we left, only to have them zoom past us on the way back with a camera man hanging out the back of a truck! exciting times haha.
now for the dot points. this is everything we did in berlin in no particular order.
- check point charlie - really interesting exhibition on the GDR, the checkpoints with HEAPS to read
- topographie of terrors - once again HEAPS to read, but on the history of berlin, starting at ww2 and going through to the communist era, but exploring mainly compensation and life in post-war terms
- stasi museum - fantastic free museum we stumbled upon about the stasi regime and the techniques they used to infiltrate peoples lives. including ´smelling jars´so dogs could track you if you became suspect later on. very strange. also, their determination to know EVERYTHING was insane. it was repeated throughout the exhibition and they just couldnt let it go.
- brandenburg gate - underwhelming. wasnt sure of the significance. just a gate (i really gotta research these things so the mean something!)
- statue of an angel (called it an eagel. BIG no no apparently) - we walked for ages and ages to get there, but the really exciting thing was, that that day the pope was visiting berlin! so there was heaps of cordoned off areas and heaps of convoys went through and olivia thinks she may have seen the pope!
- the holocaust memorial - amazing. these grey blocks are placed over a block of land in the middle of berlin. the land dips in the middle and the blocks get bigger, so its like youre being swallowed. the light changes and people flash and appear and dissapear. its cold and foreboding and a really really excellenet memorial.
- holocaust museum - right next to the memorial. once again, fantastic. so so sad. you could sit and listen to stories from different concentration camps, liek one lady told the sorting doctor her son was younger than 12 and got her mother to go with her sons, ie sending them to the gas chambers. and she survived. another thing was letters and diary excerpts from people. one 12 year old said (paraphrased) ´i dont want to die, but they wont let us live. i dont know why. im scared. they throw the children into the killing pits´. how awful is that!?? i was very close to tears...
anyway, other than that there was this asian guy in the hostel who was SO WEIRD. he asked me if i knew how to make pizza and went into the finer details of making the dough. he asked me why i was in germany and i said for the history and stuff and he asked me, wait for it, if i wanted to be a neo-nazi!! WTF? excuse me?? NO NO NO! and you dont ask someone that! ahhhhhhh i avoided him after this. he also critised and joked about catholisism in front of a girl who was watching the pope and was quite opening, catholic. he just had no social skills AT ALL.
sadly enough, in berlin we didnt go out. apparently its amazing! but we´re so poor
on the 24th of september we left for nuremburg. it was very very pretty and had a mini oktoberfest, which was basically a nick nacks and food market, but it was great! we tried the sausage thing in bread and suprisingly enough it was good! (not a fan of shit sausages, but these were very good). we were lazy the next day and just had a gorgeous walk down the river which was very pretty.
and then! OKTOBERFEST!!! on the 26th we arrived in munich to be greeted by men in lederhosen and women in dresses. we got to the tent and luckily the man on recpetion, acknowedgin we had NO MONEY changed us from beds to the floor. so yes, we slpet on the floor for 3 nights. thank god for unlimited blankets, we ended up getting 18 between us and practically had matresses underneath us anyway! on the first ngiht we sat around the fire with some strange strnge people. one ´swedish´guy who had alondon accent, but we doubt he was either. and when we went to bed these middle eastern men tried to catch our attention and kissed at us. I THOUGHT WE´D GOT THROUGH THIS!!
the next day we found oktoberfest! not what i was expecting at all. its like a big carnival. like the melbourne show, with drinking. we found the HB tent, apparently good for first timers because you´re guaranteed to sit next to engligh speakers. we were surrounded by german. good. nevertheless we got a stein each (one frigging litre. i. hate. beer.) and struggled to get through it. the songs were hilarious though. one song, everyone stood up and then cheers and then drank. i think it was mainly a marketing ploy to get people to drink more, but it was fun! people chugged the stein as well. theyd stand on there seats and everyone would cheer. except if you failed you were booed haha. the guy sitting next to us was snorting snuff and the police came up and watched, laughing, because he could NOT do it right. the policeman tried to help, it was funny! we left the tent and found ourselves a ride. not a good idea with a litre of beer. but we managed. we went back after this, i was shattered and not feeling too well... that evening we met a huge group of aussies and basically we had a good chat, they were really really nice and seemed to be doing a lot too!
