Trip Start Feb 2008
26Trip End Ongoing
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We set off walking along the streets of Pankow, the district our (Michaels) flat is located within. Heading south we took a roundabout way, skirting through what looked like rather new buildings inlaced with alotments, once we lost our barings as the TV tower at Alexanderplatz was obsured by some flats. Soon we connected with the main road into town, a duel carrage way with S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines running down the middle. At the end of this road lay Alexanderplatz, and the tower shining in the night as if the end of some mighty lord of the rings styled quest (although we did'nt make it their that night).
After some time walking down the road, we paused to catch our breath and speak with Andrew, a homeless man living out of a carravan near the squat Kopi. He gave us directions in which to find Kopi and the location of his van, we could vist one night perhaps. After sharing a rollup we continued down the road, checking resurant window menus, our hunger fueling us.
Just off the mainroad Paz spotted a small pizza/pasta place called La Loona. Its walls were bare painted concrete, in shades of yellows and oranges, a single mirror hung on each wall and a large glass window out into the street. We sat on plain wooden tables and examined the menu's, then paz got up to place the order at the bar, complete with wood fired ovens behind.
Paz had gone for a egg and spinich pizza while Cimi and myself had picked a "wok-chicken noodlen", the only words we got from the menu. When our food arrived I was slightly suprised to see pasta and not the noddles I had been expecting (although it was wok cooked). Later to remember that noodlen or some such in german was a general expression for pasta's. Still, I do eat alot of asian styled food, so a change is good :)
walking back along the streets of Berlin we tiredly stepped, once entering a shisha bar but to be turned back out, its tabled were full.
The following morning I awoke first and right away sought out the coffee, then headed for the music system and Michaels CD collection. Paz and Cimi awoke to the (rather loud) sound of David Bowie and hot coffee!
We set out once more towards the main street to the center. The weather was great and we had a sun in the sky, at times the streets were full of people going about their shopping or cycling past. Intresting thing here, it seems almost no one crosses the street at a red light, even if the entire street is empty of cars. We made our way down Mühlenstraße jumping in and out of shops, one of note was a tibeten shop, selling such items as prayer flags, Budda's and a metal bowl which upon rubbing a peice of cloth wrapped over a metal rod produces a haunting note which grows in power intill it can fill a room with its sound.
We made ourway closer to Alexanderplatz
We walked towards Kopi, Paz and I had already visted Kopi before, during the G8 Protests it had served as convergence center whereby people could get infomation about the G8 and the support structure set up for activists for actions. We turned a corner and the streets became familier, we walked past a church on our left side, crafted from red brick, with a clock face set into the sides.
We entered the carravan park and while Lisa, Hidi and myself smoked a rollup outside, Paz and Cimi bumped into Helmüt and Vodna. We all sat on a bench inside while Helmüt cut a plastic bottle in two as a container for some beer he had aquired.
After some time Lisa and Hidi left for the shops, although did'nt return, perhaps lost or just following their own plans. Helmüt constucted a fire while Vodna set it ablaze with a dash of meths and we sat around, smoking, drinking and talking. After a spot of confusion over Helmüts bike (he thought it was taken, but was lent up against a tree behind us) we returned with more wood for the fire. Vodna threw some raw potatos in the fire while one of the residents returmed with sandwidges for everyone, we sat and ate happly, washing it down with a dark (free) beer.
Helmüt offered to take us to a free party taking place about 20mins away from Kopi and we decided it was a good idea, being that we had'nt danced in some time! We walked by Helmüt as he took us on a mild diversion, crossing the river at Am Oberbaum bridge and walking past a little of the Berlin wall.
We arrived at the party, which seemed had only recently started, with a few people lining the sides of the room, while what seemed like a mix of death metal and techno played at high volume to strobes. Paz stepped outside his head hurting from the music, while we grin and bared it with the other partygoers. Soon the music set was complete and some form of a techno beat came on, soothing to our dazed heads (although it wasnt DnB :/ )
Having smoked a quick joint on the sofa for dutch courage we climbed to our feet and began to dance, only to feel about 10 seconds later our legs turning to lead.
Still, we passed some time dancing and sharing a beer between us, for a time we planned to leave, following some German guys (and one Irish) to a local place round the corner, they had expected it to be full with people at the time, although it was closed and as we arrived the doors were being unlocked. Feeling quite tired and knowing that we still had a massive walk ahead of us, we headed back to the free party for another dose of dancing.
