Berlin - Part 1

Berlin is the Capital of Germany with 3.5 million people.  As you know Germany has not had its most endearing moments in the last 80 or so years but none of that is visible now.  Germany is now the backbone of Europe and has the best economy here.  Berlin is city of artists, musicians, and grungy people.  EVERYONE is drinking beer everywhere.  we stayed for 4 days.

we listened to some survival language pod casts for hungary and germany on the way there

we stayed at PLUS hostel.  its huge and cheap and really is a budget hotel not a hostel but they call it that.  their facilities are pretty impressive for around $25 a night per person.  Pool, bar and restaurant, wifi, lounges.  its places like this that are putting guys like Sandor at Blue Danube hostel out of business.

room was pretty big.

We started our first night in Berlin at Luiza and then on to Das Hotel pictured here.  cool place.  we met some people and went on to some U Bahn party.  who knows what time it was or how many drinks yoon and I had consumed.  All i know is we ended up at some alice in wonderland peter pan treehouse playland club with thumping techno beats until 6 in the morning.  Finally we left after having given it our all.  There were people just coming to the club.  I had heard about Berlin's all weekend parties. 

we left and ate curry wurst which was "invented" in Berlin.  All it is is Bratwurst cut up with curry powder sprinkled on top and this really sweet ketchup tomato sauce like sauce poured on top.  Yoon was not a fan but I have to admit I like the stuff.  must be all the sugar in the sauce.  we stumbled around and tried to get home some more and ended up eating pizza at some other place, they had techno blasting in there.  Finally at 7am we made it home.  At the cross walk there was a young german couple and they were looking at us so we talked to them.  maybe they asked us what clubs we went to that night.  They said we're going to another party come on and grabbed me through the arm.  we said we were gonna die and already went to clubs.  they said show us your stamps.  They didn't know the top two because they were more for the older crowd but when i turned it over to the other said they were like oooooooh yea! and then let us go, satisfied that we at least went to that place.  I don't know the name of the club with the cat stamp so if anyone does tell me!  we went back to the hostel and ate breakfast there as it opened at 7am.  It was an all out night of earthly pleasures, especially eating our way home.  Berlin is crazy, and we are getting too old for this.  I guess Berliners can party for 72 hrs straight if they're on MDMA or something.  We were garbage for the rest of the trip after this first night.

what club is this cat stamp from?

So after the German surrender in WWII Germany was divided up into east and west.  West Germany was occupied by the US, UK, and France.  East Germany was occupied by the Soviets.  At first people could pass between east and west but life sucked so bad in east germany that too many people were escaping to west germany and so they built the Berlin Wall.  in 1989 the wall came down and it was destroyed except for this little section over by our hostel called the East Side Gallery.  A lot of the original artists are mad because they had other artists come in and try to paint and fix up the old weathered artwork.

seems like the west side of the wall is not preserved and modern street artists do whatever they want there

Brandenburg Gate is the symbol of Berlin

I think this is a brilliant concept and execution.  "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe".  aka Holocaust memorial.  It is of course controversial, obviously not everyone is going to like it.  There was also something about the company that made the chemicals to make these stones weather proof or something used to support the nazis or something like that. 

I'm pretty sure running and jumping on these is not polite.


cover for Yoon's album?  Yoon +1?

bratwurst and something else.  as with hungary i wasnt very impressed with german food.  and do you know how hard it is to actually find german food in berlin?  pretty hard actually.  we searched for 2 hours in the streets.  there are more kebab places than currywurst.  Also a ton of vietnamese, pizza, and burgers.  after reading a bunch of websites on food in berlin the general consensus seems to be that its not that good and you should take advantage of all the international food here.  I like sausages and brats and all that but you can't just eat that every day just like you can't eat goulash everyday.

berlin TV tower

CLUB DER VISIONAERE, canal side bar.  that weeping willow is supposed to be lit up.  pretty cool place

bars, restaurants on the other side of the canal

inside with you guessed it, techno music djs.

