A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: veranoamor

Berlin Nightlife

Mark and I got back from Prague by lunch time. I had yet another Doner. I simply cant get enough of these! We spent the rest of the day relaxing and drinking the Belgium beer Mark brought home. I tried a Framboise which was infused with rasberries and I have to admit...I actually enjoyed it! lol. That night Alex and Olli invited us over for dinner at their apt.

Olli made everyone fresh strawberry daquaris before dinner and then she prepared delicious steak salads with baguettes and brie that Mark and I brought along. For desert we had Proseco/energy drink cocktails, (quite an interesting combination), and then she brought out Lindt bars! I tried a square each of blueberry, cayanne pepper and mango!! It was a lovely get together and Olli even hand rolled each of us cigarettes for afterwards!

After a few more cocktails we headed out to a club which was extremely underground! It was filled with German punks and was quite an interesting scene. Drinks were cheap so I was happy and the music was great. When we left at 5AM there was a huge snowstorm going on outside and we all threw snowballs at each other on the way to the S-bahn. What a great tonight! I headed back to Mark's apt to finish packing my suitcase and then I was off to the airport for my 9AM flight...cant wait to SLEEP!
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Posted by veranoamor 08:56 Comments (0)

German Christmas Markets

Finally a good night sleep, on a nice mattress, in a warm and toasty apartment! I actually managed to sleep in until 10 today! Then, I took a HOT shower and started bundling up for my exploration of Berlin! Mark was going to be at school all day so I would be venturing out on my own for some "me time." lol. With my subway map in hand, along with several recomendations from Mark, my first stop was Alexanderplatz. This is a huge marketplace known to Berliner's as "Alex." As most of you know, I LOVE farmers markets, so I browsed through the flower shops, picked up some fresh figs and raw almonds then even made my way through the antique section. The area surrounding Alexanderplatz was rebuilt after World War II but appeares to be in need of many more renovations. Many of the buildings and structures illustrate the extreme upheveal of the War significantly.

Next, I took the S-bahn to Potsdamer Platz. There was a huge shopping mall here! I took my time, tried on clothes and purchased an outfit to wear out tonight complete with new black ankel booties with a kitten heal! I was so excited! As I was leaving the mall I saw one of the Christmas Markets has already been set up around the corner! Every German or person I've met who has been to Germany has always raved about the wonderful experiences that they've had at the Christmas markets so I was very excited to check this one out! Most of the markets in Germany run from the end of November until Christmas Eve. They are held outdoors evoke a wonderfully, festive atmosphere! As I approached I could hear Christmas music and smell all of the delicious snacks that the vendors prepare. These included spicy, smoked sausages, candied apples, pine roasted chestnuts, fruit cakes,gingerbread and most importantly gluvine- a spicy mulled wine heated with various citrus fruits and spices like cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Most of the vendors were selling traditional German Christmas gifts including nutcrackers, ornaments, wooden figurines, and pyramids. I absolutely loved this place! Thanks to the warm and toasty gluvine, I didn't even mind the chilly air! There was a team of huskys wearing reindeer antlers hooked up to a sleigh and Santa was behind them, saying "Frohes Fest!" to all of the children. It was lovely!

After several hours at the Christmas market, I decided I better move on. My last stop was the Brandenburger Tor, the large gate known as the "arch of peace." During the East/West split it stood in No-Man's Land but is now a symbol of reconciliation. I was there just in time for the gorgeous sunset and it was truly breathtaking.
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I finally made my way back to Mark's apt, stopping for a Doner Kabab on the way! I relaxed for a bit, threrw on my new outfit and then we headed out! We planned on meeting up with some of Mark's friends at a club but were having a difficult time finding it. Mark stumbled into what looked like an entrance to a back alley and we saw a huge flight of stairs ahead of us with graffiti covering the walls leading at least 10+ stories up. For some reason, I followed him and we made our way up the stairs checking out all of the innovative graffiti on the way. We saw some lights down one of the corridors and ventured down the hallway. Inside there were several artists working in a huge studio, each of them painting, sculpting and molding works of art. None of them even seemed to notice us as we walked around. In the next room there was a gallery filled with their work. The entire scene reminded me of Andy Warhol's Factory! We continued up the massive flight of stairs and once we finally reached the top a long hallway lead us out to a rooftop bar complete with tiki tourches, heated lamps and huge comfy couches. Apparantly, this was the club Mark's friends had been talking about all along! They met us there, Alex a Brazilian boy and his girlfriend Olli a lovely German girl. We had a great night!