Paz had chatted to the DJ and requested some DnB although they made an effort to change the music to what they thought was DnB it didn't quite cut it :/
We left a while later, danced out and tired even before we hit the road, some time about 3.30am.
After walking for some time, and at speed we reached the halfway point, it was already 5am now, and we paused to catch our breath at a playground on a set of swings. We only stopped for a rollup here and then continued to move in the direction of Pankow. 4 hours from the start of our walk we arrived back at the flat in Pankow, legs nearly dropping off and gravity pulling us closer to the floor! Even two days after my right foot still pains a little to walk on, I might have overdone it on the walking that day (we guessed about 20-25km) going from the north of the city to south, then east and curving backup to the north anti-clockwise.
The following day we awoke with Michaels return from work, at about 4ish in the afternoon :) and slowly moved our aching bodies out of sleepy stiffness. We spent the day moving slowly around the house and having successive cups of coffee and tea. In the evening we left with Michael for a local restaurant, where Zenia (Michaels next door neighbour) and her friends were having a meal. We sat down on the table and joined in conversation while picking at cheese and olives, washed down with a beer or two.
Having had a day or so to recover from the walk the following day I had planned to borrow one of Michaels bikes and cycle Berlin by day. So rising relatively early I set out (about 11.30am). Cycling around Berlin, I started in Pankow, then headed west through Wedding district and down into Tiergarten. Passing the Column of victory
I cycled around the city, each corner bringing new views to me, along the canal I passed the seat of German government as tour buses unloaded themselves on the pavement, and dashed through the park towards Wilmersdorf, following signs to Grunewald, although I didn't make it that far!
I spent a few minutes off the bike at what seemed like a typical (to myself) scene of European streets, sitting outside on a large pavement side café I enjoyed a caramel cappuccino and a chocolate cheese cake to the sight of large rimmed sun glasses passing me by. The table sitting next to me, I overheard was living in London and enjoying his stay so far, living not far from Golders Green.
I had taken quite a few photos of my day (or at least some) however Michaels computer is running windows 2000 or some such and the drivers for the camera are a hassle to find/don't exist and so I shall have to upload pictures at a later date!
On my return back I passed the southern side of Berlin, cycling east through Schöneberg and Kreuzberg again, turning north past the squat at Kopi (named I assume after the nearby road Köpenicker Straße) and heading back to Pankow.
While passing along Schönhauser allee I paused for another joint and a beer (I had early bought two bottles in a shop, enjoying one to the sunset over the canal). Here I sat on a bench, watching Berliners pass me by, until about 10mins later a guest arrived! I have already forgotten his name (I'm so bad at remembering peoples name, they leave me in seconds after I am told!) Anyway, this visiter of mine pulled up in a bike, and asked if I was smoking a joint, or course like all smokers his automatic joint sensors had rung and he was following his nose :)
After sitting down I offer him a beer and the last of the 1st joint as I rolled another for the two of us to smoke together. My friend had just returned from a small shoplifting mission, in his bag were three tops and a pair of trousers. Now, some might think this a crime, although I would claim it depends upon the victim of this. His "victims" had all been mighty clothes stores whereby all their products had basically been stolen from their producers in China and other "Free Trade Zones". Anyway, this was his living in Berlin, a city which he quite like, although not as much as his native Czech republic of course.
We shared stories, joints and over the course of a second beer he offered me a small drum he had as a present (which I accepted), now we had two drums, a guitar, a harmonica, a mouth blown piano and the last item Paz returned with later, a mouth harp or such!
Cycling back to Michaels flat to end my day, I met again with the other two and Michael for an evening meal. I had earlier left the house with Cimi and found an Asian market where I could restock my chilli sauces and sesame oil!
So, the usual exchanges of meals took place, with a "David classic stir-fry" first, then Michael's potato and yogurt/cream/oil side (very simple but very nice) and then last night I attempted a noodle soup of sorts with the leftovers from the stir-fry (worked quite well).
Paz and Cimi left last night while I stayed in, resting my foot. I don't know the details yet, but it seems they went back down to the Kopi squat and later a Reggae party, perhaps meeting someone they had met before at a Italian rainbow or such.
Anyway...I try and post pics/vids next time I'm at a computer that works with the camera! but until then, we are planning to stay in Berlin for the weekend I believe, perhaps even horse ridding but I let you know how that pans out! As for now, its taken me once again ages to type this lot out, hope you had fun reading it (or skim reading). I think we are planning a night out in Berlin again tonight, but I don't know exactly what is in store! Cya later!