Paris, France – Day 3 – “The Game Of Love And Chance”

First of all, a bit of an aside. I apologize for the massive, massive delay between updates. As I’m sure you know, I’ve been back in the Land of Freedom for quite a while, and have been distracted by other things. It’s not my JOB to provide you with entertainment, but whatever little money you can spare will be fine.

As a completionist, I’ve decided to come back and finish off the few entries I have left, so rest assured you will continue to see the constant declining quality you’ve come to expect from this blog for at least a little while longer.

Without further ado…

Day 3 of my Paris Adventure started out with a brief check-up as to the operational status of the Musee D’Orsay or, as I now refer to it, the Musee of Broken Dreams.

No matter, Lindsay and I jetted off to the Rodin Museum.

The Rodin museum is a lovely Mansion-like house surrounded by lovely gardens, amongst which many of Rodin’s statues are loving strewn about.

Let’s cut to the chase, though, given my brash assumption that you have my same uncultured appreciation (or lack thereof) of art that I do, you probably just want to see this:

Yes! It’s The Thinker! Good job, fellow pseudo-intellectuals.

Rodin’s other famous works such as The Kiss are also present.

And this cheery number is called The Gates of Hell.

But the Museum is also home to several other of his works, which I don’t remember the names of.

Here’s:  Melting Man in Snuggie.

Also,  They’re Called Fingers, But I’ve Never Seen Them Fing.

Enough of that.

So, post-sculpture-fest, Lindsay and I returned to the other site of our failure: The Comedie Francaise.

This, time, however, we arrived over an hour early to make sure we got our cheap tickets. Despite an hour and a half of over-the-shoulder solitaire and sudoku, we got our tickets with about a half an hour to spare before the play.

…which would’ve been great, if we weren’t ridiculously cheap, ridiculously hungry, and ridiculously located in an expensive part of Paris. But I had an app for that.

…which would’ve been great if the app’s single dollar sign suggestions didn’t map to 15-20 Euros a plate. Seriously, guys. That is not what single dollar sign should mean.

Luckily enough after about 15 minutes of searching, we found a small, yet crowded bakery/restaurant called Le Pain Quotidien, which I’m pretty sure Lindsay still thinks is a branch of Au Bon Pain.

As I’ve mentioned several times before in this blog, I’ve taken many years of High School French, which is the same as taking no French at all. Nowhere was this more apparent than when perusing the menu of Le Pain Quotidien. (Actually, I don’t even know what Quotidien means.)

However, after searching through the…uh…cheaper options. I managed to spot the word Belgique next to another word I didn’t recognize. We hastily ordered two orders of this Belgian mystery dish, silently praying to the Bakery Gods that they were indeed waffles.

The bakery gods hath smiled upon us and delivered onto us a bounty of waffley goodness. Waffles crisp and soft, yet crunchy, filling our bellies with buttery delight, served gently aside a selection of red berries and mint leaves. Shit. With words like this, I should start a food blog. (Look for The Complete Loser’s Guide To Nom Nom Noms, coming soon!)

Protip: Put mint leaves in your hot chocolate. I told Lindsay to do this (for no reason, really), and it turned out to be the best idea I’ve ever had. To be fair, though, there aren’t many contenders for “Best Idea Ganesh Has Ever Had”.

Suddenly, we became hyper-aware of our lack of time vis-a-vis the play. We scarfed down what remained of our waffles, slapped down a 20 and ran out the door. Running all the way back to the Comedie Francaise after just having eaten what amounted to solid, baked butter may not have been the best experience of my life. After about 3 minutes of that, I had a stitch in my side, and had lost my freshness. We did end up squeaking our way into the theater, though.

The play we had gotten tickets for was “Le Jeu De l’Amour Et Du Hasard”, or “The Game of Love and Chance”.

I enjoyed it, even though I had no clue what the hell was going on. Post-show, I formulated a guess as to what exactly the plot of the show was, and a quick search on Wikipedia (look it up yourselves) found that I was actually not too far off.

Lindsay, on the other hand, was a bit more critical, given her theater background. I was just happy to see moving people and objects and fancy colors. I am not a complicated man.

