Gefühl: DIE WURST
(Translation: Feeling the Wurst).
(Not actually; it’s a tamper of terms – what else is new, right? – on the old German sausage. I’m actually feeling fab. I might even go insofar as to say I’m feeling rather top notch). (Well, until early arvo. Then things went a little downhill on the hungover front).
Hello. My name is Anneke Poppy Rose Whatman-Wortman and I am a chronic trinketer and key ringer.
You know how I said from each country I would collect a single key ring to add to my little palm posy? A symbolic souvenir that I concluded caught the essence of my experience with the country to join my jangle so I could look at them fondly whenever I needed to unlock anything in the future? Well as with everything else in my life, I have been going all or nothing.
For my first two countries in the last few days, I purchased no less than seven key rings. Seven! The Netherlands obviously called for clogs. And I went for a yellow set as they reminded them of a pair old Henio used to have in his wardrobe. But then I couldn’t leave without a magenta pair too, could I? And upon having a nosy in yet another store, not buying a little tulip ornamentation for the ring would just be wrong. As would the little three charm gable house, infamous pecking Dutch couple and windmill. It’s because you’re Dutch, you can go all out here, I justified.
Just like in Germany. I mean, “Wortman” stems from German roots, does it not? Giving legit reason to give into the three bought key rings, being “G E R M A N Y” in beads the colour of the flag, a mini map of the country and of course, the iconic Ampel Man (to come). And now I’m in Prague and saw the little wooden dog, the Babushka doll and the pastry sweet treat all available in key ring form, I’m sure I can delve out some Czech lineage with a quick squiz on ancestry dot com. (Insertation: have bought four as I pottered about the cobblestoned lanes of Prague; a vessel of beer incorporating a pun (“Czech me out – Prague), a trio of little Babushka dolls, another wooden Babushka doll and a little wooden dog necklace I’m appropriating as a key ring that I got totally swindled on but that I absolutely adore. This is beyond a slight obsession; I’m a full on addict my friend).
Anyway – forth with to Germany!
I must admit, upon awakening the second full day I was duly saddened; usually upon doing a meet and greet with a group, I almost instaneously scope out who shall be my newfound collection of chums. I did have Sheridan from the get-go, (had a short yarn and instantly took a liking to her, so mishmashed the coach seating around so I was literally by her side). Her and my pal ship deepened considerably over the next days to be extremely close knit, but while the other fellas were super lovely and sweet I didn’t feel the whole gelling and jamming.
Usually this doesn’t bother me too much – I’m happy roaming on my own and I’ll yarn to all and sundry – but after my falling in love with the SS7 and my romantic reunion with Christina and co, I was down tune.
But bringing on Berlin this all rectified and my heart lifted. Bantering on the bus, a communal evening meal and then a good bust out in the bar saw the establishment of what I now refer to as the Primed Oldmates (once again, the majority being Aussie, one Kiwi aside from myself and the token South African).
So. To the intros!
1. Sheri Sheri Sheridan
My new CCCC – Contiki Close Confidant Companion. Absolute babe with the most incredible of eyes and lashes extending like the limbs of a daddy longlegs. (Meaning really elongated and lengthy, just to clarify). Totally on point with myself in opinions and what not, and my roommate the whole way through the 23 days.
2. Katie, my top British matey
Seriously, just being in Katie’s presence makes me copiously joyous. Very up for cuddles and spoiling me with affection, Katie has a great talent in making one feel not just good but bloody fabulous. We’re already making plans for future jaunts about the globe together, and for many a sleepover on return to London (she was sensational memory foamed everything which I am all about).
3. Jag – the jaggering courter
Toowoomba born and bred Jag is a bit of a lawyer lad. Only 20, he seems eons older in already owning a home and carrying on his last name legacy at the family firm. Good banter, on form wit and always one to appreciate puns, he is high up the page in my book.
4. Nick the Dabbler
Bendigo aboding – the “Bendighetto”, as he asserts – Nick is all for beers and having blow outs. A great one to yarn with on topics not so open eared and surprisingly drops really lovely compliments from a genuine place.
5. Muffin Matt
A Kiwi lad, I have mentioned Matt mate previously as the one to indulge in a banana split from the cavernous nether regions of a Netherlandian dancer. I think he is next level fab; a Wellingtonian Kiwi, he works with special effects for the one and only precious Peter Jackson. Given me many a heartfelt gut giggle (Muff Matt, not PJ) (though some embedded one liners in LOTR were totally on point), with many more to come until his drop off in Rome (once again, Muff Matt’s drop off, not PJ’s).
