(Psst, sorry some of you are seeing this twice. It’s not because it’s stellar. It’s because I’m writing it at midnight on VERY LITTLE SLEEP and when I hit “schedule” for Friday? WORDPRESS PUBLISHED THE DAMN THING. I know. So I yanked it, but not before it went to all of your inboxes and RSS readers like the busy little bee it is. Sorry for the confusion. If it helps, yesterday was deadline day at work, and also I’m totally winning my NCAA brackets at work so far. 12/12 correct picks! Tied with only ONE OTHER PERSON for first! I know. It’s all very exciting. I’m going to sleep now. Dreaming of kittens on rainbow unicorns. Zzzzz.)
I’ve been planning this for what seems like a YEAR but really isn’t a year because I have a penchant for exaggeration. WHAT NO NOT YOU AMY. Nope. It’s true. I totally exaggerate. I KNOW. Try to control your shocked faces.
See, the PROBLEM is, I wanted there to be PHOTOS, but I can’t FIND the damn things. And neither can my mom because I thought maybe the photos were at her house but she says they’re not. So apparently the photos were STOLEN BY A NE’ER DO WELL. I know! What the hell, ruffian? Stealing my photos! I’m pretty sure they were stolen by ninjas. Ninjas probably totally like photos. They probably use them to decorate the walls of their ninja pads where they go to kick it, ninja-style.
Am I the only person whose blog you read who doesn’t ever get to the point and just blathers on and on? Aren’t you the nicest for coming back despite all that? Aw, how much do I love your faces? The most, is how much.
Last week, Ken (who lives in Germany – I mean, it’s not like he lives in Maine or something, which I suppose would make this a LOT longer trip for him) announced to Twitter that he was going to Berlin. So I SARCASTICALLY (that’s my default, in case you weren’t aware) told him that, against his will, he was taking us all with us.
To my surprise, he not only AGREED he was doing so, he said he was planning on doing it ALL ALONG. So therefore he trickily evaded my plans to hitchhike along. Well-played, Ken. Well-played.
WELL! THIS was exciting. I mean, ok, listen. I live in what I am QUITE sure is the greatest area in all the land. I wouldn’t live anywhere else if you paid me. (OK, FINE, I might live in New York City. But you’d have to pay me a LOT, and also you’d have to make it so I didn’t have to work. Because if I live in New York City, I want to be a lady of leisure, and I want all the free time to attend all the Broadway shows, readings, and events. Also, to go out to dinner constantly. And gallivant. And be a gadabout. So, I think we can all agree it’s best I stay put in the BEST AREA IN ALL THE LAND.) (OH SHIT SIDE NOTE. I’d totally live in Rome. But it would be heartbreaking for me, because I love America. Sorry, sorry. MERKA I LOVE MERKA. But I ALSO love ROME. So much. I AM TORN.) BUT ANYWAY, I also love to travel. I, however, cannot, as I am quite poor. I mean, I CAN, a LITTLE, but not like a big fancy fancy person like Ken can. So as you can see, this was really a happy medium. I would get to go to Berlin! Only from my phone and computer! Very, very exciting!
Now, this is where I would tell you, I WENT TO BERLIN ONCE! And put in photos of adorable frazzle-haired much-more-naïve early-twenties Amy on Spring Break in the late 90s with her friends the semester she spent abroad. We went around Europe – let’s see if I can remember the stops, it’s been almost twenty years. We were living in London. We went from London, to Amsterdam, to Vienna, to Berlin, to Rome, to Paris, and back to London. I think. I don’t think I’m leaving anything out. In two weeks. It was INSANE. What were we THINKING? We traveled by plane in and out of London, only because it was insanely cheap for some reason, and by train the rest of the way. Many, many adventures were had. We almost got arrested by some scary machine-gun wielding police on the train in what I think might have been Czechoslovakia. Is that possible? I’m not the best at geography. Would the train even have gone through there? I don’t know and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. I fell in love with Rome. As mentioned above, it is the only city outside of my beloved Merka that could make me leave my country voluntarily and for an extended period of time. HOLY HELL did I fall in love with Rome. I can’t even describe. Maybe I’ll try someday. WHEN I CAN FIND THOSE DAMN MISSING NINJA-STOLEN PHOTOS.
