Monday, September 29, 2008

En-route to Lauterbrunnen

We stopped off at Lucerne on the way to Lauterbrunnen (we're in Switzerland now guys..try and keep up yeah?) As usual we got taken to a purveyor of fine goods - this time Harry's Swiss Watch shop where we finally spent some cash and bought the man a Swiss watch and army knife. Then we went to see the Lion Monument which was pretty cool. The monument was erected in reference to the French Revolution and shows a sad looking lion on a French and a Swiss guard shield and the lion has been stabbed in the back. The story goes that at the time of the French revolution the Swiss guards were guarding King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and when they realised they were being invaded they fled to their summer palace and 'forgot' to tell the guards. So when the revolutionaries stormed the palace the Swiss guards protected it with their lives and about 600 of them were slaughtered (my notes said 80..wikipedia said 600). The monument obviously represents the french 'stabbing the Swiss in the back'. The Swiss gates in Paris represent the same thing.

After the lion we went to a Swiss chocolate shop to keep me quiet. It worked. Yum!

- Jen

Florence - Oh please god not another Autogrill

We stopped off at another autogrill and I swear I can't eat anymore of this terrible food. White bread is awful! So I had a chocolate bar and a slightly above average (for Europe) coffee. We arrived in Florence and went to a leather and jewellery place, called Leonardo's where they taught us how to spot fake leather. The guys said dodgy leather guys will tell you things like real leather is fire proof and then wave a cigarette lighter over it. Then he pointed out (in his thick Italian accent) that cows aren't fire proof. Good one Italian guy.

There was some nice jewellery but a little out of our price range and also not a priority. Some of the others got some nice stuff though. Then it was free time until a walking tour later in the arvo. We ended up going to see the statue of David. Well the boys did. We lined up for ages and then Kara and I ducked off to the toilet and when we came back the queue had moved and the guys got an audience with Dave and we missed out. I was a bit cheesed off because they said it was really good. But it was €10 each anyway. We missed the walking tour because of David. But walked around with Geoff and saw all the same stuff anyway AND we got gelato. We met up with the rest of our tour after and went back to the campsite.
There was really big cabins which is good for couples. The man is really sick at the moment but we had our big tuscan dinner on which we'd already paid for. The place we were staying at had a pool so we had a dip (alright, the man had a dip and I stuck a toe in). Then the man went and had a nap while I had some large cheap Peroni beers with Geoff and the others as he was entertaining on his verandah. The Peroni longnecks were only €3.50! We headed off for our tuscan dinner which was average and not worth the €27.50 a head we paid. It was antipasto, pasta, chicken dishes and a dessert I couldn't fit in.
After dinner we went to the 'red garter' an American bar. But the man looked truly awful, I felt so bad for him being so sick. Meanwhile the others had ordered a 'tower of beer' - 3.5 Litres of Heineken. After Peroni, Heineken tastes like wee, so I wasn't much help drinking it. Actually Heineken tastes average most of the time anyway. Back to the campsite we went and there was another rendition of 'living on a prayer', then the man staggered off to bed. I went and had a beer and played some pool with the others.
Up early the next morning for a semi average breakfast. There was cold milk (yay!) but plastic cutlery. I give up. Off to Switzerland now.

- Jen

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day R for Rome

Caught bus to urban train station, then switched at Valle Aurelia, changed at Termini and then got off at Colosseo. Had our imperial walking tour, saw the colesseum and the forum which was fantastic. Met up with rest of the group and caught metro to The Vatican. Was starting to get a teensy bit peckish. Got into Vatican with no queue, walked through the museum with sistine chapel at the end. I thought every room was the sistine chapel, the ceilings were amazing. On..and on it went. Getting very hungry by now. Finally we got to the chapel and I think we were all amazed out. Just didn't have time to appreciate it all fully. Mecha had worded us up about a 'group entrance' into St Peters so you don't have to line up to get in. We bunched together (7 makes a group surely!) and snuck past the guards who had busted a guy tagging onto a tour group. Even though we were all famished St Peters was worth it. Saw all the dead popes including Pope John Paul II. He has a much bigger space than the others and there was a girl kneeling down and praying at his tomb.