After a short post-theater break to collect ourselves, we headed out for yet another walking tour led by our favorite ex-pat Californian Arnaud. This one took us around Montmartre at night, so I could finally see the place I’d been living in for the past three days. Of course, we took a look around the Moulin Rouge and the Sexodrome, but we also got to see other infamous landmarks such as that diner from Amelie, and Van Gogh’s brother’s apartment. His name was Theo Van Gogh, but I’ve been calling him Tony for the longest time, so we’ll stick with that.

We also got to hit the top of the giant hill from which the Sacre Coeur overlooks Paris. At night, the basilica and view are absolutely beautiful.

After the tour, we enjoyed a free glass of wine.

Free! Wine!

After the wine, we joined forces with a few other of our tour-mates and sat down for a delightful dinner. Afterwards, Lindsay and I said our goodbyes and we parted ways, she to the airport, and me to a few more days of Paris.

For Lindsay’s take on the past 3 day’s events, check out her blog entry here.

Her blog itself is also worth checking out, since she’s in Europe for far longer than I am/was.

Next: The Train Ticket Fiasco,  and The Palace at Versailles!

Le Jeu De l’Amour Et Du,

Ganesh

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Paris, France – Day 2 – “You Better Call Kenny Loggins, Because You’re In The Danger Zone.”

Lindsay and I met up again at 9am outside the Musee D’Orsay.

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It being a popular impressionist museum with a fair number of notable works, the large line was not unforeseen. We stood in the queue for about 15 minutes past the scheduled opening with no forward progress, not entirely are what was going on.

As we were waiting in the line of confused people, a television reporter from Paris’ Channel 3 approached the guy behind me and asked him if he spoke any French. All the while, I was biting my lip, silently praying that she wouldn’t come towards me. The guy behind me made it clear that he spoke no French.

Obviously, since we were next up in line, she asked me the same question.

-“Excusez-moi, parlez-vous francais?
-“No. Sorry.

Yes! Off the hook!

-“Oh, do you speak English, then?

Well, shit.

-“Yes, I speak English.
-“Did you know that the Musee D’Orsay has been closed due to a strike?

I cleared my throat.

-“Oh. Wow. No. I didn’t know. That’s a shame, because my friend Lindsay and I are only in Paris for a short time, and I actually wanted to see some of the Van Gogh pieces here. But these other people in front of us in the queue have also been waiting for ages. What is the strike about?”

…is what I SHOULD have said.

This is what I said instead:

-“WELL, THAT SUCKS.

Nice job, idiot.

I’m sure the clip may be on the Internet somewhere. A shiny nickel to whoever finds it first.

We abandoned the Musee D’Orsay shortly after that point when it was clear the strike was not going to be resolved. Instead, we went to Saint Michel to check out Shakespeare and Co, an old book store (where writers like Hemingway used to spend their days…and nights)…only to find it closed for another hour, and us stuck out in the cold.

“LOUVRE!!!”

To kill time, and warm up we headed to a cafe for some coffee and some neat coconut flan. By the time we returned, Shakespeare and Co was already open and bustling with customers.

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This store is everything a bookstore should be. Tall stacks and shelves piled high with books of every kind, in a sort of organized disarray. Books even lined the staircase, on both railings and beneath. It was incredibly charming and a book lover’s paradise. They even had a library room upstairs with a typewriter for aspiring writers and a piano room, together forming a nice, crowded hipster colony.

Lindsay and I split up for the next part of the day: she to Versailles, and me to an airfield where my good ol’ friend Luc had arranged for a friend of his, Harry, to take me on a short flight above Paris.

We drove out to the airfield and checked out our ride.

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Harry informed me that we were taking her up to 1500 feet and flying away from Paris, since Paris was restricted airspace. I got into what I like to refer to as “Top Gun Mode”

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We took off and got some beautiful views of the Paris countryside, and especially EuroDisney.

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Frankly, EuroDisney did look like it sucked hardcore. But now I can say that I experienced EuroDisney without paying for the letdown.

We took a few more laps around, but mostly saw sprawling farmland with occasional buildings. Regardless, it was still a pretty good experience.