the next day we went again, this time with the intention of going on some rides we went on this high swinging chair one, which was awful! we both closed our eyes and prayed for it to be over. you were just swung, not that fast up in the air in these little chair things, like the baby swings. was not happy. and then we went on a rollercaoster which was awesome. and then went on an upside down wizzy around thing which was great too! decided to give the beer tents another go, went to paulener, which i heard was good, but it was empty! so we went to laurenbrau (not spelt like that, god knows what it is) because olivias dad drinks it! we got a beer between us but it was awful! worst than yesterdays. and we were surrounded by germans. once we were done, we pooled our money and didnt have enough for another beer so we went home. again, sat around the fire,met some nice interesting people then went to bed.
so oktoberfest was not what we was expecting. we didnt meet many people actually at the place because we didnt have enough money to drink a lot of beer (and we dont like it...) and we went on rides. hmmmm. might need to come back, when i like beer and am rich. (we met people who were like ´we´re on a budget too, but we´ve blown it hahahahaha´, lucky you that you can do that! wah listen to me winge haha)
so we arrive in budapest on the 30th of september. we went for mexican for dinner and i got tacos. massive dissapointment, they were like floppy taco tasting burritos. yuk! but the meat was what we were after and that was good! (we´d been feeling very tired and think its due to NO iron in our diet. oops.)
the next day we went on the walking tour and walked up castle hill and across the chain bridge (which the hungarians are SO proud of) and hot hungarian for lunch! i had this stuffed cabbage thing and olivia got beef stew which this gnocchi stlye side dish. it was interesting. nice. definitely edible, but it was one of those things were you get sick of the taste after a while. everything tastes the same, the cabbage, the stuffing and the sauce. went home, chilled for the afternoon and then had nachos for dinner. yum and we went out! yay! finally! got quite drunk at the hostel and then went out with 2 americans studying in prague, and paddy, an australian who´d been working in lilverpool. the night was interesting! we went to this awesome pub/bar place where there was this amazing courtyard and the atmosphere was just really good. blake, who doesnt drink much, was drunk though. and was like an annoying 4 year old! rather than just appreciating the atmosphere he was dead set keen to get going and dance. and as we were going, we were tring to find his friend, keith, but he insisted keith had met some girls and was okay. (he wasnt, he called us and had to find us 2 hours later. oh, and he also got super moody over everyone image of americans). on the way we picked up a few more aussies and an english guy and we went to this club that was like an underground bunker. the music was techno, but ive long since given up trying to find music like in australia, overseas, so i was enjoying myself, doing the best i could with the non existent beat and my non existent dance moves. but blake and the other aussies wanted to find something better. i dont know how, but someone heard about this club with 5 different floors with different music, so we headed there. after about half an hour we arrived and it cost. it was okay for the girls, but the guys was a bit expensive, so they decided not to go in. BUT THE MUSIC SOUNDED GOOD it was 3.40 and we figured we´d get 2 hours at most of dancing so liv and i joined the guys to go home. so it was an okay night. definitely not bad, but people just needed to chill. and there was no chance that blake was getting with either me or olivia, which i think was his goal haha. ALSO, that night a man broke in. he got through 2 security doors and the locked front door and stole the hostels laptop and 20€ from keith. scary shit i tell you. luckily nothing was taken from me or olivia but the fact he got into the hostel (which is in a random place in a random building) meant he knew what he was doing and must have had keys.
woke up the next day and chilled and then went on a danube cruise in the night! it was so so pretty. budapest is gorgeous!
and on the 2nd we left to go to prague. and now this is a story. we are on the train in hungary and the ticket man sees our eurails and is like, thats not valid in slovakia. we´re like shit, okay, well do you know how much it will be?? he estimates 10€ each. so we get into slovakia and the train man comes around and its 40. 40€ each. fuck. luckily i have it, because i dont think he had a card machine. he tells me we have to go change it, im like, okay, bit weird but okay, and he takes me into an empty compartment. shit. he tells me we can just pay 40 instead of 80 and not get a ticket. by this point im a bit stressed and confused and just hand over the money and then realise its a bribe. crap. so i go back to my seat, tell olivia and we`re both like, errrr not happy! we have both heard stories about illegal activity and then they call the police and get a cut from what they fine us too, and we get chucked in jail. so olivia goes to find him to fix my mess but he refuses. next time he comes through the carraige we insist we want a ticket. he cant refuse infront of everyone so we get one. thank the lord! so we are 80€ lighter, but a least we´re not in prison!