Budapest - Part 2

we stayed in Budapest for a total of 4 days.  Here is part 2.

we stayed here at Kazinczy street 7, Blue Danube Hostel.  The host, Sandor was great and a wealth of information.  I felt like I was on a special missions team and had to absord lots of technical information at breakneck speed.

its an apartment inside one of those courtyard buildings and it's pretty big.  cheap too.  it's a nice way to feel more like you're staying in budapest i think.

the grand market

plenty of food stalls here.

not that impressed with hungarian food.  here is a stuffed cabbage and some kind of saurkraut or something.

yoon described his as tasting like thanksgiving.  it was chicken, with mashed potatoes and cheese and other stuff piled on top and baked some more.

the park near szechenyi bathhouse

Budapest is known for its bathhouses.  This is Szechenyi, the biggest in buddapest.  there are many many hot baths in the surrounding buildings.  this is an outdoor one and in the back is a regular pool.  they say now that it's party city that young folks will party til dawn and then soak it off the next day at the baths and then do it all again.  They say the most beautiful one is connected to a hotel on the Buda side.  There weren't really any babes on this day and there were lots of middle aged to old hungarians.  There are chess tables in water in the far part of this outdoor hot bath with weathered old hungarian dudes who look like they play everyday in the sun.  it said some of the baths were 38 degrees C but they all didnt feel that warm at all.  In Japan it was usually painful to get in at first.

Terror House.  Its a relatively new museum opened in 2002 about the facist and communist regimes that tortured, and killed people in Hungary in the 20th century.  

It was the Nazi's who took over first then the Soviets.  the actual building was one of the places people were tortured and killed.  In the basement you can see the cells and torture chambers.  Hungary has basically gotten the short end of the stick for a long long time now and have only been free of communism since 1990.

the beer bike.  everyone has pedals while someone pumps beer

Instant.  it's supposed to be like an enchanted forest.  these rabbits remind me of that chinese artist that created the wolves flying through the air and crashing into a wall.

on the walk to the next place.

Morrison's 2.  It was the douchiest place we went to in Budapest.  horrible horrible music and just douchy people.  sure it was a wednesday night but still.

directly across the street from our hostel was this place.  It seemed like the most most Hungarian place in the area since all the other bars were filled with foreigners and cater towards them.  These guys were playing Hungarian songs and everyone was clapping, dancing and having a ball.  They were all very friendly too.  As a matter of fact everyone in Hungary seemed friendly and non aggressive or threatening.  The few times we though people were being assholes we realized they were actually being nice.  Budapest seems safe and free of violence.

Hungarian Pam Beasly from "The Office" was one of the violinist's girlfriend

we rented bikes and headed north of the city.  we kind of went on the fly and ended up in some interesting places

along the way i saw at least 2 dog training parks.

small town Hungary, although this looks like a very nice, rich neighborhood.  or maybe all of hungary looks like this.

loving the crazy roofs and how every house is really different from the next.

Hungarian desserts.  not very good.  so dry.  You know i don't really criticize food that much on this blog and that i'm a world traveller with a open outlook on things so you know this stuff has to not be that good.  I'm just saying to all that don't know me i am not a finicky eater at all but this stuff just wasn't doing it for me (similar to germany).

Unicum.  its a hungarian herbal bitters drunk as an aperitif and digestif.  It tastes like chinese medicine and sugar.  Not my thing, but neither is proseco, kir, absinthe, or any other super sweet anise tasting liqueur.  Palinka is a Hungarian fruit brandy that is available everywhere here.  we tried some.  super sweet and like an aperitif

oh and Zizzo, my old buddy from beijing happened to be on vacation for the exact same 4 days as us in Budapest.  What a small world.  In conclusion Budapest is a pretty cool city.  It's not that big, its safe, and the people are friendly.  I like the post communist feel of the place and architecture.  the food, not so good but that's based on eating goulash 3 times and some other stuff.  Who knew that Budapest was party central? Not me.  Next up, Berlin!