Tonight we’re having chicken wrapped in parma ham – recipe here! Mind you, we’re not having it with crunchy cabbage, no, we’re having it with a shitload of chips. Might be reet common and put mayo all over the top. I want to waffle on a wee bit more about Germany, so…part 2!
My last entry stopped as we ventured out into Berlin, and right outside of our hotel was a Christmas market, one of many we’d end up visiting. Christmas markets in the UK don’t compare – full of tat, tarpaulin and crap food. In Germany, the stalls are wooden, heavily decorated and full of nice trinkets. It was here that we tried our first currywurst, which everyone raves about. Meh – it’s sausage, chips and tomato sauce with curry sprinkled on the top! Delicious yes, but not as exciting as I was expecting! We kept seeing stalls selling Glühwein and, not knowing what it was, we ordered some.
Fucking vile. It was mulled wine, and I can’t bear red wine at the best of time, but this felt like I was drinking warmed through Radox. We took a polite sip in front of her, went round the back of the stall and dropped the rest down the drain, where I can only imagine it’s burnt its way through the sewage pipes and caused an incident. We couldn’t face going back and giving back our empty cups, so that mistake cost €12! BOO! She did give us a smirk on the way back around too, the cow.
Looming large over Alexanderplatz was Berlin’s TV Tower, so we wandered over to that. A few Euros later and we were speeding in a fantastic quick lift up to the panaroma view floor, 666ft in the air, allowing you to look over Berlin. Here we did experience a bit of an odd thing – the terse German! He asked if we were English and when we confirmed, he looked at us as though I’d broken into his house on Christmas day and shit on the turkey. At least the lift was fast and we were at the top in no time. Naturally, we immediately ordered the gayest possible drinks we possibly could – when the barman takes ten minutes to make a cocktail and it has three seperate fruits adorning it (and two fruits drinking it), you know it’s camp. It was beautiful at the top of the tower – Berlin bustling below, all the Christmas lights and decorations twinkling away and spreading out for miles. It was like the Blackpool tower, only you’re not looking out over a vista of tattooed seacows playing bingo and a sewage pipe pouring into the Irish Sea. Thanks to the sheer amount of alcohol in our drinks, the view got a bit wobbly, so we dashed back out.
Not the best photo… I know.
Another Christmas market followed – lovely yes, but it caused a bit of a row. Well row is a strong word. We spotted an animal being led around a little paddock, and I was adamant that it was a horse. Paul said a donkey. We didn’t know the German for either.
The bloody thing had horse ears! I took a picture but apparently this isn’t the beast that caused an argument. I did exclaim loudly that THERE MIGHT NOT BE A DONKEY BUT THERE’S CERTAINLY A FAT ASS, but, having realised I’d gone too far, I spotted a ferris wheel and whisked Paul onto it as a distraction.
I have no fear of heights, but I’m not particularly keen on fairground rides – for example, I’ll happily ride any rollercoaster until I stroke-out and have to be carried out the park on a stretcher, but I don’t trust anything that can be assembled overnight from inside of a truck by someone with yellow fingers and a breezy understanding of basic health and safety. Nevertheless, I duly climbed on board, all the way focussing on the rusty bolts, creaking metal and peeling paint like I was about to have some sort of Final Destination episode. Would that bolt come loose, fall 70ft, strike the horse-donkey, who would then kick the ride operator spark out, who’d fall on the safety console, somehow disengaging the wheel lock and send us freewheeling merrily down the Alexanderplatz, culminating with me being wedged in a chestnut warmer where my previously inhaled sip of Glühwein would ignite inside of me, blowing me up like an especially Christmassy suicide bomber?
But we DID ruin some poor lad’s date, I reckon. He clearly thought he and his little slip of a girlfriend were going to get a ferris capsule all to themselves and was in for a good few minutes of ‘checking the depth’, as it were, until us fatties bailed into the capsule shouting about bloody horse-donkeys and making the whole thing shake like the Apollo Service Module coming back to Earth. He spent the ten minutes of the ride giving us shitty looks. I don’t know what the Latvian is for ‘SILLY FAT BASTARD’ but he clearly didn’t know what eyebrow-threading was so I reckon that puts us about even.
After the ferris wheel, we had to make our way over to something called Exit Game Berlin, which we had prebooked before we set off on holiday. Essentially, this was a live version of those ‘Escape the Room’ games you get on the Internet (or, fact-fans, those early ‘Mental’ games on The Crystal Maze) where you solve clues hidden the room and work out how to escape (or in our case, how to stop a crazy Berliner poisoning the water supply – gasp!). We confidently set out, armed with a map on how to get there and the correct underground lines. Well goodness me if we didn’t end up in a rough part of Berlin. I’m terrible on holiday – I’m so fearful of having my wallet/phone/bits and pieces stolen that I’m on a constant cycle of checking my trouser pockets, coat pockets, shirt pockets – and I’m not exactly subtle about it – I end up walking down the street like I’m doing the world’s slowest Macarena. Nevertheless, we eventually found the place – it was a tiny, tiny little door in the middle of the street which we promptly knocked on.
No answer. Knocked again. No answer. So, thinking it was part of the ‘clue’, we spent a good five minutes checking for hidden buttons, cameras, knockers…until the guy came to the door, asked who we were, and told us we were in entirely the wrong place and that we needed to be on the other side of town at a different escape game. A fifteen minute taxi ride later, during which I felt like Princess Diana getting sped through tunnels and through traffic (I winced when I saw a Fiat Uno – I thought it was the end), we were there.
And, forgive me, it was FUCKING amazing. A proper room set up like a kitchen, but with crazy pipes everywhere, chains, hidden boxes, UV writing, secret codes, a telephone. You’re locked in (well not locked in, but that’s part of the game) and there’s a big clock in the corner counting down from 60 minutes. You have an hour to complete the task. Someone is watching you and can give you clues if you get stuck, but, although it’s difficult, you can just about do it in an hour – we did! We came away from the experience thinking it was bloody fantastic, and it truly was – worth going to Berlin just for that! There’s one opened up in Newcastle which we’re looking into, but it costs £60! Christ.
Given it was knocking on to midnight at this point, we made our way back to the hotel, stopping only for a quick glass of schwipp-schwapp (Coke with Orange, who knew) and another currywurst.
Oh, forgot to say, we saw this just in the middle of the street whilst we were wandering around. Germany has the right idea!
…more to come next time! THAT’S THEIR SLOGAN.