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After touching down and saying goodbye to Harry, I met up with Lindsay once more outside the Comedie Francaise, for some rollicking French theatre. Arnaud had informed us the day before of a 5 euro deal, wherein you could come to the box office an hour before the show and get cheap tixx. We stood in line for the better part of an hour

…only to be turned away within a few feet of the ticket window.

“LOUVRE!!!”

We resolved to come back the next day.

Bitter and heartbroken, we decided to drown our sorrows in tourism. We made our way up the Champs Élysées to the Arc Du Triomphe, which is actually pretty spectacular at night.

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By this time, we were properly starving, and in need of cheap food. What resulted was a two hour meander through the only streets in Paris devoid of eateries. It was astoundingly infuriating. But we did happen to catch the nightly Light Show on the Eiffel Tower.

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This apparently costs Paris €40 million per year, and, at its best, makes the Tower look like it has a medically severe, glowing dandruff problem.

Eventually, we capitulated and got some Asian Meat Sticks close to Lindsay’s place, the charmingly named “Oops!” hostel, and made plans for her final day in Paris.

Next: Le Jeu De L’amour Et Du Hasard, and an awful lot of running to do.

Sacre Bleu,
Ganesh


Paris, France – Day 1 – “LOUVRE!!!”

As I’ve mentioned before, I dabbled in French for about four to five years during middle school and high school. This fully qualifies me to hold conversations with children and certain breeds of small dogs. Despite my remedial language skills, I managed to make it off the train, on to the metro and all the way to the hostel without incident.

I was surprised to find that my hostel was situated at the foot of the Sacre Coeur cathedral, in the heart of the Montmartre district. This put me just a few blocks away from the Moulin Rouge.

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…and its classier cousin, the Paris “Sexodrome”.

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The fact that the neon O has completely burnt out just seems to add to the authenticity.

Also…”Love Store”?

After checking into my room, I dashed out the door, hoping to catch the next walking tour. I made it to Saint Michel with minutes to spare, joining the tour lead by Arnaud, an expat Californian who took us around the sights with wonderful color commentary, as is the usual. We saw the typical sights: Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, The Arc Du Triomphe, albeit from a distance. Arnaud also pointed out sights I would’ve completely missed, such as the faces adorning the New Bridge, which is ironically the oldest bridge in Paris.

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Apparently, after throwing a sick kegger, King Henri III, had artists draw portraits of all His drunk friends, then made them carve the portraits into his New Bridge. Arnaud, probably summed it up perfectly, “Henri was tagging drunk friends on a wall way before Facebook.”

Ha ha! Tres bien.

Arnaud also gave us some cool pointers, mainly that the Louvre was free from 6-10 on Fridays for under 26ers and that there was a seldom used secret entrance we could use to skip the lines. Being under 26, lazy and cheap, I jumped at the opportunity, and made it a point to visit later that night.

Also on the tour group was Lindsay, a theatre major at NYU Tisch, and therefore a fellow New Yorker. (Yes, Lindsay, this is the part of the blog where I talk about you.) She was studying in Madrid for the semester and took the weekend off to travel to Paris. Unfortunately, she wont be in Madrid during my visit. (Nice planning, Ganesh.) We met and became instant Paris-Best-Friends. After the tour, we grabbed the discount lunch they provided and decided to take a closer look at the Eiffel Tower.

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We didn’t go to the top, because that would be stupid and expensive. Overall, though, I was actually pretty impressed by it. It was much taller than I expected and was pretty cool.

It was about time from the Louvre, so we headed back, and killed a bit of time in the Louvre’s park, which was eerily quiet for being next to a busy street, but, thus, pretty nice.

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We approached Arnaud’s “super secret entrance”, only to find it closed on Fridays.

And this is where the curse of the Louvre began.

