Thursday, April 20, 2006

Berlin: Part One/Ein

It's not possible to recap in one post, so consider this a mini-series.

We left on 4/12, met up with Anthony in New York, and the three of us flew to Berlin together. We arrived in the morning on 4/13 and took a taxi from Tegel to the Pegasus Hostel. Right away I noticed the cigarette smoke and everyone smoking everywhere. It was cold too, spring had just barely arrived. Good thing I brought my winter coat.

Linda was already at the hostel, having just arrived minutes earlier from the airport. Darren, Hary, and Vince were already checked in and upstairs asleep. Anthony went to wake them up at 10:30am. We hung out in the common room as more people from our group started to arrive, hugging and talking and the first beers came out at 12:15 (only 2 euro).

Playing Uno at the Pegasus Hostel in Berlin

By 2pm, the Germans (Tilman, Jan, and Inga) had arrived and began to organize us. Our room was on the 5th floor - no elevators. We went out for lunch/dinner to an Italian restaurant. Passed the Berlin Wall on the way there. Claudia met us at the restaurant. Really good food and great service. Vince was in the corner working on his taxes (on his laptop) because he had forgotten that tax day was going to be while he was away. The wait staff was so patient about settling everyone's bill individually. After our lunch/dinner, we went to a bar. Mattie and Vanessa arrived after we had been there for awhile. The smoke burned my eyes and bothered my throat but we stayed until 10:30pm. Max and I went back early while everyone else went to another bar. By the time we went to sleep, we had been up for 36 hours.

The next day we had breakfast in the cafe attached to the hostel. Nothing fancy for 5 euros... bread rolls, sliced cheese, sliced meats, nutella, plain cornflake cereal, plain yogurt, muesli, strong coffee or cappuccino, and orange juice.

After breakfast, we took the subway to the center of Berlin and walked around before splitting up into three smaller groups. Me, Max, Darren, and Anthony headed over to Museum Island. We took pictures, went into two of the museums but only briefly to look around near the entrance and buy a postcard, walked through a marketplace, and headed back to the meeting place (Starbucks) to meet up with the rest of the group at 2:30pm. It started pouring rain almost immediately and anyone who was late got very wet.

Nicole and Max in Berlin

We had a late lunch at this German bar. I had Coke to drink. In Germany, they serve soda cold but with no ice and Coke is very heavy on the syrup and light on the carbonated water. I had Kasespaetzle to eat, like macaroni and cheese with onions. Very good. Celia joined us for lunch.

After lunch, half the group went back to the hostel to rest. Jan, Inga, Claudia and her boyfriend, Anthony, Hary, Darren, Max and I went to The Story of Berlin Museum and Bunker. We took the 6pm tour of the bunker and then made out way through the museum chronicling 800 years of history. It was really interesting and very information but somewhat depressing.

For dinner, we went to Tian Fu, a great Sichuan restaurant. Rave reviews from everyone. Anthony really wanted the Ma Po Dofu and so we ordered two dishes at our table. He tried his best but he could not finish it. Everything we ordered was really good. It was raining when we left the restaurant. We went to the Eleven N Lounge for drinks. They were really happy to have us and we ran up a huge bill. Most of us stayed there until 4am and then walked back to the hostel.

To be continued...
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