Friday, May 08, 2009

holding the line for prague

Day 4 – Berlin

Have to make executed decision. Because tomorrow we’re meant to take a train to Prague. And spend two nights there.

We’re loving Berlin so much and although we’ve done loads already, we haven’t even maxed out. Plus Prague in two days would be rushed. But this would mean a change to the itinerary and missing out on Prague this time round.

We decided Prague could wait. I’ve never done that before, shifted an itinerary. That’s how much we’re fucking loving this place.

Strolling through the Stasi Museum (full of spying equipment and crazy files documenting, maybe, a guy going for a pee at the same time of day everyday, and they decided it deserved a large spying file of its own. Crazy freaks.)

Peas: Are you a commy bastard?

Dove: No.

Peas: Is your favourite colour red?

Dove: No.

Peas: Is your favourite DIY tool a hammer? Is your favourite garden instrument a sickle?

Dove: No.

Peas: What’s the capital of Russia?

Dove: Moscow.

Peas: Ha!

Tis true what they say about Germans following the rules though. If there’s one thing that infuriates me slightly about Germans is that they will follow the rules completely regimentally; no bending, no breaking, no rubber arms. I do enjoy them for the most part, but it’s rather interesting:

It’ll be 2:00am, not a car in sight. And a group of people will wait for the green light to cross the road. They openly frown at you if you jaywalk across the road or step foot on the tar before the light changes.

Logically they know they won’t get hit. There’s not a car in sight. But they think it sets a bad example to the children. Especially the grannies walking around.
One guy got shouted at by an old lady waving a cane about, ‘Child murderer!’ When he didn’t wait for green.

They also go via a trust system with the U-Bahn (Underground.) It’s super efficient in that the trains arrive on time, everytime, but you don’t swipe any cards like for the Tube. Where chavs would take WELL advantage to the plenty. You buy a ticket, but nobody checks. Basically.

They follow the rules.

Day 4 – Berlin

Last night we went to a ballhaus. A place where they play swing music and everyone dances like in the 1920s. It’s like a living timewarp, completely fascinating. They dance like my gran, yet they’re wearing punk. They were pretty good too. A group of us went, drank beer and danced like Nancy Sinatra.

We should be on a train to Prague, but instead we’re hiring bicycles. Are we just so talented? We’re WELL tidy.

This place is as flat as a pancake, competing nicely with Holland. Cycling an entire day around a city was effortless. Had a sore ass, sure, but this was definitely one of our best days.

We cycled under Brandenburg Gate along the bicycle lane, stopped at the Bauhaus Museum – fuck yes – and bought a very stylish-looking coffee canister. Rode through the giant Tiergarten, which sounds lovely, but we had pollen blowing up into our faces. Stopped for a bratwurst. Went up the Reichstag. Stopped for a beer. Stopped for an espresso. Ate sauerkraut. Stopped at the shops. Rode the place flat, fuck it was great.

I tend to harbour brief obsessions with phallic-looking towers. Say what you will Freud, I happen to think they’re aesthetically pleasing to look at. When I first arrived in Jozi, I took endless pictures of the Hillbrow and Brixton towers. The Brixton Tower looks very similar to Der Fernseturm (‘Deya Fanzah-toohem’ – what a cool name!)I love this thing.
Today a German mate of mine arrives in the city, staying just up the road with a friend, and is promising to show us a good time. Including taking us to the good clubs and doing local things.

I met him for lunch in this cute little square that you wouldn’t know was there if you weren’t local, and then met Dove at Alexander Platz. The East. Where suddenly the fabrics are more synthetic, and the buildings look like big slab concrete blocks, all very ugly, all very Stalinist, but also so raw and aesthetically pleasing, you can’t help but warm to it.

Right now I really couldn’t be happier. It’s not reality, but it feels so fucking good anyway.


icepick said...

There is NO excuse for missing Prague! :P

po said...

Hmm, I'm not sure I could hack the no-jay walking thing.I hate pointless rules. I would probably make a bolt for it and brave the grannies.

Thank saint frek it is friday. This has only been a 4 day week for me and I am dying.

Peas on Toast said...

icepick - I agree. It's now been bumped to top of my list for my next Euro Trip. Was going to do the Scandinavias, but will do a Prague/Budapest/Warsaw vibe next time. It HAS to be done at some point for sure!

po - how shitty are these 5 day weeks?? God we're all dying here! And yip I braved the grannies too - get too impatient standing around when the coast is clear for crossage. Felt eyeballs in my back though, big time.

Peas on Toast said...

po - hold on YOU GOT 4 DAYS THIS WEEK?
Lucky bugger! :)

Timothy said...

Re: the trust system on the U-bahn, was in Berlin 2 years ago and witnessed train guards (ex-stasi agents no doubt) checking peoples tickets on the train. One poor guy had chanced it, and got ARRESTED and marched off at the next stop, with a whole carriage of Germans giving him death looks and shaking their heads... Any thoughts I had of sneaking on without a ticket vanished pretty quick!

Peas on Toast said...

Time - was wondering about that. I heard you just got fined 40 euros. I didn't see any Stasi-like officials on any trains, but yes I'm assuming when they do a 'raid,' the marching orders are given and it ain't pretty!

getaway said...

Wow bicycling through Holland must have been sooo beautiful!!

Po - feeling you on the jay-walking. Cape Townians jay-walk even when there's a pedestrain crossing just a few feet away -

Chin up-at least the week is over!!

Peas on Toast said...

getaway - haha we cycled Berlin not Holland, but I figure the flatness was much of the same :)

Hear you on the Capetonians ;)

Thank GOD it's Friday!

Monkigirl said...

On a completely different note... I checked your friends' pics on facebook. It was totally the same place in Mad that we stayed the week before!!! Ask her who won the UNO tournament by the end of their stay? Ok I'll stop being crazy stalking girl now...

Peas on Toast said...

Monki - aha! Jessica Fletcher, I thought so! Oh bless - I'll let her know, the pics looked incredible, y'all must've had an incredible time there. xx

po said...

Yeah, but come on. In the UK there are a total of 3 public holidays. You lucky Saffas are almost never at work, innit?

Wow, you braved the grannies! Impressive.

Peas on Toast said...

po - yeah yeah yeah :) I'm only grumbling because we've been spoilt. ;) The whole of April was practcially one long weekend, for sure. It's adapting now to the usual stuff. Enjoy your long weekend babe!

Aunty Helpful Dictator said...

Your post is making me so nostalgic for Berlin. It's been less than a year but I long to go back.

I quite enjoyed bringing my irish jaywalking ways to Cologne when I lived there many moons ago, but I was a teenager then and scornful looks from grannies was meat and drink to me!

The checks on the trains are pretty serious when they do them, and some lines they'll check quite frequently (like the airport line). I remember in Cologne they checked all the trains one Saturday night at 2am. They stop them between stops, lock the doors and go around with Alsatians! freaky

Peas on Toast said...

Aunty - whaaaat so they have...sniffer dogs?? Fucken HECTIC. Uber Hunds? How very...Germanic. When I was in Koln I didnt take the pub transport, but hell - I'll be sure to buy a ticket if I'm ever there again!

Rah rah for jaywalking! :)