Saturday, November 5, 2011

Eurotrip 2011, Day 2 Part 2: A random first night in Berlin

So, we're in Berlin and have been there for several hours, but all we've done is napped, showered, and drank some beer in the hotel lobby. We couldn't really go anywhere because we had our tour meeting at the hotel and then our first group dinner together, per the infamous Contiki day sheet!
The meeting finally started, and it was LONG. Seriously, nearly an hour. Way longer than the one for my Contiki tour in 2007. We learned that night that our tour guide Kiwi Katie (nickname courtesy of me) really, really liked to talk. By the time the meeting was over we had just enough time to drop off the leftover paperwork in the room before piling onto the bus to head downtown for dinner. The restaurant we ate at that first night was...okay. The food was decent - nothing special, but having been on a Contiki tour before I knew what to expect. However, I was seriously disappointed in my beer.
No, not because the beer itself was bad, but because I ordered a liter, darnit, and they only gave me a half liter! I should have known this would happen considering that when I ordered this beer, the waitress insisted on telling me it wasn't clear. "That's fine," I replied. "I know what a Hefeweizen is." She also insisted on showing me the size of a liter with her hands. Again, I told her "Yes, I know how big a liter is. That's what I want."

Yet, the above is what she brought me. It was the type of beer I ordered, but definitely not the right size - and so began my quest to find a liter of beer somewhere, anywhere, in Germany.

Earlier that day we had noticed a big festival happening just up the street from our hotel, and Kiwi Katie confirmed that it was in fact a giant beer festival! So obviously Steve, myself, and the Natalies knew what we were doing after dinner.
Unfortunately, said beer festival was crowded. And loud. And the walking areas were kind of gross and muddy. What was interesting was the fact that each time you bought a "sample", it came in a real glass with the brewery logo on it. If you wanted to bring the glass back, you would get back 2 Euro from what you paid for your sample! Unfortunately you had to bring each glass back to its specific tent, and this festival was strung along God knows how many blocks of Frankfurter Allee and it was difficult getting the glasses back to their proper tent. And considering we had 15 more days of traipsing around Europe in front of us, we didn't really want 6+ beer glasses rattling in our suitcases. So we stuck it out until nearly midnight, then decided to head back to our rooms (returning glasses along the way) - after all, we were still on US time and running on maybe 6 hours of [constantly interrupted] sleep at this point. We would have plenty of time to explore Berlin with two more full days there...right?

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