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Berlin Berlin
I came back from Berlin a few days ago and I'm still trying to get out of that holiday mood.  It has made getting up and travelling to work a bit more difficult.  The trip itself was a lot of fun.  Having been there before a few years ago I was happy to tag along when my friend went to see some of the big sights.  I find a lot of the memorials there tend to be a bit understated which is a good thing.  There was something a bit weird about watching people in sun glasses and slogan t-shirts posing beside pieces of the Berlin Wall and a McDonald's right next to Check Point Charlie.  I felt like it cheapened the whole thing.

It was nice to walk about and not be in Northern Ireland.  I really like the transport system and buying cheap metro tickets and zipping around on the trains.  It was also good to experience the hype of the World Cup in another country.

A few highlights from the trip included going to a restaurant at hackescher markt area.  The waiter brought my friend the wrong dish and when the guy realised he had mucked it up he asked my friend if he wanted it anyway or whether he really wanted what he ordered.  We were sitting outside and while we were waiting for food we looked down to our left and saw a rat scurrying about, a few minutes later a second one appeared.  It kind of ruined the dining experience.

One evening we decided to head out to a bar that we had read about and worked out the route we needed to take.  We left kind of late and by the time we go half way there it was already after 12 so we decided to head back.  It was pretty funny, travelling all that way to have a drink in a bar only to get part of the way there and head back again.  Typing this it doesn't sound very funny but at the time it was hilarious.

I wasn't able to take any pictures because although I did bring my camera, I forgot the memory card.  I did have my phone but I feel uncomfortable taking pictures on my phone unless it's for a joke.

On the flight from London to Berlin I put my book in the pocket on the back of the seat in front.  I was in the middle with my friend on my left in the aisle seat and a complete stranger on my right.  When we landed the person sitting with us was one of those people who are in such a hurry to get up even though they can't really go anywhere.  We felt harassed as we got out of the seat and it resulted in me leaving my book on the plane.  I have since ordered a replacement but it bummed me out.

I have eight days of annual leave remaining so I figured I can try and work in another long weekend away somewhere around October or November and still take a day off a month from now until Christmas.

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Yes the boards around the area were informative. You see a lot of people taking pictures of the boards rather than taking the time to read them. I don't understand this culture of living through a camera.

I didn't get to the East Side Gallery. It was mostly about me being away from home. Berlin was like my beach holiday (without the beach) where I bummed around and enjoyed being somewhere that wasn't here. I might go back for more culture.

It's an interesting city. You can really tell it's been through a lot. Being on the train and zipping through the different neighbourhoods really highlighted that.

Ugh, don't get me started.

That's fair enough. I like that Berlin isn't afraid to look at its history but at the same time you get the sense that it's very forward looking and has moved on from it to an extent. That's good because at least it doesn't dwell on its horrors. It has some great communities which you don't always get in a capital city.

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