6. Laura – FF&FB
The Fably Fun and Friendly Brisbinian. Solid gal pal up for a good time and always on point to party. Very, very caring nature too – always looking out for those around and ensuring all are ok, good and well.
7. Matt II – the Shotting Sweetheart
Always capturing the essence of the land through the lens of his camera as well as shots in the tequila sambucca sense, Matt deux is a big fan of the old Tay Tay; a common sight to see is him having a mad old head bop to all from Style to You Are in Love. When the pop star swiftly visited Aussie last year, Matt was first in line for GA – in Adelaide. Sydney and Melbourne, no less.
8. Alex the Abouter
Only just on the turn of 19, Alex seems eons older, perhaps as a result of her moving about the globe seven times before the age of 11. Full of insights and tales of travel – as well as superstar plans to roam about with her dear dad – I thoroughly enjoy strolling and having a prattle and prate with this fine filly.
So there we have it – the Primed Oldmates! And there’s a fair few more lovely lads and lasses but I don’t want to confuddle you with more characters that may not again be mentioned.
So; a quick recap of the first banger in Berlin.
After dinner (a plate of mash, sauerkraut and a trio of ranging-in-size sausages for the others, a delicious medley of eggplant, zucchini, capsicum and lettuce for myself) (got the crowd out in chortles when upon one of the females saying she finds it hard to eat the encased sausages, I responded, “Just look away when you put it in your mouth” – lots of resounding brickbats and dog fifes all along the table, it must be said) we hot footed it up to the local Liddol (supermarket store) to purchase wassails and imbibes.
And my word, how cheap were the tipples! A paltry €1.79 for a drop of fine Aussie Shiraz! A mere €9.99 for a 40 ounce of Jimmy’s! We were in a partying play land rejoicing at the meagre costings. (Until the loudspeaker crackled and declared we had three minutes to buy our to-be-acquired belongings before the 9pm closing time).
We then pell-melled with pace back to our rooms to refresh to the fatal. The boys barricaded into our room where we threw back a few reds and voddys and then it was down to the hostel bar to break loose.
And break loose we did, with gusto no less. Shots a’flying, jugs a’guzzling, volume a’rising. The more topes tipped back the more Jag picked up – literally I mean, not in the way of scoring. Each time any of us would cross his path we would find ourselves high up in the air as he tackled us around the knees for an uplift (I think I was raised a good eight or so times over the course of an hour). All were uproariously jolly and jostling, branching out beyond the group and making new pals with other travellers about the bar.
Two of the passengers aboard our Contiki coach are a comely couple from India. Someone told them I had been in Rishikesh doing yoga last year for a spell, and they excitedly approached me and we started speaking asanas. They asked if I was the master of the headstand – am I ever; an upside down every morning and night since returning has me balancing like Patanjali – and upon my affirmative response asked me to demonstrate. And as it seemed like the swellest of requests at the time (doesn’t anything when half a bottle of red wine and a fair few vodka shots deep?), so I happily obliged. (The bruise on my upper thigh doesn’t hurt that much, and the chunk of flesh missing from my front left calf should fill back out with time).
I’m not sure who called for moving on to the Matrix club across the road (something tells me it may have been myself, but the course of events are hazy) but off we strode in single file to the place of pumping. (I’m slightly murky and muddled on the time spent there, but the myriad videos and photos on the old cellular point to a good time).
About 3am or so Kiwi Muff Matt and I decided a return home to attempt a break in to the hostel kitchen to hustle some mushrooms was on order. Unfortunately, we were shit out of luck with the Fort Knox locked door so decided to cut our losses in stalking (get it?) and decamp to berth.
Now, the Plus Berlin hostel is immensely massive. Like the most colossal of staying places I’ve ever seen. It’s like the Louvre of accommodations. So upon dropping Muff Matt off at his chamber, I spent a good 40 minutes roaming the corridors trying to find my own. (Ever wondered if your key card at a hotel actually only works for the one room? Well, it does. I found this out as I tried about 37 or so before giving up and lurching down to reception to ask for aid. The dude on the desk was lovely, escorting me back to my room (209 sounds similar to 103, does it not?) where I proceeded to de-pant and pass out). (In the morning a few of the fellas told of the “early morning man” attempting to key card into each of their rooms. When I expressed the idea it may have been me, they said no way it could have been; this vagabond walked very heavy-footed. I nodded knowingly; mate, I was in my clompy chunk heeled boots. It was absolutely I).
So, first impressions of Berlin? Pretty on point. And I even arose at 6am the following AM for a spot of yoga and run along the East Berlin Gallery wall. (Later on though, I really did hit the wall, and not the Berlin one).
Bring on a day in Deutschland!