So prague. we arrive and get to the street ive been emailed, as it is a new location. but there is no hostel. we go to the hostel we can see, and they called our one, and yes its there, you just have to walk through a resturant. awkward! the waiters gave us such dirty looks. but yes! so the hostel that cost us next to tnothing due to being in prague 5, had recently moved to prague 1! right in the centre of the city. there was hardly any other guests and everything was being renovated, but we cant complain for the location adn price we paid! in prague we went on a walking tour, to charles bridge and chilled in the gardens near the river. it really is a fairytale city. pictures (well mine, anyway) dont do it justice. but i loved it!
after prague we went to krakow. and guess what!? our eurail isnt valid there either. although we checked liek 3 times, for both budapest-prague and prague-krakow, no one mentioned that our pass wasnt valid! i mean, we should have looked too, but no one knows whats going on in eastern europe... so we are on the train and luckily we can pay by card to get to katowice. then on the katowice-krakow leg, we cant. we only have euros and they wont except this either. the ticekt man mentions the police and we´re luck, fuck, again?? 2 guys sitting near us are in the same boat and we´re like, hell no, this is NOT happening. they manage to swap euros fro zloty´s and we get 100 from this guy (who later takes us to an atm and we pay him back, lovely guy, bit wierd, but he saved out bacon, so not complaining!) so once again, we arrive after some excitement and find our hostel which is right near the train station, yay! it very nice, friendly and we meet these kiwis who promise to buy us alcohol for the next night so we can go out (i think they heard we were complaining about being poor ahah, awks!) the next day, we go to Auschwitz. i didnt cry. but it was quite overwhelming. we got taken around Auschwitz 1 and then we were taken to Birkenau, which was the main extermination camp. the size of this camp is phenomenol. i just couldnt stop imagaining what it woudl have been like, rows upon rows of buildings, dusty in the summer and too cold in the winter. words cant describe it.
and then that night, we drank away our sorrows we were watching get him to the greek which happened to be on tv, and we took some shots and we were just about to go out when olivia decided she doesnt feel well. i wont go into the details, but for me and her, the night ends here ahha. the next day we watch shall we dance and try to find other english speaking movies (impossible) and i read. and its nice, but i got so over staying inside! and i wasnt that hungover, yay! our last day in krakow, we go into town have a look around. its really nice, but i couldnt help thinking it would be AMAZING in either summer or winter, with sun or snow, not the overcastness we got. that evening i have a train to catch at 17.50 to the airport to fly to barcelona! but im running late and dont have enough time to look up where the hostel is in barcelona. good. so i arrive at the airport. my phones dead. im not sure im going to be allowed on the flight because ryanair is self check in and there is a good chance i entered something wrong with my passport (place of issue? on australian soil = australia, but the british embassy is british soil, isnt it?). my phone is dead. i dont know whether the shuttle bus will still work at midnight in barca. oh and my cards not working. good. i ask around and am told there is no internet in the airport. find internet in the airport (see, no one knows anything in eastern europe!) and find the hostel. one thing done yay to cut a long story short, everything works out, i wait a lot in the airport, i wait a lot in the cold at REU airport in barcalona. and i walk half an hour before realising the metro works all night on a saturday in barcalona. get to the hostel and crash.
and today i have done washing. eaten expensive sushi and booked expensive trains. yay! haha
and im getting dirty looks (been on for AGES), so i have to get off and cook dinner, cant read through. sorry for the rushed last few paragraphs (prague onwards really), i had 4 hours sleep because 3 different alarms went off at 8am and no one turned them off. bye!