Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Pubs and memorials

Soooo, I ended up doing the pub crawl last night. I am so glad I did, we had stacks of fun. The cold wasn't even very bothersome, because all the pubs were very warm and we walked quickly between them. It's called the 'alternative pub crawl' and boasts that it takes you to the hidden pubs/clubs of Berlin ie, those off the tourist circuit. And alternative they were. We started at 'Yesterday', a tiny little pub near the hostel with cute stuff hanging from the ceiling, very dim, red lights, a Jim Morrison mural and the walls covered in scribbled notebooks and other cool paintings. Sean and I bought a beer and a Strongbow for 2.50 euro each. Alcohol here is incredibly, incredibly cheap. The pub crawl itself cost 10 euro and for that price you get entry into 5 or 6 places and 6 shots. After that we headed to a gothic horror bar, of which I have forgotten the name. The sweetest, nicest goth bartender you ever did see gave me great advice on which absinthe I should try, having never tried it before. The bar had coffins for tables and big iron chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. It had skulls and horns everywhere, and spiders and skeletons painted on the walls, but they were so friendly. A lot of the places we ended up were really not very busy. The tour itself was made up of only people from our hostel - Sean and I, Benny from Newcastle, a couple from Turkey, and 4 boys from Bath who all study together. The tour guide, Sarah, was from Lancaster and was totally sweet. We had amazing DnM's while I was sobering up from the absinthe. After the gothic horror bar we went to Dr Pong, which is a bar where you can rent paddles for 5 euro and play ping pong. None of our group did because we were on a schedule and the table was quite full. But it was great fun to watch. And there was a random Jack Russell chilling in the bar with us. Next we went to an absinthe bar called, funnily enough, The Absinthe Bar. There were shots of cannabis absinthe for 4 euro. I did not partake - I was still full of the first absinthe - but it was a fun bar all the same. The next and final place they were going was a club, pretty much an old warehouse where they hold raves and stuff. Sean and I aren't really into clubbing, and if we left after the absinthe bar we could sneak onto a night bus and not have to buy another ticket. If we went to the club we would have had to pay for a cab home. So at 1am we bid adieu to the tour and jumped on a short bus ride back to Senefelder Platz. I tried very hard not to wake Cara and Alfie and ended up reading for a bit before falling asleep. Sean stayed up and played drinking games with some French people, then proceeded to repeatedly wake me as he got in and out of bed for the rest of the night. Nah, it wasn't that bad. We had an awesome night, and are really glad we went.

This morning we slept until about 11.30. Our first sleep-in since we arrived and it was AMAZING. We dragged ourselves into showers and downstairs for breakfast and had a very leisurely start to the day. Alfie felt ill, so she stayed at the hostel, but Cara, Sean and I decided to go back to the memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe and go to the free museum underneath. It was completely soul-crushing. I definitely recommend it - it is an unbelievably beautiful and respectful tribute to all the lost lives - but bring tissues and don't go on a day when you are feeling fragile. It got to the point where I actually had to stop reading and looking and listening. It all got too much and Cara and I used up all our tissues and had to buy more. Everyone knows about the Holocaust and most Australian kids learn about it in school, but I didn't anticipate the sheer weight of sadness that descends upon you when you read stories and letters and see pictures of what happened. Not only does it make you dreadfully sad, but I was getting more and more furious at the injustice. Imagining my own family being split up and persecuted was more than I could handle. When we finally emerged into the sunshine again, we all felt extremely drained. That being said, I'm glad I went. Like I said, it's a wonderful tribute. But I don't think I could do it again any time soon.

We made our way back through the metro, stopping to buy sandwiches and chips and currywurst, and are sitting at the hostel chilling out. We are all still really tired, but it's so nice to not have anything to rush off for. The hostel is providing another free dinner tonight, so I think we'll help prepare that, and then I plan to stay in tonight and chat to more people.

Auf weidersehn!

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