Anyway, I was in Berlin for a few days. Not long. I remember very little of it. We were all so sleep-deprived that the entire trip is kind of a blur. I remember the Checkpoint Charlie museum. I bought a keychain with a piece of the Berlin wall in it there, which I promptly lost, as I do most everything I own that is in the least bit awesome. I think my friend B. got on top of a bronze pig and pretended to ride it, which was unexpectedly hilarious and also kind of obnoxious but we were young so I give us a pass. I think there was an entire restaurant that served nothing but waffles, but then I was thinking back and that could well have been in either Amsterdam or Vienna. I remember going to the grocery store in Berlin and buying a whole bunch of chocolate and eating the chocolate and it was delicious. We stayed in a hostel where people walked around naked and we were disconcerted by this and kept going “ew ew ew” under our breath. As you can see, I have VERY CLEAR MEMORIES OF BERLIN. That’s what the damn PHOTOS were for! To PRESERVE the memories! And that damn ninja STOLE my MEMORIES. I’m totally the most miffed at that damn ninja.
Back to Ken. Poor Ken, I’m totally ignoring him. Imagine if I’d FOUND the photos, he’d totally get put by the wayside and we’d never see him again. It’d be the saddest, we’d just have to hope he’d packed a sandwich or a juice box or something.
So Ken brought us to Berlin. And listen, it was just the best thing. For the most part. FOR THE MOST PART IT WAS THE BEST THING. Wait up, I’ll get to that shit in a minute.
First, the good things. Let’s leave the worrisome thing for last.
OK, I’ve well-documented my obsession with pork products. Apparently, there is a type of wurst called currywurst. And in Berlin, there is a WHOLE MUSEUM dedicated to a MEAT PRODUCT. No, I’m totally serious. It has a website and everything. What, you think I’m making it up? Nope, look. HERE. Wikipedia tells me this is a “hot pork sausage” (um…pork PLUS spicy = I’m a happy woman) served with “warm curry ketchup.” I don’t know about the ketchup situation but apparently it’s not currywurst without the ketchup, so I guess you’d have to have both if you have either. Or else it would just be…well, wurst, I guess.
Mostly what I dig about this situation are two things. A., that there’s a WHOLE DAMN MUSEUM dedicated to a SAUSAGE, and B., that Ken WENT to it. This is the kind of adventuring I admire. When I go on vacation, NO ONE would ever go to a museum dedicated to a meat product with me. I have trouble getting people to go insane places with me, and aren’t insane places what vacation’s all about? Total golf-clap for that, Ken. TOTAL golf-clap.
The Flat of Awesomeness
So you know how Ken’s this total international man of mystery. We’ve discussed this. Does an international man of mystery stay in a HOTEL? Or a HOSTEL? NO HE DOES NOT.
An international man of mystery stays in THE COOLEST FLAT EVER CREATED.
Oh, what, you think I’m EXAGGERATING? Take a look at THIS SHIT SKIPPY:
So because I’m really skeptical and he sent us these photos I was all, once he got there, “It doesn’t really LOOK like that in there, right?” Because I was imagining this was all a RUSE and he’d get there and it wouldn’t be furnished or something.
Nope. It totally looked like this. It looked like a MOVIE SET. I know. If I stayed in this flat? I would totally do something about my unruly hair, part it all dramatic-like over one eye, wear a fancy dress, and slink around like a femme fatale, holding a crystal goblet. Yep. It would totally be the most epic flat-occupation you’ve ever seen.
However, my only problem with this place is how everything is so pretty and crisp and white. I’d be there for about 23 minutes and have tomato sauce and iced coffee all over the place and end up paying like a gajillion euro (euro? euros? Do you pluralize the euro?) to repair the major damage I’d inflicted on that sea of white apartment. Who puts a white RUG in a place? People ASKING for me to stain it, is who.
