twochubbycubs and their German adventure – part 3

There’s a bit in an old episode of Absolutely Fabulous where Edina goes into her kitchen and selects a bottle of champagne from a chiller cabinet, only for it to be replenished like the machine that replaces the pins in a bowling alley. It’s pretty much like that with our freezer and Ben and Jerry’s at the moment. I get rid of one, only to find Paul has managed to go to ASDA, restock and be sat back down on the settee without me blinking. Peculiar. Well it is Christmas…back to Germany!

We woke up the next morning with a tightly packed schedule and we were mincing down Karl Marx Allee in no time at all with a view to visiting the Videogame Museum. Paul tried to engage me with tales of socialist architecture and other nonsense but he possibly assumed from my glazed over eyes, deep sighs and putting a hand over his mouth, that I wasn’t interested. We had an agonising problem of where to have breakfast, given there was only a McDonalds (reasons to decline: not on holiday! Never on holiday! We have to eat somewhere local, we’re on holiday and we’re not that type of tourist!) or an art gallery café (we’re not hipster enough! I don’t have pieces of lace in my beard! They’re going to serve our coffee with a side of scorn and the toast will be organic carpet-toast spread with derision!) – we settled on the café. Breakfast in Germany is amazing – you essentially get all of the fat-bastard level of the food pyramid in one go – bread, meat, jam and cheese. She did put a token bit of rocket on the side but we ignored that – we’re on holiday, if I’m not having mild palpitations by 11am then something is wrong.

The Videogame Museum was great fun, full of interactive old computer systems and rare controllers. It will sound as boring as all outdoors to someone who isn’t into gaming, but for us two fatties it was smashing. Only thing was, it was overrun with children, which immediately creates two feelings – rage and worry. Rage because I’m a selfish adult who has forgotten he was a child once and immediately starts scowling and hissing at the children pressing the wrong buttons with their sticky hands, and worry because I’m always terrified that the parents will think I’m a nonce if I’m loitering near their children with a barely disguised grimace on my face. On top of that, I have an irrational dislike of anyone playing computer games ‘incorrectly’ – I once had to go for a lie down after trying to explain Tetris to my nana who was waving around the DS like she trying to land a failing Messerschmitt at sea.

At the videogame museum was something called the Painstation. Essentially, it’s a two player game of Pong, where you hold a knob (steady) and keep your other hand on a small metal plate. If you lose a ball on Pong, your other hand either gets an electrical shock, a small burn (the plate heats up) or whipped by a strap of elastic. It’s sadistic, cruel, unusual and, worse than that – it was out of bloody order! I was gutted. Paul wasn’t, because he knew I’d kick his arse at Pong and he’d end up with a tiny hand from the whipping.

After the museum it was a short hop, skip and a jump – well, meander, struggle and chafe – to the DDR museum, where we spent an hour or so examining the exhibits and pondering thoughtfully on the challenging existence in East Germany. Paul did, at least. I spent an hour picking up the big black phone on the desk and pretending I was on Deal or no Deal and then tutting at people for climbing inside the model Trabant they had on show. Honestly have these people got no respect?

A donut and coffee followed then we were off to the Sealife centre and in particular, the giant Aquadom nearby. We spent a good ten minutes being complimented on our English by the German lady on the counter and then forty minutes or so trying to get a good picture of a stingray. Are we the only people who come back from these places with hundreds of shite photos of fish that get deleted on the plane home? I’m not sure what makes me think I’ll need an encyclopaedic collection of blurred photos of marine life on my phone but I’m always compelled to snap away whenever I’m somewhere like that. My photography skills are shit – it looks like Ray Charles has been on photographic duty. I might take a course – but I probably won’t, I’m lazy. Anyway, the Aquadom is a giant aquarium in the shape of a tube, and you get in a great glass lift and travel up the middle.

I was a bit disappointed, I’m not going to lie. It sounds great fun, but in reality, you’re looking at about two thousand fish in a tank whilst riding a lift. Meh. We almost booked the hotel surrounding the aquarium but I’m glad we didn’t – the last thing I want is someone peering out the glass lift and seeing me drying my arse in my hotel room, the size of which is all distorted thanks to being viewed through water.

We broke our rule of eating ‘local’ afterwards, taking a late lunch in a place called Andy’s nearby, which promised German/American food at decent prices. It was packed, and at least I had a German beer and sauerkraut with my meal – Paul inexplicably ended up having an entirely not German nor American pork gyros with fried onions. Delicious meal and thanks to the pickled cabbage I barely had to walk to our next destination, instead choosing to hover gently down the street.

Next, the Berlin Dungeon. I was expecting little, but it was actually pretty decent, as long as you like seeing rough looking women pitching around in the dark with blood on their face and sores on their legs, with the scent of faeces and death in the air. Well, I’m from Newcastle, it was just like being at home. The whole experience was made brilliant by the Scottish women who were with us, who, when the lights dipped, shouted loudly ‘AH’MA GONNA SHITE MYSELF’. Even the actors cracked up at that one. Also, I’m not sure ‘YOU’LL CUM BLOOD’ was supposed to be on the script during the plague section, but everyone’s eyebrows raised in a very British unison. Actually, that’s an aside – I’ve always associated Germany with sheer, unadulterated filth – it was always the German couple who used to get their hairy tackle out on Eurotrash back in the day, for example – but there was zero hardcore pornography on their TV channels after 10pm. I was very surprised!

We finished off the night by enjoying a meal in Nocti Vagus – a completely dark restaurant – you eat in the pitch black and are waited upon by blind or almost blind waiting staff. It was…unique! You choose your menu in the bar upstairs, do a veritable conga down into the dark, and then spend two hours enjoying your meal in the dark. I’m far too suspicious that people were pinching my food in the dark, and the temptation to hurl a meatball in the dark was strong, but we were on our best behaviour and came out of it feeling slightly dizzy (because you have nothing to focus on for two hours) and satisfied we’d enjoyed ourselves. The show that comes after the meal was a bit ropey, but…you’ve had a meal in a pitch black restaurant! At least that’s cool.

two chubby cubs go to Germany! Part 2

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.