Wow, has it ever been a long time since I blogged.
After getting to Berlin, I got on another train that took me to Potsdam. Jon and Geoff were staying with Jon's relatives in Berlin while Pete (arriving the next day) and I were staying with my wonderful relatives in Potsdam. The first night I visited with Sabine (Aunt once removed) and her mother Hielde (Grandmother once removed). We sat, ate and talked. It was a good relaxing start in Potsdam. Naturally we talked about World Cup but what suprised me was that both ladies knew a lot about soccer. I was really amazed that Hielde (85 years young) watched most of the matches and had pretty good comments on them too. It rained a little in Potsdam that night which was a welcomed sight for the ladies (both gardeners) but not for Jon and Geoff who were in Berlin where it poured :)
Hielde, me and Sabine
The next day I went to meet up with Jon and Geoff in Berlin to walk around and watch the Germany vs. Portugal third place match. We walked around the 'Fan Mile' in Berlin where they had large tv screnes and where fans met, drank and watched the game. After walking we went to Jon's relative Don's place where we sat down and waited for Don. After Don got home and we got some bevies we made our way to the fan mile where I cheered my lungs out as Germany seemed to stomp all over Portugal. After the game we tried looking for Pete but as he has allready mentioned it was very difficult to find him.
The football globe and the Brandenburg Gates Jon and I watching the game on the fan mile
The next day Pete and I spent the day sightseeing in Potsdam. However, we first went to the beach and swam around for a bit. We then visited San Souci, Belvediere, and a few other places. In the even we met up with Nicki (my cousin who was visiting from Bielefeld) and Olli's (my cousin) friends to watch the final World Cup Match. Out of the entire crowd watching the large screen in Potsdam there were only about 5 Italian fans and Pete was one of them. The game was ok. Most people believed that the Germay Portugal game should have been the final but nothing you can do about it now :-(
Some famous statues at San Souci Other famous statues at San Souci Pete & me ontop of Belvediere Nicki very Zen ontop of Belvediere Italy vs. France
The next few days were spent wandering around Berlin by day and going out in Potsdam by night. Pete and I met up with Geoff on his last day in Europe (Jon had left the previous day). We walked through the Berlin Zoo which was outstanding! Most of the time I think Zoos are a bit boring because all the ones I've really been to all have the same animals but the Berlin Zoo had so may animals that I've never seen before in my life. The Zoo was very big and I can now understand why it is advertised so much.
An animal that I've never seen before Baboon
We then walked around Berlin a bit more, sat down and talked about our travels together. It was bitter sweet to think that our time together was at an end, but comforting to know that my time in Europe was only a little more than half over (sorry guys). We walked to grab our last Dönner Kebap in Berlin and said good bye to Geoff (at around 10 pm. this comes into play later on) and took the train back to Potsdam
The following day was the last day in Berlin & Potsdam for both Pete and myself. We started the day off with a bang. Nicki, Olli, Frnazi (my cousin), a few of their friends and Pete and myself went go-karting. Now I've been go-karting in europe before and I've said how in comparison north american go-karting is horrible but where we went today put the other European go-karting in it's place. The course was build on an old Russian army airport so the track was huge and very well made. We obviously got the fastest karts which clocked 85 km/hr on the straight aways. It was outstanding! you could really rip around on those things. The speed around the corners, the handeling of the karts and the control that the track provided made for a very enjoyable time. We planned only to go one round but we decided to stay for 2, € 50 later we were smiling and enjoying our ride back.
In the pits racerzzzzz
When we got back to Olli's place we had some lunch, talked about cars a little too long and then Pete and I headed for Berlin again. We missed the bus sightseeing tour we wanted to get but ended up catching another which was shorter, but we didn't expect to catch another one anyway. The tour was pretty good. We went around East and West Berlin and the guide told us all about the history behind the buildings and the area.
