Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back from Paris and back in Bergen

The rest of my travels in Germany from Munich to Berlin were great! My most enjoyable time in Germany was in Munich. The last time around I went to a couple of Bayern games with Emily, Shantell's friend from Denver, to watch FC Bayern beat AC Milan on the first evening. The seats were kind of high up, but we still had a great angle to see everything happening during the game. I like to think that there is no such thing as a bad seat for a soccer game unless you have to sit on one of the end zones. On the second day there was no confusion meeting up with Emily, and this time her boyfriend Balagz was also there. A bit later a friend of his also showed up to join us at the game. It was really fun getting to know all of them at the same time, and even though Bayern lost that game we still had a good time just hanging out with one another. I was not really able to hang out with some of the kids that I wanted to see before leaving from the Munich program, but we at least were able to speak for a little bit. The only other "major" thing that I did before leaving Munich for Berlin was buying my Lederhosen and Hemd. I went to a couple of other places to have a look at what they had, even potentially buying something, but the service I found at some of these places were just terrible. I did not even receive a hello, just a disturbed 'what the hell are you doing here shopping' glance. Not even a glare, just a quick glance. At the same time they had only one old guy working upstairs in the men's department, meanwhile they had about 8 women helping downstairs with 2 customers. Makes sense right? I just went back online to find a place to buy my Lederhosen where they would actually provide some customer service, because I had no idea how the Lederhosen should fit and look on me. So I finally found 'Trachten Rausch' on Google and the woman there was able to help me find everything that I needed! Finally! It cost me a pretty penny to get everything, but it was important to me to get it all this time around. Plus, it's not something that I need to re-buy year after year. These should last me at least 4 to 5 years before thinking bout having to buy a new pair. Might even wear them to my wedding one day :) in the Allianz Arena with the reception taking place at the Tribuehne in Stusta... haha... the dream lives on. But I was REALLY excited to finally get my Lederhosen before Oktoberfest. The next day I left Munich to head out to Berlin. The worse train ride is definitely from Munich to Berlin, and mind I that I've been on a LOT of train rides from Germany to Norway to the UK and this is the worse. Takes about 6 hrs of just doing nothing and then having to go through rainy east Germany is no picnic. Once I finally got to Berlin, the weather was really crappy, but the hostel was perfectly located next to the two best fast food stops Berlin has to offer. I would even say that Germany/ Europe has to offer. I just stayed in for the rest of the day in my 6 bed hostel room. The other kids that I met that evening were two girls from the UK who told me a bit about the others in the room. All in all, the kids who I met there were normal... at least compared to my Amsterdam experience. But that is not a very good standard as to judge people by, because by that standard the people of Derby are supermodels and philosophers. They kept to themselves and didn't try to rape me in my sleep or when I fake sleeping, and I was able to get  a full night's of sleep for all three nights without getting pissed off. The only annoying kids in my room were the French kids who were from Lille and smelled of booze, ass, and cheap cologne. One of the dudes was too frightened of the slightly cooler showers, so he decided that drenching himself with cologne would be a better choice. I really enjoyed my days though in Berlin though aside from the slightly smelly, but friendly, French kids. I went on 6k runs everyday through Brandenburg Tor, Tiergarten, and Potsdamer Platz. Around the British and then American Embassies to complete my halfway tour. During the day I just hung out downtown am Parisian Platz drinking my coffee and reading my book 'extrem Laut und unglaublich Nah.' Or hung out by the judisches Denkmal behind the American Embassy next to the Dunkin Donuts. I was also able to hang out with Anna from LC who was doing an internship in Berlin during the summer. We had dinner at this one burger joint in Ost Berlin which was really good, and then met up the following day with another American and two other friends that she met at her internship. Once I got back to the hostel later that day, I packed up the rest of my things and got ready for my trip to Paris with Elin.

Elin arrived in Berlin around noon on August 3rd, and then we headed to Brandenburg Tor where we had lunch before taking the bus out to the airport. The weather was nice and warm in Berlin... perfect travel weather! Once we got to the airport Elin ran straight for the Starbucks, haha. The trip to Paris was perfect and we made it to the hotel without a problem. The room that we had was facing the Eiffel Tower, even though we only saw about the upper third of the tower. The first night we went to a bistro to have pizza for dinner. The waiter was pretty interesting/funny and got lucky because we didn't know what the tipping etiquette was. After dinner we went to the Eiffel Tower and then walked across the street to Palais de Chaillot where we had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower on the warm summer eve. I was really happy to be able to take this trip with Elin, because this was our first 'vacation' together without the other working. The following day we went on a boat trip on the Seine, which was really nice to see a lot of the famous Paris sites without walking. And through-out the entire trip we were able to enjoy perfect weather while sight-seeing, and bad weather while we were inside eating/sleeping. A week in Paris is just enough time to get to see everything you want to see. Just remember to bring your European passport because if you're young enough the Louvre and the Palace at Versailles is free for you. Also remember that none of the Gypsies in Paris are deaf and mute, so don't give them money because they already get money from the government in many cases. And try not to spend money of the street venders selling miniature Eiffel Towers. Go to Disneyland if you have a chance, and remember that Paris isn't Germany, so order tap water when at Cafes because drinks (a can of soda) can cost you about 50% of your meal. Oh, and tip is ALWAYS included in the bill, Paris service tax law. Most importantly learn to enjoy yourself and don't feel like you have to see everything in one day, or else you will miss the point of being in Paris. The pictures tell the rest of the story!

Best Doener Shop, 'Mustafa's,' in Germany

A touch of class

Soviet WWII Denkmal

Walking through Tiergarten

View from Siegessäule


Prussian victory over France


Best Burger and Fries in Berlin

Brandenburg Tor

Haha, am Bahnhof picking up Elin

A tuna sandwich being eaten with knife and fork... Ugh, Europeans.

The main reason Elin came back to the mainland :D

Boat ride along the Seine

Symbolic of Russia's and France's friendship

Notre Dame!

Cool sandcastle building contest

What a French cappaccino looks like
At the Bistro for afternoon desert :)

Pommes des Tarte

Overpriced Crepe with Nutella

Tired Kenneth in front of Palace Invalides


Thomas Jefferson!

On the way up to the middle section of the Eiffel Tower

The Louvre
The Arc d'triumph

The Louvre!


At a Bistro ordering food after a long day at the Louvre

Palace at Versailles

Inside the Palace


So fancy!

Le Arc de Triomphe

Writing Postcards!
A sunny day! haha

In front of Jason Bourne's apartment!

L'arc la defense

Macarons :)

"I am John Michel Kane's assistant"

Pont Neuf

Kaiser Karl

Dirty City Pigeons

St. Michael
Amazing talent

In front of Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Champ de Mars


Airport in the morning