Posted by veranoamor 08:54 Comments (0)

Jam Packed Day

Today was going to be a BIG day! The hostel we were staying at had an All Girls section, which was pretty decent. The walls of the dorm were all bright pink, the comfortors were lavander and there were bamboo plants sitting around in baby pink pained desks. It kind of reminded me of my bedroom decor when I was 5 years old! But, the privacy was nice. Mark and I met for our complimentary breakfast in the lounge which was served European continental style with pasteries, toast, yogurt with muesli and coffee. Then we headed out for the Prague Castle! The name actually refers to a complex of palaces, courtyards, churches and streets all spread accross the huge hill. To reach the castle we had to climb up the mountain which was just the beginning of the days workout. When we reached the top we were there just in time for the daily changing of the guards at 12 noon. We watched the ceremony as the new guards relieved the old ones complete with lots of music, salutes and marching! Then we headed to St. Vitus Cathedral which took 600 years to complete! Inside the cathedral we climbed a massive flight of stairs, when we reached the top I was truly out of breath but we had a panoramic view of the entire city!

Next we headed back down the hill to the Charles Bridge where we listened to all of the street performers, checked out the vendor's stands and laughed at the funny mimes and puppeteers. The Charles Bridge is the oldest of the 15 bridges that connect the two banks of the Vltava River. On the other side of the Bridge is the Old Town Square where we saw theTown Hall, Church of St. Nicholas and the Astronomical Clock which gives the time, month, season, zodiac sign, cause of Sun and Christian holidays. On the hour a skeleton appears and chimes a bell followed by 12 Apostles parading from little doors above the clock face.

Mark and I were both starting to get cold-even though I was wearing tights, leggings, cordurys, a wool sweater, my full length coat AND a fur hat. We headed to a Museum the French guys told us about where there was a Dali exhibit to warm up. It was a small collection, especially compared to the Dali Museum I had recently been to in St. Pete, FL but it still had nice pieces. The collection included graphics, sculptures and pottery. The most famous piece they had was The Persistence of Memory but my favorite was Lady Godiva with Butterflies. The museum also had a collection by Alfons Mucha the Master of Art Nouveau! The pieces included printed calanders, decorative menus, stamps, postcards, and many graceful women with streaming hair, painted in delicate colors with an unashamed act of temptation. And of course it wouldn't have been complete with out the extensive Moet et Chandon ads.

After being on our feet all day we were exhaused and I spotted a Thai Massage parlor just in time. I had never received a Thai massage before but it was amazing. The procedure is supposed to release toxins from joints, muscles and other tissues. The ancient healing art uses a unique system of special traditional massage techniques based on applying pressure at various points along the energetic path of the body resulting in relief of pain and tension. Well let me tell you...it did all that and more!

After our fabulious massages, Mark and I were quite relaxed and very much in need of some wine and dinner. We went to a traditional Czech restaurant and had a great meal! Then we stopped by the supermarket for a bottle of Becherovka, Czech liquor, which in my opinion is best served neat and straight! We also bought some absinthe then headed back to Plus Prague to enjoy. At the bar we ended up at, one of the bartenders told me that he wanted to make me a B52 and said I would just love it! Oh course I didn't say no and he served me a shot which was on FIRE! I was instructed to sip it with a straw and believe it or not it tasted delicious and somehow didn't burn me. I later found out that it was a mix of absinthe, baileys, and Kahalua. Talk about a secret recipe!

Mark and I weren't able to find any other travelers that are driving back to Berlin tomorrow so we were forced to book two bus tickets for 7AM-Ouch! I really wish we had more time here in Prague although we spent our time well and I will definately be returning!

Posted by veranoamor 08:55 Comments (0)

To Prague We Go...

