Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Adventures of Rosetta Stone aka Emily Ross

So I am finally recovering from exhaustion after weekend in Berlin. And by finally recovering, I mean I hope I don't almost fall asleep every 3 minutes by tomorrow morning.

That clearly did not go well as I fell asleep shortly after I wrote that. Anyways,  now I am feeling much more rested and am stoked to have the day off. Getting prepared for Katie and Rob to come this weekend, which is super exciting especially as it's supposed to be sunny (read: sunny but not warm).

So my biggest news is that I went to Berlin for 4 days this past week. Katreace and I left Malmo on Thursday to go to the city of currywurst and poor English. We arrived quite late at night and caught a combination of S-Bahn and U-Bahn into the city. We met some nice British fellows who had been to Berlin before and helped us find our way - which was quite convenient as they were basically heading to the same area of the city as us. We were in the "mitte" region also known as the middle section, quite near Postdamer Platz and the TV tower. Our hostel was a little sketchy looking at first as it was in a random run down looking building. But once we got up to the third floor, where the hostel was housed, the place was quite cute and homey. It also helped that the staff were nice and there was always some sort of treat (biscuits or chocolate) out for our consumption. We then set out to find some food at 12:00am which wasn't hard to do as Berlin is truly the city that never sleeps. We found a shwarma place on the block, were appalled by the low cost of delicious roast meat, then hit the hay.

Day 2: we went for a 3.5 hour free walking tour of Berlin. It was neat to see all the history that we clearly wouldn't have on our own. Of course we hit all the hot spots like the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, and Holocaust memorial. So. Many. Photo. Ops. It was funny as all the other tourists (from Britain, Spain etc.) were complaining how cold it was but we were stoked on the fact we didn't have to wear gloves! After this, we went to the main, famous shopping street near the zoo and partially destroyed church. The shopping wasn't that great as all the stores were basically repeated every block. H&M, Zara, C&A. Repeat. There was a cool department store that reminded me of Harrods but the security guard gave me a nasty look when I tried to go inside with my food. Oh well. Also! While we were walking down this street, we recognized people speaking Swedish. It was really rather amazing that we were able to pick that up, but it sure made us happy. After a long long day of walking, we headed back to the hostel to make some dinner and get ready for our first pub crawl. We ended up going with 3 Brazilian girls from our hostel to the 666 Anti-Pubcrawl. I know, it sounds scary. Basically it just takes you to pubs that aren't super main stream or that you would never find on your own aka crazy clubs. We went to a Ping Pong club, a Goth Club, an unidentified club and some more crazy spots. It was super fun due to the oddity of it all. We also met some cool girls from NYU who were studying in Prague as well as some Liverpoolians. The NYU girls were the one who dubbed me Rosetta Stone as I was able to translate any and all broken English. It was amazing. I think they'll probably remember me forever. All and all a good night when you consider we were dancing with people wearing gas masks. Here we were also informed that basically no one pays for transit in Berlin...and if you do, the lady gives you "special price". So confusing, so awesome.

Day 3: After breifly nursing our hangovers, we were up and at 'em quickly the next day. First stop was the Jewish Museum. It was a really cool building that combined a newly modern one with a Baroque one. It also was super interactive and we learned lots. Yay for museums. Then we went on a search for the painted section of the Berlin Wall which Google totally lied to us about. Instead we found the Charlottenburg Castle which was equally beautiful at sunset. We still were determined to find the wall so we roamed the streets looking for English speakers. Most Germans pretend to speak English so it's a lost cause, but a hilarious one at that. At an Internet Cafe, the man there finally resorted to speaking in "English" to us after he deciphered that we didn't speak Russian, Italian, or Spanish. Basically the conversation went like this:
 Us: We are looking for the Berlin wall that is decorated by artists.
Man: What?
Us: Berlin Wall. With paintings...
Man: Ahhh! The Nazi's (fighting type motions)
Us: Umm...sure. Where is it?
Man: We don't care about the wall. It fell.
Us: Okay...
Man: Where are you from!?
Us: Canada and Australia.
Us: Ha yeah, it's pretty cool. So where is the wall?
Man: So interesting. Canada AND Australia.
Us: Okay well thanks anyways. (Abruptly leave)

We decided to cut our losses at the point as the sun was starting to go down and we were in a strange part of the city without a wall. We also had another pub crawl on our horizon. After getting back to the hostel, we had a quick nap (aka kip, it's the new word for it). It was nice to take a rest and then get some food. We then headed to a bar called Zapata where we kicked off evening two. Free beer and jager shots looked like they would spell out a good night (even though there was a disproportionately high number of Edmontonians). We went to some cool spots ending with this huge club called Matrix. It had like 3 rooms each with a different theme and all with outrageous go-go dancers. We met people from London, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, and more. It was all and all awesome. And we didn't get home until 10am. Thanks Berlin, for the sleep deprivation.

Day 3: We washed up, ate some breaky, and headed out for another day. Kicking exhaustion and weird foot retardations (walking around a city in boots is not the most ergonomically correct), we walked up to Mauer Park for a HUGE flea market. Of course, we again got lost, but truly experienced the streets of Berlin. Once there, we were appalled by the amount of sweet stuff there. Hipsters would freak out. Majorly. So much vintage leather, fur, sunglasses and more! I bought a couple necklaces, a bell for my bike (whooo) and a german flag patch to add to my collection. After this, approximately 24 hours after the first venture, we went and found the Berlin wall. It was actually the easiest thing to find ever, kind of embarrassingly so. Oh well. We can blame it on being tired. We ran into Gui who is also studying in Malmo and took some opportune photos. Cute. We then continued on our journey back to our hostel for another quick kip before dinner. We went to this Vietnamese restaurant near by and it was amazing. It was like 20 euro for two entrees, drinks, and appies. And it was delicious. And it satisfied my Asian food hankerings. We ate happily then went outside where we found a photo booth and took some hideous photos. Ahh memories. Back to the hostel we made some tea and chatted with our fellow hostel-ers. Very cool to hear their stories. After that we hit the hay pretty hard as we had to be up at 4am. Though this was the case, we were woken up at 1am by our roommates. Thanks guys!

Day 4: Waking up in the darkness, we got our bags together and stumbled towards the first Schoenfeld Express Airport Train. Arriving in a timely fashion, we met Gui again who was on our flight. Safe to say we slept for most of this and were overjoyed to touch back down in our beloved Scandinavia. Arriving back at Malmo Central Station at about 9:15am, I biked as fast as I could home to drop off my stuff and grab some food. I was out the door at 9:50am for 5 hours of class. Glamorous life of an exchange student indeed.

Now I'm sitting in my room being lazy as all get out. Off to a Swedish school this afternoon to chat with some kids and eat some Swedish treats. Yum! Then a big weekend with my besties Kat and Rob. Hurrah!

Facts of funnnessss!

1. Swedes apparently have better English than a lot of the rest of Europe because all of their TV shows are subtitled in Swedish instead of dubbed in. Amazing.
2. Germans all pretend to speak English. You ask them, they nod and look confused. Then proceed to have no idea what you are saying. At least they try though and give you random discounts on train tickets.
3. We had another nude model this week in drawing class. It was a lady. Heehee.
4. It's almost consistently above zero now. I am excited. And it's supposed to be sunny. I don't know how I am containing myself.
5. This is the longest blog post ever.


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