I have discovered I'm a couple of countries behind in posts given I leave for Salzberg from Vienna tomorrow and I'm yet to update you on the other two countries (see above for cities) I visited before Vienna. So, given they were both relatively brief stops I thought I'd combine Berlin and Prague into one interesting read for your love and attention.
Let's start with Berlin.
I arrived around midday, rubbing mascara from my eyes after sleeping the 6 hours on the train. I was not hungover (this is important for later in this post) despite drinking a lot in Amsterdam and barely making my 5am train. I'm just lucky that I very rarely get hangovers (seriously, note this for later).
So, I arrived in Berlin and navigated myself to the hostel. I was, naturally, a little tired and decided to have a chill afternoon. There wasn't a lot going on in the hostel and I was sharing with 3 middle aged dudes who were more than happy to ignore me and I them!
I got a snack from the nearby grocery store and settled in to watch some old 'Modern Family' and sleep early. That afternoon I planned the next day meticulously including a walking tour (standard), a trip to Sanssouci Palace and a ticket to the Berlin ice bar in the evening.
Then I slept (and showered obviously - but that should be a given). The room was stifling and lacked air-conditioning and I had the unlucky top bunk so sleep was hard to come by but I struggled through and started my day in the morning with high spirits.
I started by navigating myself to the Brandenburg Gate. I needed cash for the tour so I went searching for an ATM and saw this nice looking hotel with door guys (fancy) so I asked them if there was a cash machine inside. The man nodded and I politely asked if I could use it as I had assumed maybe it was only allowed to be used by guests (it looked really fancy) to which the guy replied "I don't know, are you disabled or something? Of course you can use it!"
Point taken buddy! I was already being sassed and it wasn't even 10am.
But it was a really fancy hotel and I enjoyed my 30 seconds of pretending I might be a guest surrounded by high ceilings, plush couches and rich old people having breakfast. At the start of the tour my guide began by talking about the world famous hotel right nearby.
Guess what! I got money out of the Hotel Adlon! ie. the place where all the celebs stay when they visit Berlin and where this iconic moment happened in 2002:
So yeah, I was pretty pleased with myself.
But that's not the point of this post. The tour of Berlin was pretty awesome! I actually love WWII history (not the war itself) so being in Berlin was amazing. Seeing the Jewish Memorial, the place where Hitler's bunker was (now a carpark) and hearing the guide talk about how unimportant Checkpoint Charlie is as an attraction was awesome (tip: Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist trap - literally wasn't where it is now, it was just put there for the tourists).
I also thought the part about Hitler taking cyanide as well as shooting himself was fascinating. Ego the size of a planet that guy.
In the afternoon I caught a train out to Sanssouci Palace where King Frederick the Great of Prussia used to live in the 1700s. It was beautiful. I've loved all of the old palaces I've seen, the artwork, design and history is just unmatched.
In the late after I wandered for a while on the palaces grounds and even snagged a late 1 on 1 tour of Schloss Charlottenhof (smaller and on the same grounds - it was a summer home of Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm who designed it himself and it served as basically a fan collection of all his favourite artists and things he'd collected from places like Pompei).
Here are some pics from my day:
I then caught the train back to the city and spent a little while in Berlin's Ice Bar, which was pretty cool! Here's what it looked like:
Pretty cool huh?
The glasses are ice too so you got to smash them at the end. After my designated three drinks I packed up and headed home to the hostel for an early night. My train to Prague was for 7am and I wasn't planning on being hungover for this one.
But it turns out I could've been drunk and that would've been totally accepted because on either side of my Harry Potter-esque little carriage rooms was a bachelor party! Two of them! On the one train carriage! Oh, it was a lovely four hours. Filled with music, yelling, men sleeping in corridors, other men running around with dildos asking if we had condoms to spare. Just wonderful really.
Here are some Prague pics before I go on:
Honestly this is quite a mis-mash of photos but I think they accurately represent my time in Prague.
The cat is a resident at the hostel I stayed at and is literally the most loving cat ever, it could fool you into thinking all cats are loveable.
But lets start at the beginning. I arrived in Prague after the antics of the train and then trekked (+1 tram stop) to my hostel in the POURING RAIN. I had my big backpack on and by the time I arrived I was soaked to the skin. The hostel was less than a 1km away total. That's how hard it was raining. I must've looked terrible because they let me check in two hours early so I could shower.
In the afternoon I proceeded to meet approximately 8 aussies.
This is astounding to me because I literally met more Australians in Prague than I have met in total on this entire trip. I guess Prague is just where we collectively decide to combine forces?
Then things took a turn because it was Saturday night ie. pub crawl night and I was not about to let my fellow Australians compete against a hoard of British tourists alone. Hell no.
The crawl was great. We met this group of University Tennis players from the same club who were on a holiday together wearing shirts with nicknames on the back.
It makes for a pretty fantastic icebreaker asking them what nicknames like "beep boop beep boop", "childminder" and "box muncher" mean. For your information, because I'm sure you're just as intrigued as I was, childminder is simply 25 while surrounded by 20-21 year olds (not a paedophile), beep boop apparently makes that noise during sex although no-one could confirm or deny and box muncher is apparently in reference to running into a telephone box while drunk. I also learnt British people don't have the same slang as aussies because we collectively thought box muncher was in reference to something entirely different.
I arrived home at around 2:30am. I blame the lovely bartender (the guy in the selfie above) for the problems that befell me in the morning. I now vow to no longer make friends with bartenders who encourage you to do free shots of vodka with them and make your drink "the right way".
I woke up the next morning more hungover than I have ever been in my entire life.
I could barely function.
Let me put this in a way you can visualise. At around 11am I found myself in a Starbucks with a frappe and a half eaten bagel wearing sunglasses inside because the lights were too bright.
Yeah, that hungover.
But I persevered! I only had the one day and my sober self had booked me a full schedule.
I walked to the top of Charles Bridge Tower (multiple pauses to stop my head spinning required) and I went on two separate 3 hour walking tours. One on the history of Prague during WWII and the Communist period and one on the general Prague history and key sites.
Here's a video of the central square in Prague. I took it because it reminded me so much on the central square in Bruges: fountain in the middle, cafes on the outer edge and a central tower/building on the far side. Also that both cities were ruled over by the Habsburgs and had pretty interesting things happen (though 100 years apart but both with a ruler named Maximilian).
But I digress.
Both tours happened to be with the same guide who was equally as surprised to see me and asked if I just wanted to spend the whole day on a tour. Very me to be honest.
Both tours were really fantastic though and I'd recommend both to get a good idea of both the super historical and the more recent history of such a cool city. Also, Prague was once the capital of the Roman Empire! Did you know that? I sure as shit didn't. Twice too, at totally different times.
The more you know.
I loved both Berlin and Prague for their fascinating histories and beautiful old buildings. This part of my trip was a core part of why I came in the first place. I love a bit of history. Both are places I might have to come back to to get the full picture though. I'm missing my museum time.
And just in case you were wondering what a very hungover Rhiannon looks like, here you are:
I found this selfie when picking photos for this post and it just made me laugh because you can clearly see I've lost the will to live and I'm holding on for dear life. I felt so nauseated taking the photo but in my head I was like "you have to take a photo to recognise you were here otherwise it could be anyone's photo." Thus, this wreck. Aren't we just SO glad I took it? As my grandfather would say, you've gotta have a laugh.
That's it from me for now. I've got a Concert at Brahms Hall to attend.
Till next time,