Let's all now sit down and think: how would it feel to have you own space taken for 2 weeks straight? Sounds like a very negative introduction to saying that we had 2 weeks of friends visiting Meike and I in Germany, eh? No way! I loved it! Who needs time alone when you can have time saturated by people that make you laugh? Not me :-)
The first week was with Mike Brand and Luke Armstrong; I use full names there for clarity since we had so may people visiting us, don't wanna' confuse you. The main activity was walking tours of Berlin, followed by ice cream at Potsdamer Platz. Oh man, those are so damn good! We went there 4 days in a row. It was to the point we started recognising the waiters (and them us). Luke likes ice cream somewhat. Berlin walking tours are well done. They offer free 3.5 hour tours with very interesting and entertaining tour guides, all in English (or other if you want). It's a voluntary donation type of set-up, so they work hard for their money. You walk over Hitler's bunker at one point, which today is a car park. Yup, that's it. It's all gone, buried, erased. Our tour guide thought this was the most appropriate memorial to the Nazis leader: nothing, all gone, a simple parking space under a tree.
Far far more impressed was Luke with visiting the Penis Tower, Teufelsburg. We rode there, satisfying his need to ride around Europe, then explored with torches. Mike and I were thoroughly amused at Pookey freaking out at the sound of creaking door hinges and spooky wind noises. "Come on guys, I heard something!! Eeeeek!!!" We, of course, went all the way up the shaft to the top. This time, however, the door at the top was jammed shut! Luckily, Sam was there to ninja his way through the small gap between the frame and the buckled iron door to kick it open from inside. Mike and Luke were suitably impressed; climbing skills: I has dem. The echoes up top were impressive as always. All in all, it was a highlight for Luke I think. Who doesn't enjoy breaking in somewhere they're not allowed? The highlight for everyone else was later that night watching Luke see Zero Punctuation for the first time - I've never heard someone laugh that loudly for that long.
Every morning we slept in and every night we played Warcraft III, like the nerds we are. It made the days seem balanced somehow. When you are stimulated with so many new things, you appreciate the simple and familiar things after to relax again. So that was Mike and Luke's visit: walking about Berlin, all the norm really. He had a nice time. I would happily have those blokes live with me full time. It reminded me of my time living at Bananahome with Mike and Kate. *Sam reminisces with smile on his face* - aaaah... Next!
Next we had 4 Aussies: Emma, Brendonna, Mel and Kelly-Maree. You know how small Meike's room is? Would you think 6 people would be able to share it + our single, tiny bathroom? Factor in Dani and we have 5 girls and 2 guys lining up every morning to shower. Some of us are fast while others are a little slower than I'd consider considerate. Grumble grumble, now to the fun parts: Emma - She was truly a highlight of the visit, so I am forced to tell this story... One morning The girls were trying the scales in our bathroom when we all heard a "WHAT!?" ring out. A little later Emma was sitting at the end of the bed looking sad, and asked: 'why did I gain 5 kg in 10 days?' (while eating a jumbo Toblerone). Brendon, Meike and I nearly wet our pants from laughter.
Meike and I dumped them in the Checkpoint Charlie museum for an hour and sat in Starbucks chatting. When they emerged I heard someone ask: 'So why was there a wall again?' - dear lord... The pattern was that the Aussies do walking tours during the day, then we all meet up later for whatever it was. *Sam makes a thinking face* ... Nope, can't remember what we did. I do remember that Meike sewed up Kelly's bag one morning, and we all laughed at Emma a lot. But apart from that, it's all a blur of laughing loudly and having fun doing normal stuff. We gave them pick-pocket warnings, then the girls left for Croatia. Brendon stayed longer and was joined by Fletch and we regained our bathroom access again! Rejoice! While Fletch and Brendon were with us we visited the Olympic stadium pool. It was raining and cold, so we had the entire thing to ourselves! It had a kind of non-tourist feeling, in that we felt like locals. It was really fun to watch people completely screw-up dives off the 1 m board, hehe! The last time we saw Fletch was when he tried to ride the giant Lego Giraffe at Potsdamer Platz. After that he disappeared... (the story continues).
On the very last night that Brendon stayed with us we had a huge giggle: He was mistaken for a burglar! Brendon came home at 4 am and fumbled with the door keys loudly and for long enough to alert our neighbours. Coincidentally only 2 weeks prior, an Asian bloke tried to break into someone's house in our building. Thinking that he was back, the old lady alerted the building and some very concerned men with bed posts came running up to Meike's aid. Luckily, Brendon made it inside before they got there. When they rang her bell, Meike was tempted to tell them: 'Yeah, the burglar is in my shower right now.' Good to think that your neighbours are that nice to rush to your aid at the first hint of trouble. Perhaps all Germans think Asian's are robbers now. Giggle! The next day the story continued (while we were in Zürich house hunting). Fletch partied-on well after Brendon gave up and came home; he somehow let his adventures extend further than time permitted (his train's boarding time). Basically, he stayed out partying until 18:00 when he was meant to depart for Amsterdam at midday with Brendon. Half of that 2-person train-wreck-of-a-plan was understandably pissy.
Just some updates on where I am at the moment; I'm very busy getting ready for moving to Zürich but still having many small adventures all the while. I posted my signed work contract, so I guess that means I'm a regular upstanding member of the community now. Meike still has some funny ideas about what sharing the bed means, but I laugh anyway. Hanging around home with Dani is as fun as always. She has been trying to motivate herself to study for her final exam, but ends up just watching Gilmore Girls DVDs instead. Dani had a little coffee mishap in the kitchen, hehe! While coming home from diving one day Meike spotted an interesting poster; we thought Trieste should join them! Lastly, a little list of Berlin oddities I noticed of late: