With a savage hang-over and about 35 minutes sleep after catching the wrong train from Paris, My two good friends and I arrived in Berlin to a beautiful sunny morning (which was short-lived, before the rain set in..). The first impressions of Berlin were excellent.. Firstly, the taxi we shared from the train station was a Mercedes..! It was a luxury a backpacker doesn’t regularly have. I just hope I didn’t stain the leather with the stench of alcohol seeping from my every pore.
The Hostel we chose was fittingly named ‘Helter Skelter’, and it lived up to its name with crazy guests and crazier staff. We arrived a day earlier than expected due to our train mishaps but were still greeted with breakfast beers whilst waiting for our room to be hosed out from the previous occupants.
After half a days’ sleep to catch up, I set out to have a look around. Berlin seemed to be in an ever-changing state, with most of the landmarks covered in scaffolding. The excessive scaffolding was not great for photos, neither to get an idea of how things actually look, and with the World Cup starting in a few days time, there were messy concert stages being erected every couple of blocks. The whole place was crazy with the lead-up.
We took a few walking tours around the city, including one happy-joyful tour for the Nazi party. This was actually was a particularly dull tour as all we saw for most of the tour was car parks and photos of what used to be in place.. The tour guide was constantly saying “Now try to imagine…” – I didn’t pay to see car parks.
Berlin bustled with interesting bars and places to drink. We found one place we named the “Crack Den” because it looked like how you would imagine a crack den would look – only much more fun. Finding the place you wandered through a dimly lit park with graffiti on the neighbouring building walls, stripped-down cars, and people pissing on every tree. To get into the building, you entered via a dodgy unmarked door, which opened to a staircase of five or six flights of stairs. Every single bit of wall on the way up, the entire way, was covered in about ten layers of graffiti, fliers and various anti-political propaganda. Right at the top of the derelict, abandoned looking building, a missing door revealed a bar that overlooked the dodgy park and over a good part of the area. There was a projector being shone onto an opposing building displaying weird visuals and old movie bits. The screen was probably about 40m wide..! The bar was just a bar, thankfully there was no problem with crack junkies, just chilled out people from all over, relaxing in a unique environment with cheap drinks and good music. – I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere.
Berlin was a nice city to experience in its current state, but we left the day before World Cup started to escape the craziness and the inflation related to the mass influx of people. There was no way we were going to be able to see a match live due to the demand for legitimate tickets, and I’m kind of glad I turned down the $570US Australia vs Brazil illegitimate ticket I was going to buy on the Internet as apparently tickets are matched to your ID. All throughout Europe, it was guaranteed to be World Cup fever, so it wasn’t like we were missing out.
Check out some photos from Berlin:Next