The ISLAND of DECADENCE
At one point, Ken announced he was going to Kreuzberg. When I asked what that was, his response was that at one point, it was “an island of decadence.” SO of course I imagined an ISLAND full of all the hedonism and wasn’t that the most exciting? Why do you think Ken was going there? For some decadence? Maybe some of that weird shit they were doing in Eyes Wide Shut that freaked me right the hell out because I was WATCHING IT WITH MY DAD?
Nope. For more currywurst. Man’s serious about his pork products. You’ve really got to admire that.
Anyway, then I did research (YES, punks, I do RESEARCH sometimes for this here blog) and he was totally being metaphorical. I know, isn’t he the fanciest? It is ACTUALLY (according to the interwebs) a borough of West Berlin. (The interwebs often lead me astray about Germany. I think that’s a government conspiracy. I’m sure someone whose name is mentioned frequently throughout this post can correct me if I’m wrong.) Apparently it’s where the cool kids hang out. For example, Wikipedia tells us that “Kreuzberg has long been the epicenter of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer life and Arts in Berlin.” (I am not quite sure why Wikipedia randomly capitalized these things, but whatever, Wikipedia, you get down with your bad self.) I like that very much. I would enjoy myself a great deal in Kreuzberg. I think probably more than the imaginary ISLAND OF DECADENCE I had all up in my head. Because in the ISLAND OF DECADENCE I’d be worried about touching something sticky and not having enough hand sanitizer.
You can’t go wrong with marzipan
Ken went to a very fancy restaurant. It was SO FANCY (HOW FANCY WAS IT? Oh, by the way, I went to a play a couple weekends ago? And part of the show was this stand-up comic, only he was doing routines from the fifities? And he kept doing those kind of jokes, where we, as audience members, were expected to say “How hot was it?” or shit like that. I refused to play along. If I’m expected to work, I want some money off my admission price. I don’t perform for free without some advance warning, bub) that there was NO BREAD. I know, right? That’s how you KNOW it’s fancy.
Anyway, after many fancy courses, dessert happened, and this is what Ken said about dessert: “It was a marzipan egg encased with a hard sugar shell.”
After I died a little, then came back to die a little MORE, I decided that probably even though I know I’d be way too unfancy to dine in a fancy restaurant, as Ken informed us there were many creative sauces and I just KNEW I’d spill each and every creative sauce down my top and they’d kick me out, probably, or at the very least they’d sneer like top-notch waiters might and I’d just be so, so embarrassed, I’d give it a good try for marzipan. I am OBSESSED with marzipan. Well, pretty much anything almondy. But marzipan is one of my favorite things on the whole planet. This restaurant totally became my BFF for that dessert alone.
Then I ate my sad peanut butter and jelly sandwich while reading alone in the lunchroom. It seemed a letdown, somehow.
Doing a jig
So the train ride to Berlin was, if I’m remembering correctly, six and a half hours or so? And I totally commiserated about anyone having to be on a train that long, because train bathrooms are the WORST. Well, any public transportation bathrooms are. They’re SMALL and they’re ICKY and you can’t have a drink of water, which makes you WANT a drink of water SO BADLY (listen, today I realized that it’s become a serious problem in my life that if you tell me I can’t have something, I want it. Immediately. Even if it’s a stupid thing, or something that I know is, ultimately, very, very bad for me. It’s always been a LITTLE problem, but it’s become a major stumbling block in my life. Isn’t that supposed to be something you outgrow? How is it possible that’s become WORSE with age? Someone out there pop some psychology on me and answer that sucker, thanks) and you don’t want to touch anything and the train or plane or bus or whatever you’re on seems to go around corners whenever you’re getting up or sitting down so you almost fall. It is the WORST.
But Ken said the train bathrooms were quite nice, and to prove it, he said he did a little jig in one. I don’t know if he just said it or if he really did it or not? But the mental image of it made me feel much better about the state of German train bathrooms. So, thanks for that, Ken.