We left in search of food (after 3pm by now) and went right off the square and found a little place. The man and I were hanging out to try some decent pasta. The cranky fat Italian lady shouted at us 'PIZZA! PASTA!' so we all shouted back 'PASTA!' Poor Geoff is a vegie and didn't know what he'd get. We tried to order dishes individally but ended up with two trays, one ravioli and one spag. Everything was covered in parmesan, but I was too hungry to care. The man was quite distressed about the small amount of food and large amount of bread. Free bread right!

We waited for the bill. They'd charged us what we'd asked for, individual plates just not what they'd given us. Then they'd also charged us €7 for BREAD they put on the table after we arrived. Geoff and I were of the opinion we would pay for what we thought was right and not give these Italian pirates anymore than we had to. However the rest of the party went for sucking it up and paying. Although Geoff ended up taking the rest of the loaf with him and we didn't tip. Paying for the most expensive bread in the world that we didn't ask for is enough of a tip!

We finally found an ATM that would give us cash (had tried 5 the day before which were all empty). Headed towards a metro station and got gelato on the way (yay for gelato!), figured out our trains, did all the switcheroos then hopped on the train for our campsite. Except the train didn't stop until three stations past ours. In the middle of nowhere! There were haybales!

All we could do was laugh. What a day! Hopped back on a train going the opposite way and after a few nailbiting moments celebrated getting lost-ish and finding our way back. Dinner was alright and then we went and had a few quiet drinks. I hung out with the girls and straightened my hair for the group photo the next day. In the morning - warm cornflakes then off to Florence.

- Jen

Road to Rome (content may shock parents)

As I said at the end of my last post we were on the road to Rome. The man and I and Kara and Paul were in the front seats of the bus. I think I'd just put my notebook down (no I don't just remember all this stuff in my head) and along with the man was watching the road in front as we were getting close to Rome. Rocket, our driver is fantastic, very confident etc. He usually gets quite close to cars, then zips around them. So this time I figured the same thing was happening, his indicator was on - ready to zip. Except 18 tonnes of us kept getting closer..and closer..and closer to this little fiat punto until everyone shouted (SHIT!). Well not me. I said poo.

Rocket braked and we 'gently nudged' them..and their back windscreen exploded. At first it looked like the car was going to hit the divider but the driver corrected luckily. We both pulled off the road. Adrenalin like you would not believe! Everyone (except Rocket) was very shaky. He got off, cool as a cucumber - except for the fact he'd finished his first cigarette by the time he got to their car. The couple were fine, an old man and lady. They were both out of the car and walking around - pretty much doing starjumps. Then we had to wait an hour and a half for the police and ambos because all of the sudden the lady decided she was a paraplegic.

Sorry..she might have been really hurt but the injury happened after they realised a bus full of tourists hit them. We ended up switching coaches down the road and made it into Rome with only 2 hours before we were getting picked up again. Bit disappointing but oh well.

Quickly saw the Cappuchin Monks, Trevi Fountain (which was amazing), Pantheon and Piazza Di Nova and then quickly off to find some dinner. Fluked another amazing pizza place and again got an awesome meal. To quote the man 'everything has so much flavour'. Met up with the rest of the tour and Rocket and our poor bus which was a bit dented. Headed back to campsite expecting terrible things because Rome is supposed to be the worst contiki place. It was pretty good! Wood cabins for two, pizza restaurant, cheap bar / supermarket and internet. Oh and they do laundry for cheap too! Yes - they do it for you!!

Had a few quiet ones then bed. Got up for warm milk and cornflakes and unripe nectarine.