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Once you enter The Building-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, time, space and causality cease to exist. Things go from being a strict progression of cause to effect and transform into a big…ball…of wibbly wobbly…timey wimey…stuff. And yes, it is bigger on the inside. I really couldn’t tell you how many hours we spent trapped in this labyrinth of evil, somewhere between 2 and infinity. Every time we approached a map to ascertain our location, we found that it had rotated some arbitrary amount of degrees, leaving us discombobulated and confused. We began shaking our fists in the air, and yelling “LOUVRE!!!” in a curse to the heavens. Actually, we started doing this every time something untoward happened to us. We’re going to make it a thing. It’ll be a thing.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe. (I think I may have went too far with “labyrinth of evil”)

Regardless of the Louvre’s disastrous impositions on the Theory of Relativity, some of the pieces of artwork contained within are necessary viewing. The most famous of which is, of course, the Mona Lisa. The way this thing is advertised, you’d think it was the only thing in this monstrous building and the rest of the exhibits were just wallpaper. The constant crowd around it also adds to this supposition. The incessant oohing and aching and shutter clicks were a particular annoyance of mine, as it made my attempts to solve the Da Vinci Code that much more difficult. Enough talk. Here’s the lady in question:

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Other notable exhibits include the Chick With No Arms:

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Royal Transvestite Prostitute:

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And Laws On a Thumb:

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(The last one is the original Code of Hammurabi. Yes, THAT Hammurabi. Not exactly the most recognizable thing, but still very cool.)

I won’t bother you with the details of our miraculous escape from the Louvre, but once we emerged, we were clearly hungry and stumbled upon a nice little crepe place near my hostel. Our most notable purchase was the Crepe Flamboyeuse, which is where they take a crepe, drown it Grand Marnier, and set it on fire.

Seated at the table behind us were a large group of English teachers playing a game with rules we could barely discern. They were shouting out random initials and the other players would have to come up with names that fit the initials. You got extra points for naming fictional and dead people, or dead fictional people. One guy attempted to garner an extra point by claiming Harry Potter was dead, but I interrupted and called him out on his bullshit. He told me to stay out of it.

He was just mad that he didn’t get the point.

Once we thought we had figured out these rules, the teachers suddenly began talking about treasure maps and a cemetery…which confused the crap out of both of us.

It was getting late, so Lindsay and I parted ways and made plans to meet up at the Musee D’Orsay the following day…which posed another slight set of problems.

Next: Musee D’umb and EuroDisney from 1,500 feet!

Voulez-vous couchez avec,
Ganesh


Berlin, Germany – Days 3 & 4 – “The Palace Without Mice”

As I’ve mentioned before, Jackie and Melanie were only on a temporary stop in Berlin before they intended to make their way to their ultimate destination: Mykonos, Greece.

This seemed to be a point of contention, as the ladies really wanted to go to Mykonos, but the Greeks, and, indeed, the universe, felt the EXACT OPPOSITE.

The day before their scheduled flight, the Greek transportation industry shut down for a 12 hour, overnight strike. What ends does a 12 hour strike meet? None, really, except to ruin Jackie and Melanie’s travel plans.

Luckily, for them, this wasn’t a sudden development and they had been on guard since they landed in Berlin. So, they sprung into crisis management mode, emailing and calling hither dither to assess the situation and take appropriate action. It was really impressive, actually.

…until the power in the hostel went out.

So we made the trek back to their other hotel, which actually didn’t have computers for use. Instead, they rented out iPads, which is pretty cool. But, take it from someone who’s been writing on an iPad for the better part of two months, it gets really annoying.

The hotel also had these little blue candy hearts which tasted like rainbow icees. So, while I carefully investigated that new development, Jackie and Melanie finalized the particulars of their new destination: Florence, Italy.

Having averted certain doom, we took a day trip to Potsdam to see some old royal palaces. For history buffs, the name Potsdam may ring a bell as it is where the fate of post-World War II Germany was decided by The Big Three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman).

We arrived at the Palace Sanssouci, which, according to my and Jackie’s French, translates to “The Palace Without Mice”.

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There were two other palaces present. The Orangery Palace and the New Palace, along with some beautiful gardens. Lotsa mice in there!

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We went back through the Town of Potsdam, which is a really charming and, yes, cute, place, especially at twilight.

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For some reason, the culinary theme of this trip has been Thai food, so we, yet again, dined at a Thai restaurant.

Our train ride home was sweetened by €1 ice cream cones, which have been the cheapest and, therefore, best I’ve had since coming to the continent.

