Today is Monday 19th March and on Monday 12th March we left Liverpool for Berlin. Not by plane, oh no, that would be too easy, but by train. And not just one train but three. The first, Liverpool to London, took 2 hours 8 minutes, the second, London to Paris, took 2 hours 16 minutes and the third, Paris to Berlin took 12 hours 40 minutes. Altogether the journey was almost 24 hours from leaving Gareth’s house to arriving at our hotel.
Travelling by train these days is considered second (if at all) to flying when it comes to leaving the UK, especially if you don’t live in London when jumping on the Eurostar in the morning could be your commute to work, so really speaking it was inconvenient for us to travel in this way. But it was an adventure and it has seasoned us for later train travel we will take in Southeast Asia.
I got terrible travel sickness soon after leaving Liverpool and I just felt that there was really no hope for me for the rest of the journey but it was mainly because we were sitting in seats facing the wrong direction so thankfully that was the only time I felt like I was going to puke up my guts.
The Paris to Berlin train was an overnight sleeper train. We had booked seats, as opposed to beds, in a compartment, something we started to regret quite quickly. When we arrived at our compartment we met Valentine who was to accompany us for the whole journey. Valentine was a French street performer with black choppy hair and dirty jeans. He lives in Berlin but had travelled to Paris to visit his girlfriend. I thought he was harmless enough, although he did talk to himself on a few occasions. Gareth was suspicious so naturally didn’t trust him. We both hardly slept a wink, mainly because we had to spend a few hours sleeping on the floor, which we took in shifts, while Valentine spread himself out across three seats for most of the night.
Berlin is a wonderful city. It is filled with history and culture and as Gareth is a first class war bore, it was his Mecca.
We visited the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gates, Checkpoint Charlie, the foundations of the old Gestapo headquarters (now a very informative museum) and, most importantly, sampled a few of the local beers.
We spent our first day trying to find a local pub that was JUST a pub not some restaurant with a beer sign outside (which was pretty much all of the time), alas it was not meant to be. A quick search online the next day told us that Berlin actually wasn’t all that great for pubs compared to the beer capital Munich but there were a few gems to be found in East Berlin. And they were right.
I could spend the next 20 minutes telling you all about the beers we sampled (which was my full intention), but as I write this I am actually sat in a beach-side bar on Koh Samui in Thailand and I really couldn’t be more lazy right now. Instead take a look at these lovely pictures of beer:
One thing I will take from Berlin is my newfound obsession with Currywurst. This is a Berlin speciality that quite simply is a chopped up sausage with a tomato-curry sauce over the top. I’d heard of this most intriguing dish before we’d arrived so I was on the lookout for it straightaway and it didn’t take long to find some takeaway selling it. There is a German bakery down the road from where we are staying on Koh Samui, and they only bloody do Currywurst! I am in actual heaven right now.
Below is a picture of a Currywurst that I tried at a Currywurst Express in Alexanderplats Station in Berlin. What do you think?
We left Berlin for Bangkok on Thursday evening by plane, something I thought I would never do being petrified to fly, but I did it. I DID IT!!! Although with a little help from my friends Red Wine and Cognac… I really feel that I have conquered my fear, so much so that we are discussing flying from Koh Samui (an island in South Thailand) to Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand), our next destination.
Stepping off the plane the heat hits you straight away. Berlin was about 10 degrees while Bangkok is about 36. Everything was different, even the airport had a scent that you would only find in Asia. I think it was the smell of Thai food that travels with the breeze.
I want to take this opportunity to apologise for the lack of blog posts this last week. We have travelled for literally 48 hours in the past six days i.e. with our bums sat on a train, plane, bus or boat. It’s been tiring but I’ll tell you what, it is worth it.
So here we are, in Southeast Asia, and our journey really begins now.
Gareth and Jen x