Almost getting arrested in a castle
Ken ALSO went to a very fancy castle. He saw suits of armor and elaborate staircases and a library with a stove in it with pictures of naked ladies on it. HOWEVER, when I was totally enthralled with this naked lady stove and so curious about what such a thing might look like, he attempted to take a photo of it for me and then almost got kicked out of the castle. Yep. I almost got Ken kicked out of a castle, or maybe thrown in the dungeon, I don’t know how these things work. Sorry, Ken. I hope you’re not mad. If it makes you feel any better, I’m just as annoying in real life as I am on the internet, and would bug you in person just as much as I do in type to do weird things that would get you potentially thrown out of places. It’s part of my CHARM.
(There was also an art gallery next door to the castle – which will, of course, henceforth be known as the castle that wouldn’t let me see the naked lady stove. But the museum was CLOSED FOR THE WINTER. Can you even imagine such a thing? What, do paintings hibernate? I call foul on this.)
Breathing in a paper bag
OK, so I was not aware of this fact, but in Berlin? THERE ARE TWO ZOOS. What am I obsessed with almost as much as anything ever? Animals. I mean, in the wild is obviously PREFERABLE, but you have to make do with zoos unless you’re Jane Goodall or some such shit. When Ken mentioned the zoo, I had kind of a total and complete spazz-out and begged begged BEGGED him to take us all to the zoo and he promised he would try. Then I promised to be very very quiet and breathe quietly in a paper bag until the decision was made and not bother him every five seconds about the zoo like I wanted to. I about 22% succeeded. That’s really quite good for me, actually. You should be applauding.
And he TOTALLY BROUGHT US ALL TO THE ZOOOOOOOO. Only, you see, Germany is in a different time zone than New York?
I slept through the zoo.
I KNOW! Is that not the saddest thing you’ve ever heard in your LIFE? Although he tried to be very nice about the fact that I slept through the zoo and told me that I came along in spirit it was still the saddest thing in the history of almost ever. I MISSED THE ZOO DUE TO MY STUPID NEED FOR SLEEP YOU GUYS.
And there were PENGUINS. And TURTLES. I’m totally writing this in my diary with a lot of sad-faces and sighs. And probably bubble-letters and sparkly gel-pens. Oh, don’t even TELL me you didn’t do these things in your diaries when you were a kid, you KNOW you did.
There were obviously more things. Ken was there for work, so he worked, and saw a tall golden hat at one point that was apparently quite magical, so of course I wanted it because I want to be magical, and there were many trips to tea shops. It was all very exciting, and much more impressive than my first trip to Berlin when I was there in person and I barely remember anything about it and that damn ninja stole my photos.
OK, now for the one worst thing about Berlin ever that Ken TOTALLY did not think was even a THING but I thought was kind of the most distressing thing because my brain is broken.
Wait, I think this will be a lot more dramatic if I embed the tweets. Let’s see if I can find them.
There’s some sort of police action on Kleiststrasse just east of Wittenberger Platz…looks like there’s a bomb deactivating robot.
— Ken Macbeth (@lahikmajoe) March 9, 2012
@lahikmajoe Um…are you heading in that direction? I’d maybe go around that, if I were you.
— Amy (@lucysfootball) March 9, 2012
@lucysfootball I was there Amy. 100 metres away when it exploded.
— Ken Macbeth (@lahikmajoe) March 9, 2012
Now, if someone you knew TWEETED YOU THIS, would you not FREAK OUT A LITTLE? SERIOUSLY. Here’s a tip? I TOTALLY FREAK THE HELL OUT ABOUT SHIT. I don’t know where it comes from; neither of my parents are the freak-out type, I didn’t learn it from anywhere, it’s apparently some sort of genetic aberration I have, I don’t know what the hell. But you tell me something, and my screwed-up brain chemistry immediately, IMMEDIATELY, goes to the worst-case scenario.