But no amount of cheap ice cream* could temper the bittersweet good nights and goodbyes we said as we arrived back in Berlin. Of course, we will have a New York reunion in the coming weeks. (*Well, it’d have to be a lot. Like three pounds.)

The girls were gone by morning, and I struck out in Berlin on my own. After going through the Jewish memorial, I proceeded to walk halfway across the city of Berlin with no particular purpose. It was actually kind of ridiculous.

It was about this time that I realized that home wasn’t far away, and that my exciting excursion had turned into a survival countdown. Was the rest of my trip going to be me just biding time until I made my glorious return to the Land of Freedom?

Spoiler alert: No!

Next Time: Paris brings sexy back.

Allons-y!,
Ganesh

French Partypooper’s Note: “Sanssouris” would be “Without Mice”, “Sanssouci” means “Without Worry”


Berlin, Germany – Day 2 – “Berlin? Yes, I know it well. I stabbed a woman in a bar in Berlin. But I am going nowhere near Berlin.”

The title of this post is from the hit 2004 comedy Eurotrip, on which this blog is loosely based.

I, of course, play the Michelle Trachtenberg role.

Our second day in Berlin started off with the New Europe walking tour that we had missed the day before. Our tour guide was a tall, blond Englishman named Rob. Jackie, Melanie and I took to calling him “Alternative Rob”, since he bragged about hosting the New Europe hip, indie Alternative Berlin Walking Tour. Clearly, there is no one more alternative than Rob.

Alternative Rob gave us a great tour, starting with the Brandenburg Gate again and a brief history of time Germany. We also walked through the Memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe, a sea of dark gray pillars with an equivalently dark name.

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How exactly this represents the victims of the holocaust is completely up to interpretation, which I feel is pretty apt. Beneath it is a holocaust museum which I made a point of visiting a few days later. Very powerful stuff.

Rob also took us to the site of Hitler’s Bunker…which is now a parking lot.

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It’s not even a good parking lot. Just a patch of dirt where you dump your car. Take that Hitler, you Nazi bastard.

Alternative Rob’s tour continued through Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall.

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The Wall has seen better days, and never really recovered from that incident in ’89.

You can also find large sections of the wall scattered around Berlin, so you’ll encounter it whether you want to or not.

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Throughout the tour, Rob gave us a set of “Top Tips” that he liked to refer to as “Rob’s Top Tips”. One of which was to visit the domed cathedral at the end of the tour. This we did. Not only was the inside beautiful, but the top of the dome also gave us great, albeit cloudy, views of Berlin. And we didn’t need to reserve three days in advance. (I’m looking at you, Reichstag!)

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After descending the dome, Jackie insisted we go to the Pergamon Museum down the street. I relented because it ended up just being across the way from the house of my good friend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Unfortunately, Angie wasn’t in that day, so we couldn’t pop in for tea. Probably for the better, as we had a museum to see.

The Pergamon Museum is a repository of Ancient Artifacts. I, according to Melanie and Jackie, looked like I belonged there with my Indiana Jones-esque hat. I tend to agree.

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The main draw of the Pergamon Museum is the Pergamon Altar itself, which contains a frieze of the battle between the Greek Gods and the Titans as adapted from the hit Playstation game God of War III.

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The Pergamon is also home to the Gate of Ishtar, the 8th gate of ancient Babylon built by Nebuchadnezzar II. And if anyone makes a comment about the 1987 Warren Beatty movie Ishtar, may God have mercy on your soul.

What? Nobody remembers Ishtar? Well, that’s good.

Anyway, the Lapis Lazuli tiles that made up the gate were still as perfect and brilliant as ever, which really is saying something, given their age.

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Our exit from the museum was marred by a sudden downpour, be we sought refuge in a Thai eatery before heading back to the hostel.

The ladies needed an extra night’s stay but the hostel was completely booked, due to the fact that it had somehow been invaded by German High School kids, so they booked a hotel room a short block away.

On another note, has becoming older made me hate teenagers? The answer is a resounding “Yes, dammit!”

God help them if they ever get on my lawn.

Next: Greek Crisis Management and No Mice!

Ich Bin Ein,
Ganesh


Berlin, Germany – Day 1 – “The Little Man”

I arrived in the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, which is some sort of amazing future-building where locomotive and man peacefully co-exist in a massive glass habitat.