Continued next post

- Jen

V - for Venice (part due)

Satisfied after our lunch we headed back to S.Marco (following the brilliant signs again). Lined up to get into St Marks Basilica for only about 10 minutes which was great. Pretty amazing place with all mosaic tiles. Couldn't go too far in, for each separate area you had to pay extra. Paul and I went up the Campanile (bell tower) while the man, Kara and Geoff waited at the bottom. Took a squillion photos but it was so crowded up there. One thing I've started to notice is how pushy people are. Even some people on our tour. After we got down we found some of our group under attack by pigeons at the bottom, and every time they sat down the Polizei came and moved them on. Paul and I went in search of ice creams (we missed out while we were up the campanile) and found Les and Tylie instead. So we went off hunting champers for the gondola ride. Found some but decided we'd actually buy it closer to the time. The man had asked me to get him a drink and I had so much trouble finding somewhere that would serve me. One place just ignored me. Ran into the rest of our group who were frantically looking for alcohol for the ride. We stupidly told them about our goldmine and when we got back of course the place was packed. Eventually got everything, minus the ice cream. Headed off to our gondola ride. The stupid guy at the bar had said we didn't need a corkscrew for our drink and of course we did. So we were frantically trying to both get on the boat and get one of the guys in our group to open it. Just in time. Our g-man was a real smooth operator. Very good looking and so smooth he talked us into tipping him to sing. The ride went for about 30 minutes which was quite good. Meanwhile on another gondola a couple in our group got engaged!

We caught the scarfie back which was packed with belligerent poms - very pushy people. Poms don't include the Welsh of course (phew..covered myself there).

I felt like throwing them all in the canal. Back to camp for some stinky parmesan covered spag bol for tea. Oh - the man is finally sick. The bug must have turned into some super mega strain of flu just for him.

On way to Rome now!

- Jen

Day V - For Venice

Campsite was average, if you were camping though it would be pretty flash so we didn't mind it too much. Internet at the 'bargain' price of €4 for 15 minutes and washing at €4 for a wash and €4 euro for dry. So you will have to excuse the update lag as I have been expressly forbidden going near the internet here. We did have to get another mortgage on our house to do some washing though. I had to get up at 6am, put on the washing, have a shower, put the washing on to dry, go and to dishy duty and then the man collected the washing on his way to brecky. What a team.

After brecky we hopped on a 'scarfie' and got ferried over to the city centre. It was funny how the water in Venice is just like a road, there are even power lines! We walked to St Marks Basilica, past the Bridge of Sighs (which was covered in advertising). Don't ask me what the advertising was for, I couldn't remember. Obviously not very effective.

After a quick look around San Marco we went and had a look at same glass being blown. Or as Mecha said 'lets go see a guy blow a horse'. After the glass making we had a few minutes so we went in search of some decent coffee. I ordered a cup from a place down some side alley which came out the colour of mud and so strong I couldn't finish it. Yay for coffee though.

Then we went to a venetian lace place and as much as I wanted to buy my Mum and Nan some nice things, we still had that mortgage from doing our clothes washing earlier. I did send you a postcard remember! As we'd been walking around I'd been comparing food prices. About €12 - €25 for pasta and between €8 and €16 for pizza. After the lace we were on our own but followed Mecha to a cheap sunglasses place. Well cheap designer sunglasses. Even minus tax cheap designer sunglasses are still designer sunglasses. I just want to be able to walk around Europe without squinting or looking like a bug (which is how I usually look in sunglasses).

We set off in a group of about 10 to the Rialto Bridge which was super easy to find even though Venice is all canals and alleys. You just have to search for the signs, either spray painted or scratched or even an actual sign pointing to your destination. Found the bridge then some awesome markets where we actually bought stuff! T-shirt for me, some paintings and some awesome fruit cups for €1.50. We were trying to save the cups for our gondala ride in the afternoon but they kept breaking (damn!). Started to get peckish so we headed down deep dark alleys away from people, I was guessing we'd either get pizza or pickpocketed. Yay for alliteration. On and on we went in search of the perfect pizza when we arrived on the door step of a little place called 'Bora Bora'. The waiters were funny, to start with they pretended they were closed. Very funny - ha ha. But I knew we'd struck gold when we had trouble getting a table because it was filled with italians and their families. Out came our pizzas, thin crust with just a hint of topping. I think mine was tomato and anchovies while the man's no doubt had prosciuttio somewhere. €43 for 4 people to eat including drinks and the service charge. Not too shabby! Service was unreal. Yes we tipped too.