So Ken says, “Hey, there’s a bomb here, it just blew up” and NORMAL people would be all “that’s so cool! You’re OBVIOUSLY FINE because you’re TWEETING RIGHT NOW” but my mind, as stated above, goes to the ABSOLUTE WORST POSSIBLE CASE which is “well, Ken’s probably lying in the gutter all blown to bits or something, and that was his DYING TWEET, this is just fantastic, what the hell is a person supposed to do from ACROSS THE WHOLE WORLD when their friend has been BLOWN TO BITS BY SOME BOMB IN BERLIN????!?!?!?!1?”
I’m not saying it’s RATIONAL. I’m just saying that’s how my MIND works. Oh, what, like you don’t have weird shit that you do that you can’t explain, either? Don’t even try to pretend you’re all Norma and Norman Normals, you’re not fooling anyone. (BTW, Ken totally thought the whole bomb-and-robot thing? WAS COOL. Yep. So I’m all worst-case-scenarioing something that’s he’s getting ALL THE ENJOYMENT out of. Seriously. I am a bundle of neuroses under this jocular exterior, I’m telling you right up front. I just hide it better some days. Also, people in the world that I care about? Hey, how about you don’t die, ever. Or at least have the courtesy to wait until I’m dead to do so, because then I won’t have to be sad and upset, due to the fact that I’m a dead person. Thanks bunches.)
OK, now, I know what you’re thinking. “Amy!” you’re thinking. “You know what would be awesome? What if KEN told us about Berlin? SINCE HE WAS THERE.” Don’t you even WORRY YOUR PRETTY LITTLE HEADS. I’ve totally got you covered, my little chick peas.
Since Ken has 83 kajillion blogs, it is virtually impossible to link you to all of them. But I’m going to give it my best college try, because listen, I’m nothing if not a total bulldog when it comes to being a stubborn asshole about shit. WAY TO HAVE A MILLION BLOGS KEN. (I’m being sarcastic, because as far as I’m concerned, Ken can have about 75 more blogs. Ken’s blogs make me grin like a lunatic.)
OK, here we go. Cracking my knuckles.
First, if you look over his Twitter feed (obviously, at this point, you have to go back a bit) you can see REAL TIME BERLIN-Y TWEETS. Hooray!
Then, if you go to his blog, which is what I link you to like EVERY DAMN DAY, you have:
and…my personal favorite post, possibly of EVER…
THE ZOO!!!! (with PHOTOS OF PENGUINS!!! If I told you I’ve looked back at this post to make myself smile probably 14 times over the past week, would you be at all suprised? Probably not, right?)
Then if you go to Storify (which is awesome but kind of daunting for anyone but the very, very fancy people of the world to master) you have three real-time Twitter stories while in Berlin – the zoo (eee!), a VERY fancy dinner (that one with photos! OF THE MARZIPAN! Look how pretty!) and the weirdest tea shop ever.
And finally (WHEW) at his tea blog, you will find FURTHER NONSENSE about the weirdo tea shop (he’s nicer about it than I’m being, because he’s…well, nicer than I am, we can admit that up front, I won’t be hurt) and a post about GOOD tea shops in Berlin.
You’re going to want to click, seriously. Ken knows how to use a camera PROPERLY. Unlike me, whose photos are either a.out of focus, or b., have one of my fingers or my thumb in them. Oh, or everyone has redeye and it looks like everyone I know is a vampire zombie.
So, yeah, anyway, WE ALL WENT TO BERLIN. I know, right? Listen, the internet is kind of a magical place of wonder for some of us, and I’m one of those people, but sometimes more so than others? This is one of those times. I got to go to BERLIN. So, yeah. Thanks, Ken. That was kind of the best thing. Thank you.
Promise to take you all to Florida with me and my dad in May. Expect a lot of arguing. It’s how we show we CARE.
(OK, so total “ZOMG AMY WTF” moment – who knows where the title of the post is from? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Yes, yes, it’s from Cabaret. A whole MUSICAL set in BERLIN. And who’s the biggest musical theater geek writing this blog? Me. And – ready for this – WHO HAS NEVER SEEN THIS MUSICAL EVER. Me! I know! First I admit I’ve never read or seen Lord of the Rings, now this. It’s shocking. I’m a TOTAL CONUNDRUM. Happy weekend, everyone!)