Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ich Bin Ein Brrrliner

A 5am start isn't the most ideal way to begin a holiday, but it did kick off four immensely fun but freezing cold days in the funky-ass city of Berlin for TCup, Marzipan, Cloudy and I. Given the amount of sleeping and drinking we ended up doing, we also managed to cram in a fair amount of sightseeing between bleary eyed hangovers and buying armfuls of cheap Haribo. It went rather a lot like this:

* Whilst looking for a particular museum on the Friday, we had been following TCup's lead and arrived at an empty square with no sign of said museum. Confused, she rechecked the guide book and insisted that it should be here, because M for museum was marked in this location on the map. It wasn't until Marzipan and Cloudy had a look that we realised the M she was referring to was actually just one of the map coordinate letters across the top of the page. I'm in no position to laugh though, seeing as I have enough difficulty with left and right, never mind trying to make sense of a map. It was rather funny though.

* Ambling down Oranienburger Strasse after a few sensational mojitos, it took me longer than it should have to realise that the girls standing around in ski boots and somehow wearing very tightly laced and shiny black corsets over white puffa jackets weren't just oddly dressed goths but hookers, or as I just about recall exclaiming much, much later on "cailíní na h-oíche!". The word striapacha had obviously departed my brain earlier on in the night.

* Further down Oranienburger, we found ourselves in Café Zapata, a grimy, grungy bar in what turned out to be a former squatting compound. A six euro entry fee and "No Photographs" signs on the walls didn't exactly endear the place to me at first, but then there was all this vodka and suddenly Caracho happened.

As you can see, the whole "no photos" thing didn't really last.

While we were sitting in the outdoor area, we could hear a band taking to the stage inside. They sounded good. Really good, in fact. When we ventured in to investigate, we were flung into one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Crazy, sweaty, messy energy, bellowed German lyrics with badass heavy guitar and the entire crowd going absolutely nuts for it. A half English, half German cover version of I've Got The Power went down a fucking storm. But what sealed the deal entirely for me was a song towards the end of their set where the only line I could make out was "du bist meine katze" (you're my cat, I figured), the singer had donned a top hat, the guitarist was suddenly wielding a pink Hello Kitty guitar and the sexy girl (keyboards, I think) had come onstage dressed AS CATWOMAN. I nearly lost my shit. It's like they rifled through the filing cabinet of my brain and just smashed together a heap of stuff I love and fired it onto a stage. Catwoman proceeded to rip off the frontman's shirt and he finished by upending an entire bottle of beer all over her. Un...real.

* Having risen at five and only getting a two hour nap in the hotel, powered solely by booze and divilment we somehow manged to keep going on Friday night in Café Zapata until five o'clock the next morning. I'm not sure I've ever seen 5am from both sides in the one stint, but I guess that's one thing I can tick off the list now.

* While browsing through the fancy Taschen shop, Marzipan took The Big Penis Book off the shelf and opened it for a giggle as we all gasped at one appendage in particular and whispered "There's no way that's real!". Unfortunately for her, we abandoned poor Marzipan when the dust jacket slipped off to reveal a massive cock on the cover as well, leaving her red-faced and fumbling with the huge coffee table book, trying to hold, re-jacket and close it on her own, because yes, we're that mature.

* CityMaps2Go is the most genius iPhone app of all time, in terms of being in an unfamiliar city at least. The GPS on the phone shows exactly where you are and what direction you're facing, which for me with my aforementioned inability to read a map, was nothing short of miraculous. It became particularly handy when we just wanted to go for a drink somewhere. A quick flick through the search function on it brings up a list of the nearest pubs, bars, train stations, whatever. Typically, while standing shivering outside the hotel, the nearest pub happened to be a place called The Irish Times. It was cold. We wanted a pint. Don't judge us.

* Cocktails. Cocktails for less than a fiver make us a very happy foursome indeed. We only stretched to €5.90 in one particular case, because these were POWER cocktails. With 73% rum being a main ingredient. And they were called Zombies. Delicious.

* One of two things in particular that I learned about Berlin is that it's probably the only city in which you can flog any old piece of spray painted concrete and pass it off as a fragment of the Wall. If all those pieces in the shops and stuck to postcards were the real deal, they'd have gone through at least eight different Berlin Walls by now.

* The second thing I learned is that in Berlin, we all have amazing hair. Seriously. The German capital seemed to agree with our hair no end. Most likely down to the fact that although it was teeth-chatteringly cold, it was a dry kind of teeth-chatteringly cold, and as such there was ne'er a hint of frizz nor kinks to be had. Lovely.

* Fassbender & Rausch is one of the most amazing shops in the world. A fancy-pants chocolate shop that takes things to quite an extreme.

That's a giant chocolate bear and there behind those fancy sweets? Yes, that's a chocolate TITANIC for feck's sake. The lunatic geniuses.

* It turns out that Sunday nights in Berlin aren't exactly big drinking nights. Fuelled by power cocktails and Cuba Libres, at one o'clock we found ourselves outside the closed CCCP bar, having mistakenly thought it would still be heaving with banter and potential mischief. For want of a bar, or indeed anywhere to drink, we proceeded to arm ourselves with cheap corner-shop vodka that might as well have been petrol and drank ourselves stupid in the hotel room. I was a rather delicate cat for much of the following day.

* I confess, the hipster that surely dwells within me absolutely lost the the run of herself in Berlin with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. In my defence, the grimy, Soviet, darkened edges effect it produces really suited Berlin and its landmarks. Brilliant fun had by all, despite the minus six temperatures. Next time I'll go when it's warmer.


  1. Lovely pics and I may visit just for the cheap cocktails!!!! Also I'm all types of crap when it comes to reading maps so I can relate to the museum mishap!

  2. i totally forget about the penis book!! that's was so funny! she was there for about half an hour going brighter by the minute putting the cover back!!

    and in my defense M does stand for museum and we weren't THAT far away from it AND the exhibition was very good. still though scarleh..

    do you remember when marzipan got her words all fumbled and i started calling her nell?! "use you words nell, you can do it"

    oh and not only is berlin amazing for haar it's also savage for skin too!

    this is an annual event, fact. amsterdam here we come!

  3. I love the pictures, too!! I've never been to Germany so you may have tempted me to visit!!

  4. @ Hermia - I'm hopeless too, that iPhone map was what saved us! I can confirm that Berlin gives good mojito. Go go go!

    @ Tess - Poor aul Marzipan/Nell! Flipping hilarious, we're awful mean to her though. Chalk Amsterdam down missus.

    @ Julia - Thanks! It was my first time in Germany and I'll definitely be going back. Berlin is turbo deadly!

  5. Love those pictures, you're definitely right about the Hipstamatic effect.

    I also wandered into Zapata when I was in Berlin! No super-cool bands though. The toilets still give me nightmares.

  6. I NEED that chocolate. That looks epic!

  7. @ Sarah - I was in the cubicle next to TCup at one point and remember saying to her: "Eh..have you looked up yet?" "No" "Em...don't." I actually took a picture of the ceiling in there but I daren't post it for fear of traumatising readers.

    @ WR - Tis a most magical shop indeed. It was all I could do not to lick the giant chocolate Reichstag they had as well.


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