Archive for July, 2004

The prolific blogger

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

Punching out a few lately, eh? Must be all this cheap internet.

Today was a backpack free day which was a very nice change. Actually that reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to mention for a while. Without a doubt the single most useful thing I brought with me was that Crumpler throw over bag which I bought a while back mainly for (motor/bi)cycle use.

SO much quicker to take on and off than a regular backpack… and when you’re doing it 80 times a day it’s a pretty pleasing thing.

But today I left it (and therefore the camera) at home. The camera actually does need new batteries, amazingly for only the first time this trip. Taken 200 photos so far on one set of (4) AA’s. Pretty sweet.

Back to the bag.

Nice to wander around without lugging anything at all. 30 degree heat combined with 5 hours sleep meant freedom of movement was a very welcome thing. I hit up Museum Island today. They really do have this island in the middle of the river on which most of the major museums are locatied! Wandered through there pretty quickly though, as I had a 15:30 ‘appointment’ at the local swimming pool. Finally 2 weeks in I got to go for a swim, and we even pretended to be kids and used the water slide. Fantastic stuff ;-) Might go back tomorrow if the weather is as good again.

It’s nice not being able to comprehend the hubub of (assumedly mundane) conversation that surrounds you in a place like a public pool. It was absolutely packed with screaming kids and numerous others, but it’s far less claustrophobic when you don’t understand a word of it.

Still not suburnt despite having never used sunscreen yet. Ozone rocks.


Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Im at a great Berlin rock club which pretended to be all gothic on the outside but isnt.

Have met a local guy called Jules. I checked his id and that really is his name. Getting some first hand stories about east and west, its fascinating.

Finally a proper big night out here!

Some more for Berlin

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Haven’t really ventured out today as it’s been raining incessantly. Doesn’t really bother me though as it’s a good chance to recover from some blisters induced by all the walking and gawking.

I can’t really understand how Berlin (Germany’s capital with 3.6 million people) can be so cheap. Let’s break this down a bit.

1) Food. Ate out at a great Turkish restuarant a couple of nights ago. The mains were around 7 euros. Beers 2 euros. Lunch today was an unarguably awesome kebab for 1.80 euros.

2) Beer. I’m working my way through a 6 pack of very drinkable German beer which cost 2.99 euros. AUD $0.75 a beer – I haven’t ever seen prices like that.

3) Internet. Fast and generally 0.79 euros and hour.

Most of the above is on par with the Czech Replublic. Brilliant. I think I’m in for a horrific shock when I get to London.

Oh something I neglected to mention a few days back: Czech drivers are the worst I have ever seen. Worse than Korean drivers. Steer clear!

And one for SitePoint

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

The ASP book in front of the Berlin wall.

Yeah, hey that picture worked kind of well. I guess I should grab another one in front of something more recognisable but that really is one of the few remanants of the Berlin Wall.

Reckon I’ve seen everything touristy here. One thing I’d like to do is checkout the National Gallery because they’ve got a huge number of items on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But my Danish friend Jorgen queued up for 5 and a half hours this morning (from 9am!) to get in so it looks doubtful.

I like the way they pretend they have a beach here by setting up deckchairs on a big pile of sand they’ve amassed at a bar alongside the river.

I also get the impression (through reading an English language expat mag) that there is a serious socialist hangover happening, and that a lot of Berlinites aren’t particularly comfortable with capitalism.

The rail network here is seriously awesome.

Going out with a group of Spanish girls tonight, entirely for Jorgen’s benefit I assure you :-)

Found a new house for us, boys

Monday, July 19th, 2004

I hear it has central heating, too. Handy in Berlin, though unnecessary when its 27 degrees :-)

Berlin is a rather impressive and substantial city. (That photo is of the Reichstag – parliament by the way) I arrived after 2 hours or so on the train (really not bad for 200+ km), dumped my bags in the hostel and spotted a group of English boys heading out to do the sightseeing thing so jumped on board. Did a hell of a lot of walking and photo snapping and moderately successful train navigation. So I’m already feeling pretty comfortable with getting around sans bike!

Speaking of the bike, it is apparently sitting in Sachsen (within cooee of the racetrack) and will be repaired tomorrow for 350 euro or so. Thank god for Olly once again saving the day with his masterful command of Deutch and negotiating skills.

I, however, am staying here and flying to London on Saturday. I’m pretty comfortable with that decision actually because, truth be told, I wasn’t much looking forward to that long ride across to London. It’ll be mostly autobahn and various slower highways and I can only assume that the traffic gets worse as one gets closer to the UK.

But, I now have the option of returning to pick up the bike in a couple of weeks and enjoying some more of the Swiss/Austrian alps which were all I was essentially interested in anyway. Not exactly sure of what I’m going to do, but I have a few options to evaluate. As long as I don’t crash it/get it stolen/have it break down again I ought to get some money back on it. We’ll see :-) Purple Jules – you’d be surprised (or not) at how difficult roadside repairs can be when you need a 230 euro part that you cannot name in the local tongue, or indeed find anyone who could nor have any means of transport. Nuff said.

Anyway I’m certainly in far higher spirits than I was 24 hours ago!

Actually that’s not strictly true. I had good fun last night when this group of around 10 Spanish boys rocked up at the hostel. You may notice I’ve been using the term ‘boys’ a lot. That is with some purpose, becuase just about every male I’ve met in these hotels has been a ripe old 18 or 19. Guess it doesn’t take long for the English to save up those 20 quid for a flight to Stockholm.

So back to the Spaniards. They all actually spoke remarkably good English. So we played some soccer and the guitars then came out. I really enjoyed hearing some authentic Spanish guitar playing, and was rather bemused when the Metallica, ACDC and Nirvana tunes came out. Hearing “Pennyroyal Tea” sung with a Spanish twang is definitely something to remember.

So some fun and an excellent night’s sleep last night has put me in good shape to try and keep up with these English beer guzzlers tonight. We’ll see.

Kudos to this hostel for running their internet terminals on Linux/X Windows. Although there’s no immediately apparent way to switch out of German keyboard mode which can be verz annozing! Oh and Lucas I think it might be KDE…

And finally thanks muchly to everyone who posts comments on here. I do love reading them even though I tend to not reply to them directly, but that’s only because I do a quick brain dump in here then log off to drink more beer. Or something.

Bye now.