Stupid Berlin

Late night post as I have to sit around waiting for some waffle dough. This is probably the most involved waffle recipe I’ve ever made so far, and they better be the best waffles I’ve ever had. T_T

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Yet another much repeated comment during our trip – “Stupid Berlin”. It all started when I said I wanted to go to Berlin, and found a great sale price on the Hilton Hotel in Berlin (one of the benefits of booking your plane tickets 205 days in advance, I guess, and this ended up being our one super luxurious stay on our honeymoon). After convincing MrFodder that we should go, I booked it in, and started trying to work out which city we were going next. Our itinerary so far consisted of London, Paris and Berlin. We wanted to go to CERN in Geneva to see the LHC (if it was off) and the birthplace of the world wide web, and I thought it’d just be a quick train ride through the Alps. I had heard that the trains connecting Western Europe were plentiful and figured it wouldn’t be a big deal getting from A to B. MrFodder was much more pragmatic than me, and said that it was probably a good idea to work out how we plan to get between cities before choosing where to go next.

That’s when I realised I should have paid more attention in geography in high school. Berlin is not nearly as close to Switzerland as I had thought.

In fact, Berlin is pretty much on the other side of the country compared to where Geneva is. MrFodder really wanted to go to Strasbourg, as his parents had lived there for a while, and I really wanted to go to Monaco, to see the super high class casino, so spending more time in France was definitely on the cards, and our trip would have been so much easier if we didn’t have to take a giant detour through Germany. So began the cries of, “Stupid Berlin!” We decided to get a Eurail pass, and though there are a lot of trains to get from city to city, people keep telling me that Europe is tiny, and you can drive for an hour and go from one country, through another and into a third. So I had the impression that all the cities would be fairly close together. Nope, it’s nearly a 9-hour train ride from Paris to Berlin (through Frankfurt). Stupid Berlin.

That wasn’t the only obstacle our planning took. We found out that CERN only takes bookings for their tours around 15 days in advance, which meant that we wouldn’t know for sure whether we’d be able to get on to one of their tours while we were there. Of course, it was Berlin’s fault. The Australian dollar was losing in value against the Euro (and pretty much everything else). Stupid Berlin. During the verification process for the card I applied for to be able to withdraw cash at a decent rate overseas, the system confused me with someone who has a similar name, and so it rejected my application. Stupid Berlin.

Not surprisingly, by the time we hit the part of our trip where we had to prepare to leave Paris and journey to Berlin, we were dreading having to go there. The morning wasn’t that great, as Gare de l’Est was cold, and we didn’t really find anything to eat for breakfast there (mistake #1, being wary of things to delay us, we left quite early for the station, only to find that there wasn’t much to do while we were there as it was closed. Mistake #2, since it was such a long journey, we had to take quite an early train, which meant we had to be up super early in order to make it to the station on time. And we were supposed to be on vacation!). Well, we did end up finding a cafe that we could actually sit down at – all the other food places that were open only did take away, and the station itself was fairly crowded there wasn’t really anywhere to sit down.

Once we actually arrived in Berlin, I was pretty in awe of the Berlin HBF station. It’s huge! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of it. The train ride from Paris was actually fairly comfortable. I think I slept most of the way. It definitely didn’t feel like 9 hours. As for the city itself, it was amazing. My second favourite city of the whole trip. By the time our 4-days in Berlin were up, we didn’t even want to leave. Which was the last time we said our mantra in earnest: “Stupid Berlin, why didn’t you tell us how amazing you are?”

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If you care which cities we ended up going to:

  • London
  • Paris
  • Berlin
  • Strasbourg
  • Geneva
  • Nice
  • Monaco
  • Milan
  • Venice (day trip from Milan)
  • Florence
  • Rome
  • Naples (day trip from Rome)
  • Dubai
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