Continued next post

- Jen

'Venus' via Sirmione

The trip to Venice (or Venus as I accidentally called it), was so, so long. About 4 hours without a break. We stopped in Italy at Sirmione for an hour on Lake Garda where I had some (alright - a lot) of rocher and nutella gelato. The man stuck to coke as he is an undiagnosed lactard.

Going to the toilet was an 'interesting' experience. They say on Contiki that things are not wrong, just different. Just a heads up Contiki, unexpected squat toilets are wrong.

Kara was right behind me but I had two litres of water inside of me and my bladder really didn't care too much what the toilet looked like. So it was off with my pants entirely and time to put those gym squats into practice. Italians must have awesome thigh muscles. On the plus side the toilet was free. Mecha reckons he spends $3k a year on going to the toilet!

Then back on the bus to Venice.

- Jen

White water rafting – In the Austrian Tyrol (M rated)

- Language warning: If you are offended by bad language don’t read on

We pulled up in a parking lot not too far away from Hoffy and all those rafting collected boots, wetsuit, life jacket and you will be pleased to know Mum, a helmet. We got our boats and guides – and helpfully, oars. Our guide was the Bernard Black of white water rafting, except from Cornwall not Ireland. ‘If you want a shite ride this is the boat’. The rapids were good but only a grade 2 out of 6, the whole thing was a lot tamer than I was expecting so I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I though I would. We did some jumping out of the boat into the glacial water. The first bit where we got in, the water was Tawonga-esque, freezing but you’d get over it. The next spot where I did a ‘salmon jump’ into the water was so cold I couldn’t breathe. Another river joins onto the one we were in just before I jumped in and that one is much closer to the glaciers. Colder than Rocky Valley for sure. The funniest bit was when we stole almost all the paddles from another raft and Geoff (who was in our raft), put on a pirate accent and yelled out ‘arrrgh now yer fucked’. Hilarious.

I did warn you about the language remember.

After we got back we had a quick bite to eat – frozen pizza which was a lot less average than most of our breakfasts but our breakfasts weren’t €4.90.

Now we are travelling through Italy on our way to Venice.

- Jen (photos of me in a helmet and wetsuit to come I'm sure).

Day H for Hopfgarten

Hopfgarten in the Austrian Tyrol is possibly the most beautiful place on earth. Words and photos will never ever come close to describing this place. Mountains and streams all over the place, and rolling bright green hills. Grass – what is that??

We arrived in Hopfgarten (Hoffy) at 10:30am and geared up for our 14 km bike mountain bike ride.

We got our bikes, which looked like the Rolls Royce of bikes compared to our ‘Subway Specials’ at home. The mountain bike ride was awesome through valleys that apparently look like the hills in the Sound of Music (which I haven’t seen), just unbelievable. We had a delicious BBQ lunch out on the terrace at a mountain lodge. Baked potatoes and sour cream and sausages, mustard and sauerkraut!!!! Oh and homemade chocolate cake!

After we rode back (luckily downhill after lunch), the man went paragliding (or parragliding as Mecha misspelt it). While he was away jumping off mountains I had the bike to myself for the rest of the afternoon so I went and had some JenTime™ and explored the rest of the town. I kept stopping every five seconds to take a photo, like I said photographs (especially those taken by me) will never do justice to how beautiful it was. Bought a postcard and went and had a coffee to sit down and write it. You can’t sit down at a table with pen and paper and no coffee. I tried to ask for skim milk and got a glass of water (some kind of language barrier there). Then I watched her make the coffee, she put my cup under a spout and pressed ‘cappuccino’.

After writing my postcard and sipping my undrinkable coffee I rode out almost to where we had lunch again (more photos).

Headed back to camp and caught up with Mr Adrenaline himself and Mr Anti-Adrenaline (Geoff). The man was pumped from paragliding and asked his instructor to make it as scary as possible whereas Geoff asked for the floaty smooth ride. Geoff was still pale and trembling slightly.