Mark and I woke up in the morning and decided we were going to Prague. Well, it was slightly more planned out than that. We had briefly been discussing the idea since I arrived in Berlin but we didn't really have any definite plans. Mark told me he knew of this great service they have in Germany where you can simply log onto a website and find other travelers who are driving to nearby European cities and have spaces available in their car! Yes, this sounded VERY dangerous to me. But, I reluctantly decided to go with the flow. We met with a girl named Anna at an S-Bahn stop near the train station. (For some reason, the fact that she was female made me feel safer, lol). She seemed very nice. There was another girl that was going to be riding with us, her name was Analaze and she was from Greece. So, after a quick introduction the four of us piled into Anna's very small, very old car and headed for Prague.

While we were approaching the German/Czech boarder it began to snow and by the time we finally arrived at the boarder gates there was a full blown blizzard going on. We were required to pass over each of our passports, one from Germany, one from Greece and Mark and I from America. Of course Mark and my passports were the two that were taken to a seperate booth to be looked over more carefully. But, the guard returned several minutes later, waved us on and we were in Eastern Europe in the middle of a snow storm! Unfortuantely, because of the storm there was a huge detour that lead us up and down the mountians on windy roads and all I kept thinking was "Thank god Mark isn't driving right now!" We finally got to Prague and when we stepped out of the car it was FRIGID!!!! I have never experienced weather so COLD! I thought Berlin was bad but this was something else.

We arrived at our hostel which was called Plus Prague but unfortunately it wasn't what we expected. The reason we origionally chose this hostel was because they supposedly had a pool, jacuzzi and sauna. But, when we arrived we were told that they were all shut down! Plus the hostel was located on the outskirts of the city and we were quite disappointed.

Mark and I were starved so we decided to grab some dinner. Then we hopped on the tram and went to the city center. The city lights of Prague were magnificant! The tram lead us to the opposite side of the Vltava River and we had a view of the luminous Prague Castle up on top of the river banks and well as the grand Charles Bridge. We spent some time strolling around the city streets, browsing in shops and taking in the bohemian culture. We stopped at a local pub to listen to a live Bavarian band play and sip some of the local grog-rum, hot water and lemon-which tastes about as good as it sounds. lol. After this we went to another bar where we met two French men who were hilarious! They were also very knowledgable about the city and told us all of the sites we should check out tomorrow!

Posted by veranoamor 08:55 Comments (0)

In Love with Brussels

Brussels is truly a beautiful city. I wish I had more time to spend here and I definately plan on returning. This morning the boys were a little slow to get moving, go figure. I decided to walk around for a bit on my own and stopped for some DELICIOUS Belgium waffels. They were smothered with both chocolate and strawberry sauce and then topped with whipped cream. I have to admit, after eating them I did feel like I was on sugar overload but they were quite delightful.

I walked back to meet the boys and Kenneth was ready to be our tour guide! We began walking down some of the shopping streets, then headed back to Grand' Place to see the view in the sunlight. The intricate sculptures on the buildings were equally as exquisite as they had appeared the night before. Then, Kenneth lead us down rue du Chene to see the famous Manneken-Pis! Until arriving in Brussels, I had never heard of this little guy before. But everywhere I glanced I saw pictures and sculptures of a little boy peeing! Apparantly Petit Julien dates back to 1619 and has been an irreverent and endearing symbol of "carefree" Brussels. The actual sculpture of him was very tiny. He's only about a foot tall and is made out of bronze stone. We continued walking through the city, stopping to see the stock exchange, a massive neoclassical Bourse. We ventured through the cobbelstone streets and were being quite tempted by all of the chocolatiers. Kenneth lead us to the one he has deemed "the best" and we made our selections. I chose to purchase a box of hand rolled truffels then selected each of the chocolates I wanted to be included- champaigne (my personal favorite), hazelnut praline, carmel with salt, double chocolate rasberry, expresso and of course chocolate covered cherries- the full lush cherries inside still had their seeds! These chocolates were amazing! Sadly, we had to pack up the Volvo and head back to Berlin. We had an eight hour drive ahead of us!

Before leaving the city we stopped at a grocery store so the boys could stock up on Belgium beer, which they can't get back in Berlin. Then we went to see the Atomium, a HUGE sculpture built for the World Expo in 1958. The Atomium contains nine steel spheres connected so that the whole thing forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes which connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube from all eight verticals to the center contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. The futuristic looking monument was tremendous!

Next stop---Berlin, Germany!

Posted by veranoamor 08:43 Comments (0)

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