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It also has a Dunkin Donuts.

I was about three hours late due to my sleeping indiscretions, but Jackie and Melanie were very patient and were waiting for me in the hostel lobby. They had graciously agreed to meet me in Berlin as a stopover before their vacation to Greece. More on that disaster later.

Before I go any further, it’s absolutely essential that I point out that the hostel’s elevator was made by a company called “Schindler”.

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So it’s…

“Schindler’s Lift”

Ah? Eh? yes?

…I’ll show myself out.

Anyway…

Given that I arrived too late for any sort of walking tour, we just walked around in search of stuff to see and do.

Using a map we grabbed from the desk, we plotted out a long plan which started with us making a fifteen minute trek to the Reichstag.

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…which happened to be across the street. Clearly, the scale on these maps have some sort of fundamental deficiency.

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The Reichstag currently requires a three day advance booking to enter, which we had no clue about, so we missed the chance to go up into the clear glass dome above the building.

However, we stumbled into a bit of a protest on the Reichstag lawn, which we nicknamed “Occupy Reichstag”.

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They could just burn it again for old times sake.

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After passing through the Brandenburg Gate, we did a good deal of souvenir browsing, mostly focused around what Berlin calls the “Ampelmann”, or traffic light man. But we just ended up calling him “The Little Man” for the duration of the trip.

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He’s basically like the men in the cross walk signs across the world, except with one notable difference. He has a hat. Much like my hat. So I believe he and I share a special kinship. Also, apparently the only way to stop him is crucifixion.

We happened upon Checkpoint Charlie, which doesn’t really exist anymore, only in a reconstruction which doesn’t even resemble the original. So, really, kinda lame. I didn’t even get to meet Charlie.

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With no particulars in mind, and our original itinerary exhausted in the first two hours due to faulty map scaling, we just continued to walk, for a few miles until we happened upon a great doner kebab restaurant.

For those of you who don’t know what a doner kebab is, it’s basically like a gyro in a pita pocket. And it really hits the spot after three miles of walking.

…so afterwards, we walked the three miles back to the Brandenburg Gate.

At this point, it was getting pretty dark, and we were treated to a sight we weren’t even aware of: Berlin’s Festival of Lights. Basically what happens is that every monument in Berlin is illuminated in bright, garish colors, making the entire city look like a tacky Caesar’s Palace.

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The side effect that the Festival of Lights had on our group was that it drew attention to a large pillar-like monument down the street from the Brandenburg Gate. We figured that such a short walk wouldn’t hurt us any, and decided to check it out.

Y’know how “Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear”?

This was the exact opposite. The corridor of trees and roadway provided the illusion of a 5 minute jaunt, whereas reality provided us with a 40 minute trek.

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40 minutes and lots of incredulous complaining later, we reached what we found was the Victory Column. To be honest, I don’t really remember what it was for, but I’m pretty sure it was made from stolen French gold, as probably everything in Germany is. Actually, we walked for so long, we may have actually been in France.

Thoroughly exhausted, we trekked the extra 2 kilometers back to the hostel and collapsed before our feet exploded.

Next: Day 2 – Museums and “Alternative Rob”

Achtung, Babies,
Ganesh


Prague, Czech Republic – “Holy shit, dude. Is that Aziz Ansari?”

Prague is a hell of a city.

Of course, there they speak Czech, the first language I’ve seen that I’ve been completely unfamiliar with.

Anyone remember that episode of Batman: The Animated Series where Bruce Wayne wakes up and his parents are alive and somebody else is Batman and the only way he can figure out that it’s a dream is because he can’t read anything because all of it is gibberish?

That’s what waking up in Prague is like. Regardless, I managed to find my way around.

My usual strategy in most cities has been to take the free walking tour to get to know the city first. This time, I got in an hour too late and missed the tour, so I had to go to my back up plan, which is “wander around like a confused asshole”.

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In most cities this tends to work, but Prague is fairly large, and my plan fell apart almost instantly. Despite this, I managed to get at least a decent look at the old town, which is covered in beautiful old buildings that were spared from bombings during the war, since Hitler loved the place.