A french building in Berlin Me & Pete at Check Point Charlie Palace in Berlin
After, Pete and I wanted to see a few specific things in Berlin yet before leaving but we ended up only getting to Adidas, H%M and an ice cream store. . . . we quickly realized that we needed to race back to Potsdam, grab Pete's stuff and get him back to the Berlin Hbf to catch his night train to Paris. We got the the train station as soon as we could and got onboard. We were riding along fine when 2 ticket controlers came over to check our ticket. We actually hadent seen any thus far but it wasn't unexpected. So Pete and I showed our 24 hr day passes we had bought the night before at 10pm. They looked at Petes and looked at mine and said mine wasn't valid. I told them it was as it wasn't 10pm yet but they showed me the fine print that said it was good for 24 hours untill 3am. . . . well that's just perfect I thought. I tried to explain that we thought it was for 24 hours and why would we buy a 24 hr ticket at 10pm. They didn't seem to care and asked me to step outside to talk. . . . great. So they started asking me all these questions like where I was coming from, where I was going, where I was staying etc. Now because they were getting pretty technical with me I wanted to speak in English instead of German which I was speaking up till then. They quickly asked me why I changed to English and very firmly told me not to speak English anymore with them. . . . . again great. They then tried to write me a € 40 ticket and asked for my ID. Well I didn't have my passport on me and the only thing I had was my international student card. They asked me for my drivers license and again I told them I didn't have it. Now at this point they could have put me in jail but between them being frustrated and me trying to co-operate but being persistant they again said firmly that this was my last warning and if I didn't have a valid ticket the next time they would not be so forgiving. Well I was surtainly glad that was over, however because of that little incident Pete missed his train.
So the next day Nicki and I left for Bielefeld. We were welcomed by the family and had a wonderful dinner. The time I spent in Bielefeld was mostly family oriented and lots of time was spent just talking or catching up on sleep. I had a great time looking at vacation pictures, talking and plain getting to know them better. We went out for a deliciously German meal one night after visiting Nicki at work where he works as a paramedic at a firehouse, very cool stuff there. We got to see a fleet of vehicles leave the station on a call. The last day my aunt Connie and I went shopping for chlothes as I had lost 2 shirts allready and H&M was having pretty good end of summer sales. I ended up getting some nice stuff so you'll probably be seeing pictures of me in different chlothes than before.
Nicki & Connie at Nicki's work (Paramedic) Nicki & me outside the firehouse Going out for an authentic German meal Nicki very proud of his paintball gun . . . if only he had told me he was into this stuff ahead of time. . . . .next time i guess
So now I'm up to my arrival in Innsbruck. I got back Sunday evening and was delighted to see two of my friends (Nesli and Nichola) that haven't left the dorm yet. It feels good to be 'back home' here in IBK. I'm happy to see that not that much has changed except for the people in the dorm. All of my friends from the dorm have left and have been replaced with Chinese students. The Chinese students seem to always be in a pack and never speak German and only English when they need to. Needless to say I don't get along as well with them as I did with my other friends. I've spent the past week working and getting over a cold that developed a few days ago.On Tuesday I went to the IAESTE trainee dinner where IAESTE Innsbruck (the people who found the job for me) treated the trainees to an authentic Austrian meal including various delicious types of knoedel, salads and apple strudel yummmm. Yesterday I went to an ultimate practise as a few of my co-workers are on an ultimate team. It was a lot of fun and I plan to go as often as I can. Another thing different this time here in IBK is that I have aquired a bike which I take to and from work everyday and whereever else I want to go. Biking is pretty good here as there are many bike lanes on streets and it is actually accepted as a vital mode of transportation unlike back in Winnipeg (I have a few issues with the city planners). The bike is well. . . . not the best bike but I like riding a bike around town a lot more than the bus.
Wow that was a long blog. This blog has turned more into a journal for myself than anything else so if you're board reading about every detail skim over everything and just look at the pictures :-)
I'm taking off for a weekend in Rome tonight with Nichola and Nesli so hopefully I'll have a nice new blog ready for you to read early next week.