Dinner-time and the man was a dishy which meant he had to serve the food. Roast Lamb!!! Such a huge serve with roast potatoes and vegies and gravy!! Best meal so far! Average fruit salad for dessert but I was still on a high from eating meat.

Then the man and I went to bed. There was a party on but I think a lot of our group crashed out early.

Woke up, awesome brecky – about four types of cereal and cold milk. For the cooked breakfast types there was bacon (bacooonn!) and eggs. Then packed up and left for white water rafting and Venice!

- Jen

Monday, September 08, 2008

Munich - Prost!

We arrived in Munich about 2:30 and had a couple of hours to look around the city centre. Saw Frauenkirche which is a really interesting church. The story is that the builder made a deal with the devil that he would help him finish the church but it wasn't allowed to have any windows. So the builder finished the church but built it so when you stood from a certain point, pillars blocked the windows. Of course the devil is not that stupid and when he was doing final inspection noticed the windows and stamped his foot in the ground.

So the devils footprint is still in the floor and you can go and take an interesting photo (will upload when I get home). The man's foot fit perfectly of course, room for claws and all.

Then we went and looked at Peterskirche which was another church (yep another one), this one with mummified priests.

After that we picked up some postcards and went and watched the Glockenspiel go off. By then we were hot and tired and a seemingly endless dancing clock didn't do a lot for us. Headed back to hostel. The couples had finally figured out that if all the girls signed up for one room and all the boys for another, then we could pull a switcheroo and share two couples to a room. Don't ask why we didn't think of that three days ago. I'm not the scientist.

So Kara, Paul and the man and I shared a room. We showered (separately) in record time and then hopped on the bus for our beer hall night. Off we went for our pork knuckles and 1L steins of beer. PROST! One lederhosen wearing girl carried about 10 of those steins (more probably I'm being conservative). Later I managed three and impressed everyone thats how heavy they are. Alright..I impressed some of the girls.

Every second song the band played we had to stand (did I mention there was an oompa band?) and prost and sway and sing loudly and then PROST! everyone within arms reach. Or not within arms reach.

Prost! is like cheers. It was also Leslie's birthday (one of the guys in a couple) and things were starting to get messy right around stein #2. We were only at the place for 2 hours and 45 minutes and we drank 2 litres of beer each. Back on the bus everyone was in very high spirits. There was a lot of dancing (yes, on the bus) and Les provided everyone with a very lively rendition of 'living on a prayer'. There was a nightclub in the basement of our hostel which I checked out quickly and then headed to bed. The man and Paul stayed out a bit later though.

Awesome night!! PROSTACULAR!

However when we woke up the next morning we all got on the bus ready to go and Mecha pulled some of the girls in one room up for a missing key. So they got hauled off the bus. Then he asks room 349 to get off as well. Which was our room. Except it should have been full of girls. So four girls and two guys get off. I thought maybe we weren't allowed to switch rooms or something. Paul and the man were off the bus first and Mecha goes 'nah this was a girls room' and Paul pipes up 'nah mate this was our room'. The man looks at him meaningfully and goes 'oh yeah this WASN'T our room', and Paul goes 'what, bro it WAS our room' and then catches on. Funny stuff. Turns out they said we were missing a towel. So Mecha asks if any of us had stolen a towel or if maybe it was in our packs under the coach. Two of the girls had't even slept in that room! Kara was confident that the towels were definitely in the room so we go in, march upstairs collect all FOUR towels and come back down and pretty much throw them at the wanker on reception. I thanked him for holding us up (the whole bus was waiting on us). Definitely 'dick of the day'.

Next up - Hopfgarten!

- Jen


We were doing so well for time on the way to Munich that they found time to take us to Dachau concentration camp. Even as we were walking in everyone was silent. The entrance gate has the words 'Arbeit macht frei' or 'work will set you free'. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened in Germany after Adolf Hitler was appointed reich chancellor in 1933.

Dachau was a model concentration camp and served as a 'school of violence' for the SS. On April 29 1945 American troops liberated the remaining prisoners.

