Sunday, 20 September 2009

A German Me and another and another and....

This is all about memememe!

My trip to Germany was 95% fantastic and 5% awful. So to deal with the latter first. I paid for my train tickets to get from Berlin to Usedom over the net, the receipt said I would get my tickets by email. They never came, so on the Sunday of my weekend I went to the service desk at the train station and was told to just go to the ticket office the next morning.

The next morning the ticket office couldn't/wouldn't help, the service desk couldn't help, the place they sent me to use a computer terminal to check to see if the email had arrived wouldn't let me in. So there I was stuck in a foreign country not speaking the language with 20 minutes before the train.

Solution after a lot of swearing out loud to stop me crying was to go and buy another ticket and blow the expense. That bit was easy, but I felt wrung out by having to deal with the language barrier and a fair amount of stubbornness on behalf of the German women I encountered.

But other than that the trip was wonderful all round. I picked my lovely niece up in Liverpool and we went to the airport talking and never stopped till I left her on Monday morning. We were in a rather smooth boutique hotel in Potsdam Strasse right next door to U bahn station (subway). The first night we just wandered out of the hotel and found this lovely place to eat, pork with blue cheese sauce, yummy. Then on to a cocktail bar. It was such a nice evening that we sat outside at both places. And for when anyone started to get chilly all the bars in Berlin are equipped with blankets to wrap up in and stay outside.

The next day found us having klein frustuck at a bar (bread and jam and coffee) before we hit the main sights.

First stop was the Holocaust Memorial, it is an awe inspiring place, concrete block after concrete block of various sizes taking up a large prime site in the centre of Berlin.

The weather was fantastic on Saturday and we went on to the Brandenburg Tor (gate) second photo .... yes I've got them in the wrong order but hey who cares.

We also went up the the top of the Reichstag (government building) and into the dome, there is a walkway all the way to the top and another back down again, the views over Berlin are spectacular. And we booked a table at the restaurant beside the dome for Sunday breakfast(top picture)

German breakfast of cold meats, bread, eggs, cheese, jam, orange juice and coffee- fabulous!

Me posing in front of the Brandenburg Tor

Once I'd got to Geli's first stop was the beach, taking the very lovely Senor Paco for a walk with us. The sea was reasonably warm, but just too rough to swim in. I'm not a strong swimmer and so felt that caution was the best policy, although I did have my costume half on just in case swimming was possible.

Geli had been blogging recently about her chocolate cake and I'd put in a request for some cake..... I hadn't expected a whole cake just for me, and at every opportunity I was to be found eating more of it. Although Geli did end up freezing half of it for her students.

Her students all turned up to have conversation with me, and as ever, when I'm abroad I felt ashamed of how ignorant I am at languages, as all the students spoke better English than I did German. Geli did spend time teaching me to, so I can now ask if a German can speak English in German, and I have to say I got a better response than when I said it in English!!!

On my last day there we went to Poland, about 8 miles away! And Geli had primed me on how to introduce myself to her Polish friend, who was amazed when I greeted her in her own language. Eva insisted we share food with her and her family, which was lovely. And then we went back onto the beach, but this time I'm paddling in the Baltic in Poland.

Geli has written about our time together on her blog, and I couldn't put it any better myself about how well we got on. It was like being with a friend I've known for ever and I was so comfortable that I felt at home.

I felt very proud of myself for having dealt with this trip, it's one thing for me to go to America, I can speak the language, but to put myself out there and succeed in so doing is something I never thought I'd be able to do in a country where I communicated, outside of being with Geli, by sign language and pigeon English/German.

So where's next......... Well actually I know, but won't say till it's all booked, but I'm really going to have to learn to speak German now!


Angela Recada said...

I'm so glad you had such a (95%) wonderful time! Angela's chocolate cake looks wunderbar.


nitebyrd said...

A 95% wonderful trip AND has chocolate cake is absolutely a success! Sounds like a fabulous time, the pictures are beautiful!

Paula said...

So wonderful described and I love the pics - and you look so fab and relaxed. Hugs to you

Rach said...

Good to see you looking so relaxed and happy, you so deserve to be hun..xx

Helen said...

Must tell you I have German roots going way back .. maiden name ~ KLENKE! I loved seeing your photos, makes me feel I know you a bit more ~ which is good.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

How happy and peaceful do you look. Just beautiful photo's of you Mandy. I'm so pleased to hear you had a marvellous time. Sounds like everyone had a ball. Linda xoxo

speck of dust said...

You look great in these photos. And well done for dealing with the stressful train situation without murdering someone/having a heart attack!! So glad everything else went so well x x

Pam said...

Wow - how good are you with the train station scenario. I'd just dissolve in tears. You look fabulous Byrdie, and so happy with your chocolate cake!

karen said...

Ah, just great! Loved reading both your posts.. and that cake, I'm horribly envious! Great pics, and once again, well done for getting yourself there despite all odds!

CheekyDani said...

I've been keen to go to Berlin for some time and now I'm even more so. Thanks for the e-journey x

Angela said...

Hahaha, it was such a sight when you introduced yourself in casual Polish to Ewa and her eyes almost popped out in surprise! I had so much fun with you, Mandy! When I had to leave you alone with my 14 year-old pupil who was quite nervous about you, and when I came back and he had told you secrets I even hadn`t known...and how you made that waitress feel so proud when you understood her English, and when we wondered about that Viagra-coloured ice-cream... Could go on and on. You were a very lovely guest! And I can only apologize for those rude railway ladies! Es tut mir Leid! But having had such awful experiences first, you could estimate the rest of your stay better, perhaps?

Fire Byrd said...

The rest of my stay Geli, was just wonderful, cause it was spent with you. And you are as warm and generous in real life as you are on your blog.

Sorrow said...

Ahhh Byrd, every where you go you bring such joy, such adventure and happiness with you!
This was so good to read! and I love all the happy faced photo's of you!

Mel said...


What Sorrow said.....everywhere you go, you bring to the circumstances and the people in it. And obviously, that goes both ways.

*happy sigh*
I'm just so dang proud!!

e said...

Wow! What a lovely time, despite the railway women! I can't wait to hear more of your adventures.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Ah, I'm so glad, railway tickets notwithstanding, that you had such a fantastic and happy time!
Now, where's my bit of cake?!?