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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.


GERMANY | Friday, 22 September 2006 | Views [970]

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

So i got a train from Amsterdam to Berlin and it was 6 hours of chill. Reading Cloud Atlas and listening to Frou Frou (to put me in a German mood) and The Shins, "this will change your life" (Garden State - great film). I know, the film thing has got to stop. But anyway i was in a great mood until i arrive at the station. the experienced traveller that i am thinks he can just turn-up, walk out the station and go to the nearest hotel/hostel (my bag weighs nearly 4 stone would you believe, so nearest if good). HOW naive am i? It turns out Berlin is full, as the guy from the tourist info tells me "I suggest you get on a train out of here, Ya" and then laughs at me. 30 mins later as we're calling around for apartments (i couldn't even get a 5 star hotel!) an American guy waltzes up at the next counter and immediately gets in at a hostel...is it me or what. I wasn't even thinking freaky-deaky German so it can't have shown on my face. My tab hanging skills came in useful though - at least i then got a bed for the night.

I've lost count of the amount of times I've been asked questions and directions by tourists (all German) - do i look German?, i wasn't even wearing sandals with my socks pulled up (I only do that on special occasions). The first (a girl who was desperately looking for her hotel) asked me in English, after i'd told her I'm English whether I was from Berlin!? I wanted to reply "ich bin ein Berliner" - you know, Kennedy? I don't think she would have found it funny. But i stifled my smile and bit my tongue and told her yes i was from Berlin, i just couldn't speak German (OK i didn't say that).

Berlin is a great city, lots of culture, lots of great buildings - reminds me of Paris and lots of bars and great beer. Definitely worth a visit. Checkpoint charlie wasn't what i expected, but i spent hours reading all the escape attempts and testimony's...emotional stuff. The Olympic stadium was impressive as was the view from the Eropa centre - it looks straight down on a naturist hotel, i didn't look of course.

P.S. Just as I'm entering the hostel last night, who should pass me coming out of the hostel but the girl who asked me if I'm from Berlin. The one place i could have directed her to...ironic


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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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