So the most important bit about July 6 was the fact that it was the day that I finally became an adult. Brand New were finally relatable, I could use eBay, all the positives were there. The fact that I was in Germany, a country with a drinking age of 16 meant that the obvious were somewhat taken away, but that was completely fine with me!
We’d set our sights on slightly touristy things for the morning, and as I awoke Ed and Jonny were already planning our route for the day. We seem to have stopped the three meal-a-day routine of at home and tend to only eat properly around dinner, so breakfast was skipped as we made our way toward Alexanderplatz and the concrete Fernsehturm Berlin - which is basically a massive TV tower that was built on the communist side of the wall, according to Jonny to rub in that they managed to get TV first - this may be complete rubbish but he does seem to have a ridiculous knowledge of German history so I’m taking it as true.
Anyway, it’s the tallest structure in Germany, and the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe. In fact, the tower is taller than the Eiffel Tower - although the viewing platform is lower than you’re allowed in Paris. Due to this I decided that my feet would remain in the Starbucks at the bottom - because when in Berlin drink Starbucks’ English Breakfast Tea. The view is allegedly amazing, and I’m slightly gutted that I didn’t go up, I’ll work up the courage one day!
As we passed through the square just behind, complete with Poseidon fountain, we were told to steer clear from the people with clipboards and “stay away from the gypsy scum” by one of the city sightseeing saleswomen. Which Jonny had said in a slightly more PC way just before, which helped hammer home the point.
As we walked down Berlin’s only street (according to Josh) we came across Berlin Cathedral. At only €4 entry we decided to have a look - well Ed got in free after a lot of searching for a passport. We decided that Christianity was at least good for the structures it created if nothing else. Heights aren’t my thing, so when the dome walk was suggested I had second thoughts but made my way about half way up before grabbing hold of the hand rail, brow slightly sweaty and eyes petrified. Eventually I made it up to the top with the encouragement of my three colleagues and a random tourist to look over a slightly lower panorama of Berlin than the one Josh, Jonny and Ed had managed to get a few minutes earlier. From the dome it seems like half of Berlin is still being built!
Afterwards we went to have a look at an empty room just below street level outside the library which signified the amount of books the Nazis burnt. We spotted the Cathedral of St Hedwig - no joke, it’s an actual thing - which was almost completely empty. It contained the body of a holocaust hero too, for whom we lit a candle (although we didn’t have the money to pay - whoops)
Then it was onwards to the Brandenburg Gate via the Haagen-Daz cafe where Josh preceeded to spend all my money, complaining that he spent £130 in Copenhagen, so I gave him his €5,90 tropical twist ice cream smoothy (thing) and looked toward the end of the street for the almighty Gate, which was quite impressive. Again, history lessons from Jonny, and musings about why the French embassy has loopholes to shoot through. The square was complete with the hotel Michael Jackson dangled a child out of. Now that’s history if ever I saw it. There are quite a lot of posters advertising the Cirque De Soleil Michael Jackson Immortal tour, which is ironic as Josh pointed out as he’s almost the very definition of mortal nowadays.
From the Gate it was onto the Reichstag - the German House of Parliament - which is impressive from the oustide, being inside a royal 1894 building, although topped with glass dome, which we could’ve gone round if we were okay with waiting the half an hour queue - not something that we were up for doing. So we headed toward the Berlin Victory Column, built to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War. Berlin seems to attract war.
It was finally getting time for everyone to be hungry so we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe to eat. Due to my birth date I was forced up on to a chair at the end of our meal and everyone sang happy birthday, at least it was a good ice breaker as Melanie and Jenny, in town for the fashion week, started talking to us and we all decided to go out later. This required us to all go back to the hostel to dump our bags and get ready whilst they went to see the Blue Man Group. As we left the hostel and walked down the street we were asked for a cigarette, and when our answer was negative profanities were yelled in our direction, which made us all speed up just a little bit.
On the train we started counting in binary which sort of become a thing now. Good ol’ binary. Meeting back in Hard Rock Cafe where there was a DJ before everybody started to leave and he just started choosing songs from iTunes. Seriously, mixing I’ve Got a Feeling with Du Hast was some sort of stroke of genius. Jonny’s hardcore Moshpit drink turned out to be quite a feminine strawberry cocktail, whilst Josh & I chose some sort of Baccardi Raspberry drink. MANLY. We were told about a rock club in a different part of town, so we got on their overground and got off to an interesting sight.
There were ladies of the night on the street corners, and we immediately bumped into a group of German guys that talked to our German counterparts whilst we looked on with absolutely no idea what was being decided. Eventually we started walking down the street in search of (what we were told was) a bar. After a few hundred metres it was quite obvious that nobody quite knew what they were doing, and the ladies of the night were endless. The final straw was when a guy right next to us got kicked in the head and was flat out on the pavement, blood spewing from his head. We decided to call it quits and head back to the hostel. We’ve decided that somebody dies every time someone shouts angrily in German. Every. Single. Time. Sort of like whenever somebody mentions that they don’t believe in fairies, although I doubt you can wish them back to life by speaking in a cute Parisian accent.
The fact all the underground is still running at 2am, alongside the pastry shops in the stations being open is a little trippy for an Englishman who’s used to everything shutting significantly earlier. On our way back a guy started talking to Josh about his Enter Shikari t-shirt, although he was promptly surrounded by Polizei, judging by how high he seemed it was of little surprise.
All in all it was a good day, but maybe could have ended a little better!