We only had an hour there and the man and I went left at the gates and ended up at churches that have been set up there since the camp closed. If we had of gone right we would have ended up at the death chambers. The chambers at Dachau weren't actually used but from the photos other people took it is still a creepy place and they did have executions there.

The size of the place was incredible. There were 20 barracks built to house 250 people but when the Americans liberated the camp there were about 1600 people crammed in each one.

We had time to quickly go through the museum but not enough time to absorb too much. I actually though the holocaust memorial in Berlin was worse. They had letters there from mothers to their children that they wrote on their way to Auschwitz.

Even so it looked like a few people were teary getting back on the bus. Now on way to Munich.

- Jen

Friday, September 05, 2008

Day [ ] - Red eyes, blue gaze

Prague to Munich.

Everyone is sick. Well everyone except the man. Obviously his body is so unhealthy even germs are frightened away. Contiki cough as they call it, is rampant. Kara is so sick she might even go to hospital when we get to Munich. I am almost through a large box of cold and flu tablets and just going to town on those. I also still have a large box of nurofen left. We haven't even been partying that much yet. A lot of the group went into Prague last night to a five storey nightclub. Its funny seeing the group splitting into party people, culture vultures and a mix of the two. Oh and the shoppers. The party people will party at any cost - even if they have to sleep during the day and miss seeing everything. The shoppers are the same, but they visit the shopping strips. We don't have too many culture vultures actually. The man and I fall somewhere in between culture vultures and party people. Which is the majority really.

Coming up next..a stop off at Dachau. Its dinner time and I only have 9 minutes left on the internet before the man comes and yanks me out of here by the ear.

- Jen

** Also...very average breakfast in Prague. Cornflakes with warm milk.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day??? Czeching out Prague...

By now you know I'm not that smrt. Hehe. Anyway you may have noticed I can't count. I don't know what day Berlin was but I don't think it was day 5. Meh. 

So we're in Prague. We arrived late afternoon and went up to Hradčany or Prague Castle (that's CARstle) which was amazing. It rained a little while we were there just enough for me to pull out my raincoat and then take it off again. Pretty muggy here.

Speaking of muggy, there are so many warnings about pickpockets around here we walked around all watching each other and side stepping everyone. After the castle we walked down through old town and had dinner in a side street NOT on the main square. And we still got ripped off. After our nice meal, beers and shared plate of deep fried cheese (god I hope my trainer isn't reading this) we got the bill and they slugged us an extra 300 czech doubloons or whatever the heck they are - for sitting outside. Oh and everyone got ripped off exchanging money too. 

Then we went back to the bus and out to the hostel - again split rooms but the girls I'm in with now are pretty quiet. Today was a completely free day for us because we were meeting up with my grandparents for lunch and not doing the optional cruise. So we slept in a bit and then caught the metro into the centre of Prague. What an experience! Nothing in English, well hardly anything. Very cool. Had breakfast at what I'm sure is the Czech version of Gloria Jeans. Had a pecan danish and a not too bad coffee. Yeah - danish for breakfast. Just walked around until lunch, up to the pendulum on the hill. There used to be a statue of Stalin up there but they took it down...for some reason. Then we met up with the grandparents and they shouted us a really nice lunch. It was really good to see them, and funny that its easier to meet up in Prague than Australia. 

We caught the metro back to our hostel and had a pizza and..more beer for dinner. Now I'm about to go to bed because tomorrow we head off to Munich - for more beer. Apparently if we have enough time on the way we're stopping off at a concentration camp. Sounds like if we're well behaved they will take us there as a special treat.

