Berck’s in Berlin

by Berck

Just a brief one, because this keyboard is German, stiff, and I have to stand up… (Not to mention pay 50 cents a minute..) Man Prague was nice. Actually, it was fairly nice, but so cheap that it was great. The expense of Germany has already made up for it though, I’m sure.

I was going to spend Saturday in Prague then head to Berlin Sunday morning, but the main reason I was staying was to go on what was supposedly a really good walking tour of the city. The guy canceled it and moved it to Sunday, but I didn’t want to stay in Prague until Monday, so I just left Saturday afternoon for Berlin.

I exchanged email with Chris before I left, he�s heading to Berlin Monday or Tuesday, but I probably won’t seem him, and he�s headed to Rome after that.

The train station in Prague was annoying. Actually, I think I was feeling annoyed in general. Two guys stood behind counters with no lines behind them, and one woman stood behind another counter with a huge line behind her, only they don’t know how to stand in line in the Czech Republic, so it was a huge mass of people fighting for attention. Everyone, including me, who asked one of them men behind the counter for something, pointed us at the “line”. I�m not sure what the difference was because I can�t read Czech. I finally pushed, shoved and fought my way to the front, with much better success than the poor Englishmen who were trying to behave themselves in a que while the Czechs and I were rude. I bought a ticket to the edge of the border where my Eurail pass would work again, and unfortunately a Mexican guy overheard me. It was only unfortunate, I think, because I was feeling easily annoyed.

You going to Berlin, he asks me. Yes, on the next train, and it costs 156 krowns. (a whopping 4 bucks) I wandered around looking for a decent place to grab food in 10 minutes, and only found mediocre looking sandwiches for a mediocre price. It tasted less than mediocre. Annoying. While buying it, the Mexican seems to have taken me for lost, rather than hungary, and asked if I knew where it was leaving. I didn�t, I hadn’t looked on the board yet and told him so. It�s on 3 he tells me. Annoying. I find the track, get on, and sit in a smoking car with obvious non-smokers. You learn to find the non-smokers in a smoking car quickly when trains are fairly full, you hate smoke in a train car, and really hate sitting in a compartment with 5 or 7 other smelly people, one of which is an idiot that smokes anyway. After a few hours, the Mexican guy, his name is Carlos I find out later, knocks on my window. He wants to know when we have to switch trains. We don�t, I tell him. Yes we do, he tells me. I check the sign on the car, it says Hamburg through Berlin, and show him my cook time table as well, and tell him we’ll get in at 1914. I think really wanted someone to travel with, but I just wanted to be alone.

I get off the train, buy a phone card, can�t find an unoccupied working phone, and decide to head to the hostel I was thinking of staying at when Carlos guy finds me. I explain the S-Bahn (elevated train which is free with a Eurail) and U-bahn, subway which is not free. He doesn’t understand, but follows me anyway. At the station where I�d have to walk from we call hostels and find out they�re all booked except the expensive ones. He goes to an expensive one. I decide to camp.

The camping is listed in Let�s Go (my travel guide) way the heck south of Berlin, but an S-bahn line goes there, so I hop on. About a half hour later, I get off, and Let’s Go says to walk back between the train station and the lake. I don’t know what THAT means, never figure out, and no one there had any clue where camping is. I found a really neat little stretch of grass with a walkway by the lake though, walked along it for awhile, found an empty spot and rolled out my sleeping bag. I didn�t know if I�d be harassed or have to move, so I didn�t pitch the tent. I was chilly, but once I zipped my bag up all the way, I was warm and cozy and slept fine. Cheaper than anywhere I’ve slept yet.

Anyway, I�m in a Hostel tonight for about 14 dollars and will get a shower, which is nice. I�d tell you about my day in Berlin, but people are waiting for this and I�ve spent 3 bucks, so, until next time…

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