Berlin by bicycle

  A&O Hostels are great. All-you-can-eat breakfast for 5€. Free if you pretend you’ve paid. #dogbait #filds #winemaker #dustyevsky

German high school bus tours drink, smoke, and are well-behaved. American college students act like apes, pick fights, can’t handle their liquor.

It’s great being surrounded by youth and a few old people pretending they’re not cheap. A father berated the cafeteria staff this morning for not having the 4,000-gallon tankard of coffee ready at 7:00 AM sharp. “We must travel 850 km today and cannot wait!” Then he sat around with his finger up his nose for half an hour.

The hostel has a guest kitchen where you can store food for other guests to steal.

Boxhagenstrasse is the global center of hipsterism. Hundreds of awesome cafés, bars, clubs, and restaurants in a tiny area. There is a place called “White Trash Fast Food” and a tattoo convention going on.

Ice cream shops every ten feet.

You can ride a bike everywhere. 30 minutes to the city center, and it’s super safe if you go slow. 15-20 minutes if death is an option.

The coffee you get at cafés is great but it costs 2€, which is pricey when you drink six cups a day. Solution? Jar of instant, 2.99€, makes about 30 cups and has that unbeatable “bargain” flavor. Grab two fistfuls of creamer capsules at breakfast and you’re set.

I hate to admit it but cigarette smoke doesn’t really bother me here.

The best fast food in the galaxy is the Turkish “doener.” It’s like a burrito, in the sense that sushi is like a tuna sandwich.

Anyone who wants to do more than one museum a day is mad. The German Historic Museum is fantastic.

The chocolate aisle at a German supermarket is the world’s most dangerous place.

When you buy groceries you have to bring your own bag or buy one and they aren’t cheap. We’ve been using the same plastic bag for ten days now. I’m starting to feel like a bag lady, as I snatched a plastic bag out of the trash in case mine ever breaks.

Recycling-reuse is big here especially the way people shatter their refundable beer bottles on all the streets and sidewalks so that you can patch and reuse your inner tubes.

The shopping carts are all chained up and in order to get one you have to insert money which is returned when you re-chain the cart. We didn’t know this and couldn’t figure out how to unchain the carts so we stood around waiting for a shopper to return one. When I tried to take a cart from a lady who was returning hers but before she’d chained it and gotten her coin back she thought I was trying to steal her coin. I tried to explain but it came out something like “Your cart is attractive to me, may I put my hands on you?”

Germany closes on Sunday so buy your food on Saturday or face extreme hunger.

Street art here in Berlin is alive and well, but most of the graffiti (99.9999%) is like graffiti everywhere: Ugly and simple-minded.

Hot chocolate on a cold morning does wonders for the attitude.



8 thoughts on “Berlin by bicycle”

  1. just a note to say how much i’ve been enjoying the photography. it is well-woven into the travel narrative, enhancing it as you go along. how do i know this? because i notice as i read the blog, i start wondering what the photos will be…and, because after reading the posts on leipsig with photos, i have placed it #1 on my wished-for destinations. there, too, the photos were outstanding. there is definitely a travel writer at work here. and a humorist. and a satirist. all three of you.

  2. Really enjoying the blog and the photos as well. BTW, in France, there is a different (cheaper) price if you order coffee at the counter. Not as cheap as instant, but cheaper than sitting at a table. Well, I’m off to work now. Have fun!

  3. I love how a lot of the pillars around Berlin still have marking from bullet holes, etc from WW2. The history there is amazing.

  4. Your German comment to the shopping cart lady made me laugh (who HASN’T done something similar) and reminded me of “I’m a jelly donut.”

    I can’t believe Germany still closes on Sunday. When I’ve spent time in Germany I always felt like I was back in the ’50s with Sundays being closed down.

    Your list of “things done differently” made me think of the book I’m currently listening to, Americanah. There’s a chapter where she points out all the odd things that people in the US do and how her friends from Africa changed to “fit in”. Also an interesting section on how African Americans are different than American Africans. And who falls into which category, which of course leads to “why do we have to have categories?”

    It’s fun to see your world through someone else’s eyes and to see other people’s world through our/my eyes, as long as one realizes that unless you walk in the other person’s shoes, you can’t say their way is better/worse, good/bad, it’s just different.

    I love exploring other places! Doing it vicariously with you is almost as good as the real thing (especially since you travel/destinate in a similar way to me).

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