Poznan

Probably me just being naive about what Poland has but if ever there was a place that needs a better marketing team, Poznan would be it.

This town place has one of the most beautiful town squares I have ever seen.

It has great cafe’s, bars and restaurants serving a real fusion of food. Any taste done well. museums and a pretty good art gallery, as well as a historical palace, wall and cathedral. It ticks the boxes.

Plus it is really cheap.

Poznan is a big student city with 1/4 of the population studying degrees. The night life matches with quite a few bars blaring away through the night.

The only thing with the place is its half arsed tourism effort. Go to the museums and half of the exhibits will have English descriptions whereas the rest won’t. Most menus are guess a dish in Polish and the railway station visitor centre was the only place I found someone who had some level of English fluency.

Sounding a bit arrogant? Ok this wouldn’t be an issue but given its put itself out there for international trade I found this surprising. English is the language of business. Ok Poznan is not on the tourist map but it has a world trade centre. So I am surprised the tourism comes up short in this area.

Other than that I loved the place. You can always muddle through not understanding the lingo and the fact that I could eat a three course meal, silver service for £15 was speky.

If you want to get somewhere before it takes off into tourist land, hit Poznan sooner rather than later.

Berlin

So trucking on to Berlin. The first thing that comes to mind i  ‘I am a jam donut’. Apparently Kennedy said that when he made a speech in Berlin in the ’60’s so I was looking for cake when I arrived.

But before I got there I got on the wrong train. In Frankfurt when I bought my ticket I asked for the ICE and the little hunchback disabled cunt behind the desk gave me a regional ticket.

I found this out an hour into the journey and got nicely kicked off the fast train. After hanging around for a bit somewhere yocal I upgraded and got on the next train. Wanker. Next time I see a hunchback I’m going to be very mean.

Berlin rocks.

I got in pretty late but again there is a tourist centre in the station. I was given three really nice options and they rang and booked my choice for a fee of 3 euros. Bargain. They guy was a star, he gave me a railmap and directions and I was in the hotel (3 star, central near Alexander Platz) in 30 minutes.

I stayed in East Berlin in the Jewish part next to the gay part which all happens to be the nicest part of town i.e. the people with a lot of money.

First night I discovered a cafe restaurant called Hilde like something you would find in NZ. 70’s furniture and fusion food with a German twist on Italian flavours. That was dinner each night.

Next day I just walked around. Amazing what you see.

reichstag

After the sightseeing I had a beer.

The nightlife in Berlin ranges from happy bars with good looking people to death metal head banging rockin’ bars. I decided on the latter for a quiet one or two.

The next day I did it all again. More sights, more food.

What I found interesting was the arms race left over from the cold war. They built a lot of shit. Each side thought they would show off how good life was on the other side through massive building projects. Judging by check point Charlie the west won on that score.

Now the Berlin Wall is marked by two rows of cobbles along the path it once trod. Potsdam Platz, with its early communist memorials has built over a lot of it. The death zone between the east and west has become a massive reinvention, rejoining the cities two very different sides

Then there is the 2nd world war. That third photo is the memorial to the Jews that were murdered by the Nazis. It is part of a constant national apology for WW2. While there is no doubt it was horrible, it does ignore history. Hitler would not have had the support he had; if the generation before hadn’t bankrupted Germany.

Germans now are nice, educated, cosmopolitan and pretty darn cool. Its time to move on. To start everyone should visit Berlin.

Frankfurt

I’m just back from holiday where I went to Frankfurt, Berlin, Poznan, Gora and Wroclaw. I started in Frankfurt and I have to say, I’m sold. (I’ll write about the others later).

Frankfurt rocks. It’s a cosmopolitan, international city with great people, amazing parks, a cool river and some even cooler old stuff.

I arrived off the plane and moneyless hit my only hiccup along the way. Barclays switch card doesn’t work everywhere. You’ve got to guess a machine and hope for the best. Deutch Bank is not a good guess.

Luckily my NZ credit card did work so I’ll be sending some pounds back because of that. Otherwise I’d have been walking a long way to the city or alternatively chancing the train ticketless.

Sorting that out I found the on-time train and trucked into town. Immediately on arrival to the BIG rail station, the info centre appeared and I was welcomed in Englandish and helped to a room in a pension (cheap hotel).

It was only 30 Euros to stay pretty centrally. cheap because it was smack bang in the middle of the red light district. Oops. Oh well, at least I was given some interesting proposals on the street as I walked to the pension.

First thing was to eat

Frankfurt food

After which I tried to get to Heidleburg. I didn’t. Public hols next day meant all the trains were booked out the day before with early leavers. So I wandered for a bit and generally looked around.

Frankfurt is a very cool mixture of old

frankfurt opera house

and new

Frankfurt modern architecture

I really like the squiggly building amongst quite a few pretty cool other buildings.

Anyway that occupied most of my day outside of eating and drinking.

Next day I met up with Hannah (old flatmate from NZ) and went sight seeing and then out to see the night life.

Thanks to Hannah being a superb tourist guide I saw other cool stuff.

And went up a really tall building

After which we visited sights not often seen by the tourists.

After hitting a coffee chop in the ‘burbs in a typical cafe we had dinner in a traditional ale house. Set in a back garden on bench seats it had a waiter/owner who could remember every order without reference from a pad from 12 people at a time. It served the most amazing food which, when repeated, I still can’t believe I liked. Sauerkraut?

After this we met up with Hannahs freinds and hit the night life. Which I have to say was pretty cool.

Frankfurt rocks. I was surprised I liked it so much. It kicked off a pretty cool trip and was an eye opener on what Germany is really like and how Germans live. They don’t live up to the abrupt stereotypes. They may possibly be the warmest, nicest people I’ve ever met.

Especially the ones from Frankfurt.