- Jen

Day 5 - Berlin

The trip was fairly un-eventful. We arrived in Berlin about 5pm and went to the holocaust memorial (memorial to the murdered jews of europe) which was pretty amazing. The man and I also had a quick look through the Tiergarten which is a huge garden that used to be the hunting grounds of nobility in Berlin. We also walked around the Brandenburg gate a bit too. We got to the hostel and they split boys and girls up - not cool. I think I might have known that was going to happen, but one couple didn't know and they weren't too happy. I was a bit bummed about it. Anyway after we got settled in we went down for dinner. Super very average. I ate two bites and then went and had a shower and chilled out a bit. By then I was pretty cranky. After my shower I headed up to the bar and it was pretty cool, 7th storey rooftop bar and nice weather. I wasn't in a drinking mood so had one and then did some washing and headed to bed early-ish. Everyone else was at the bar planning to have a few quiet ones but it turned into a huge night. The man and Paul were out until 3am until the bar shut. 

After a very average breakfast we headed out to meet our tour guide, Jeff for our walking tour of Berlin. I was really looking forward to it and I wasn't disappointed. We met at the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels forum and he gave us a quick overview of Berlin's history. First he showed us the old palace of the republic which was destroyed when the Communists came into power and rebuilt as a people's palace. It has now been destroyed again and when rebuilt will have the same facade as the original palace. We then headed over to 'museum island' which funnily enough is an island full of museums. The man was drooling just a little bit. We then walked down Unter Den Linden and saw Humboldt University, State Opera House and the site of the Nazi book burnings. There is a glassed underground exhibit visible from the ground with empty bookcases that hold 20,000 books - the number that were burned. We then walked pst the US, UK, Russian and French embassies and around the Brandenburg gate again and took photos of the Reichstag. We had a morning tea break and bought pretzels and my first decent coffee since I left Melbourne - both of which were awesome. We saw some more of the Berlin wall and the Nazi air ministry. There was a topography of terrors exhibit on the site of the old SS and Gestapo headquarters that we didn't get time to see. Some of the other people on our tour made it there and said it was very graphic and detailed. 

Our guide had lots of stories about people going over the wall, one guy got himself and his wife and kid over on a flying fox type thing. We walked over to Hitlers bunker, well the site of Hitlers bunker. There wasn't much there just a patch of dirt and a small sign. Jeff explained that because there are still neo-nazis the Germans don't want to make a song and dance about the bunker as an attraction in case it is treated as a memorial. Then we walked down to Checkpoint Charlie and heard some more stories. Like one guy rented a convertible low enough that it could be driven beneath the guard gates so he sped through in that. Another guy heard about it and though it sounded like a good idea so he went and rented one and did the same thing. Turns out it was exactly the same car. Went through the Checkpoint Charlie museum but it was very average. 

Afternoon was free time and I told the man we could go to one museum so we headed off to the Pergamom museum. On the way we stopped at a street market and bought some kind of delicious wurst in a crusty bread roll, proper german food boo-yeah! We both loved it. The museum was good although we were tiring fast. Saw the reconstructed Ishtar gate (one of the gates to the city of Babylon). We didn't get to fully appreciate the museum but it was pretty good anyway.

Weather so far has been brilliant, I was in shorts and t-shirt and for an eskimo like me thats pretty good. We went back to our hostel for a shower before dinner, well I did - the man went to bed for a bit. We met up again (separate rooms remember) and went to find some dinner and bumped into Paul and Kara who joined us. Had a 'furnace potato' with curry chicken which was pretty good. The man had a schnitzel the size of a large plate. 

After that we went to our 'eye spy' night. The first part was good we went to the Bernauer Strasse which was the area with the most number of tunnels dug, saw part of the death strip which was especially creepy at night. The actual 'spy' part was very lame. The first bar we went to we got clues to get to the next one. Except the clues were more like instructions. The first bar was a shisha bar - we didn't try it though. We were wrecked after that so left to go back to the hostel and of course got lost. Well semi-lost its a bit hard to get lost in Berlin with the massive tv tower. 

Bed, up early to head off to Prague. Another average brecky. Warm milk with very average cereal. 

After we left Berlin we went to Dresden for an hour or so which was nice. It was really beautiful but we didn't have time to look around too much. We went and got another wurst for lunch but not as good as the one we had in Berlin. I seem to have gotten over my fear of white bread - temporarily at least anyway. Followed it off with an ice-cream from possibly the rudest guy in Germany. 

In Prague now.

- Jen