Well, if it’s good enough for Hitler…

By night I returned to my hostel and joined a group of Aussies for a drink and dinner. The entire night was spent quoting old Simpsons episodes, including the one where Bart defrauds Australia.

During our time at the hostel bar, three guys wandered in to use the bathroom. As they closed the door I heard the unmistakable sound of “Holy shit, dude. Is that Aziz Ansari?”

They came out and asked if they could take a picture, I said “Not unless you buy me a beer.”

Yeah, I know how to do business.

I managed to catch the free tour the next day and was treated to a whole bunch of Prague’s sights that I managed to miss on my unfocused rambling. These included the astronomical clock tower, the oldest synagogue in Europe and a bunch more beautiful buildings.

During the tour, I met up with Alex, a dude I met one month ago at the pub crawl in Dublin. To keep our streak alive, we signed up for the Prague pub crawl, too. Which started at 8:30 in an abandoned church.

The most striking feature of the bar was not the fact that it was in an old church, but the fact that they had Stalin’s giant head in their foyer.

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It’s been stained white and red with what I can only hope is paint.

The bar also featured lit candles all along the side of the steps, which I believe is a bad decision when you know your patrons are going to be drunk and soaked in alcohol.

Aside from the two hour open bar, we played a bit of beer pong on the church’s original beer pong table.

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During the night I was treated to a surprise appearance from an old friend.

“Ca va, Sebastian?”
“Oui, ca va. Et toi?”
“Oui, ca va bien.”

I don’t really remember the rest of the pubs we went to.

…not because I was drunk. I wasn’t. But because they were just generic clubs that I can’t be bothered to place.

What I do remember was the bunch of rowdy Irish dudes we hung out with. Their first words to me were, “You look like that guy from Scrubs! Jesse Eisenberg’s friend from 30 Minutes or Less!”

That one got me a free Jagerbomb.

One of the Irishmen, Kevin, keep telling people it was my 21st birthday. So I got a bunch of free hugs.

When that got old, Kevin started telling people it was my 22nd birthday.

Another one of the lads, who looked just like a giant teddy bear, was insistent that I reminded him of his friend Tony, except I “wasn’t an arsehole”.

The last club we went to hit me like a ton of bricks. Not in a good way.

The air was so oppressive and saturated with what I assume was blood, sweat and tears, that I just couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was walking into an armpit.

I headed out with Alex and we joined a group of four Australian girls who were cold, hungry, lost, and in need of “Macca’s”, which is what Australians call McDonald’s because Australians are weird.

Apparently, they were staying in my hostel right next door, which I found absolutely astounding since I had never seen them before. One of them looked remarkably like Cobie Smulders, but I didn’t tell her that because what kind of loser tells other people they look like sitcom stars?

So, imagine to yourself Robin Scherbatsky and Tom Haverford wandering aimlessly through Prague looking for a “Macca’s” and you pretty much have my night.

Being the only sober one in the bunch, I managed to get us all safely back to the hostel, like the proverbial boss.

The last day was a lazy day. I got the hostel’s All You Can Eat Breakfast Buffet where I attempted to make my own pancakes: an operation that ended in tears. Afterwards, I just hung out in the room for hours and talked with Zoe (she has an umlaut over the e, but I don’t know how to do that), who’s probably reading this right now. After covering over a hundred or so nerdy subjects, we tagged up with Ana, from Texas, and headed down to Prague castle, the largest castle in Europe. The views you get from the top are absolutely fantastic. I’ve been talking for a while, so I’ll shut up now and let you look at the pictures.

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After a spot of dinner and failing to find a local drink known as “hot wine”, Zoe, Ana and I met back up in the Hostel’s Game Night Charades Championship. My and Zoe’s team, the unfortunately titled “Foreign Prostitutes”, swept the game with an enormous lead. Afterwards, I was asked whether or not I’d ever seen the show “Parks and Recreation”. I didn’t charge for that one.

After hours of post-game talking and Facebook friending, I headed to bed at 2 o’clock, determined to get a few hours of sleep before my 6:30am train to Berlin.

I woke up at 9.

Well, shit.

Next: Berlin!

Actually,
Aziz Ansari