BerLinda has arrived!

I decided to take the bus from Riga to Berlin for two reasons – 1) it was only €50, and 2) I could take more stuff that way. (It’s by the by that I can’t actually move my suitcase by myself.) As it left at 6pm, and arrived at 1pm the next day, the theory was that I’d watch trees for a while, sleep through the night and wake up just in time for lunch in Berlin.

The bus was really comfy and roomy, and I lucked out with two seats to myself for the whole trip. However, I still couldn’t really sleep, and instead watched the faulty entertainment system as it flashed the Ecolines logo at me in various trippy ways for 20 hours. And if anyone ever doubted how big Poland is, I suggest driving across it. Latvia went by in the blink of an eye, we zipped through Lithuania, then Poland hit. And more Poland, and even more Poland. In fact, around 45 minutes outside Berlin, I think we were still in bloody Poland.

Trippy
Trippy

I rolled into Berlin, bleary-eyed and smelling of bus, and hopped into a taxi. The driver turned out to be THE chattiest man on the planet, and I got a full history of Berlin, his family, and anything else he could think of. It was great, and I sort of wanted to make him my new best friend – this would become a running theme with pleasant waitresses, smiling passers-by and friendly shop assistants. I guess four years in Latvia have taken their toll.

Once checked into my room for the night, the rest of the day passed in a blur of:

This
This,
This
This,

(As it was only €1.70 and the bar woman was a really nice mammy-type, I stayed for three.)

And this.
And this.

I woke up feeling full of the joys and set off in search of food, smiling at babies and old people, and doing the odd Fred Astaire jump-click of my heels as I went. What Riga lacks in kebab shops, Berlin more than makes up for, but I wanted somewhere a bit more relaxing so I kept going until I came to a nice little Italian place. I sat, munching away, reading my book and supping on very nice Chardonnay. Just as I was finishing up, a man came over and started chatting to me. (Don’t ya just love Germans?)

It turned out he’s the owner of Berliner Unterwelten, and the leading expert on all things World War 2 in Berlin, has published what sounded like a lot of books on the topic, and been a consultant on a couple of movies. So when he said. “Do you want to go on a tour of a WW2 bunker?”, Good Linda was like “Seriously? What would Mammy O’Grady say to you taking off underground with a total stranger?” Real Linda said, “That sounds cool!” And off we went.

Through a secret door in what looks like an ordinary u-bahn station, we descended into the bunker, which was absolutely vast and went four floors down. I just got a whistle-stop tour, but it was fascinating and I’ll probably do the ‘real’ tour at some point.

My new best friend Dietmar: Do you want to go to a bar that’s got 700 different types of whiskey?

Good Linda: You need to go home. You have to move in the morning. 

Real Linda: 700? We’d better get started right away! 

We made our way to the Offside Bar, which did indeed live up to its reputation.

The ceiling of the ladies
The ceiling of the ladies

We ordered a couple of glasses of wine, and tasted the ‘Whiskey of the Month’ – twice, just to be sure. We chatted away about anything and everything, the lovely bar staff joining in from time to time. When DiDi (as the Yanks call him) suggested heading back to his for a nightcap, Good Linda didn’t get a look in. And so we finished off my first night in Berlin doing shots of vodka in his kitchen. (I don’t think this is standard practice for either German or Irish people, but he’d been married to a Russian and I’d been married to Latvia, so we did ourselves proud.)

This morning, I woke up 5 minutes after check-out time, whirled around my room throwing stuff into my suitcase and managed to make it to reception only around 25 minutes after check-out time. Nobody seemed to notice so I ditched my suitcase and went for breakfast.

Just what the doctor ordered
Just what the doctor ordered

Afterwards, instead of calling me a taxi, the manager offered to drive me to my new apartment himself (for €5). Admiring his industry, we set off. I thought that I had rented a room in an apartment for the next two weeks. As it turns out, I have the entire apartment to myself – and it is huge!

My new bedroom (temporarily anyway)
My new bedroom (temporarily anyway)

The owner popped in this evening. It seems there is a right way and a wrong way to hang dish towels. Germans are funny…

And finally, you know you’re in Germany when you see:

Snigger.
Snigger.

 

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160 thoughts on “BerLinda has arrived!”

  1. Ah, gone on the days (and nights) when I could mix wine, whisky, and vodka (although I never drank vodka, just assuming I could have if I wanted to). Now if I had done as you, I probably would have had to go to the emergency room and have my stomach pumped 😉

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  2. Huzzah for BerLinda! I’d forgotten to add your new site to my follow feed, but am excited that I have several posts to catch up on. I feel like a nerd in a book store!

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    1. I think that will be a lifetime’s work. And then I’ll have to start again as the guy who owns it REALLY likes whiskey 🙂 He basically travels finding new whiskeys and bringing them back to his bar. Tough life! 🙂

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              1. yeah, they’re all giddy to be traveling in CA…I mean, I get it. and there’s a semi-local one at our favorite neighborhood bar. I’m going to discuss with her tactics to get Irish-Germans to want to travel to SF. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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                1. Teaching work mainly. Just to get started anyway. Saw a couple of fantastic-looking writing jobs but they were posted last month so I’m sure they’re gone. Sent a CV anyway – you never know!

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  3. Oh my god! This is all so random, the whole meeting people right away and just wandering off with them, and I probably wouldnt even believe the stories had I not just spent 2 days with you and witnessed your mad talent for just hitting it off with random folk, and had my own straight-forward German approach me in the very straight-forward German fashion. Bravo!

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  4. Linda. You’re here! Yay! You’re going to have so much fun. I fear for the soul of the German people. You’ll eat them alive but they’ll give as good as they get. I think! So much more interesting…!
    The Berliners (I’m including myself here), are so friendly and out there. It’ll be fantastic. 🙂
    And as for the dildo advert. It’s so the norm. The Sex Museum is right in the middle of the high-class shopping area and no one is the least disturbed or outraged. We have ze other things. Now bend down and let me whip you!

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  5. BerLinda – OMG, you had me laughing outloud. That is hilarious Linda. Wow. new site looks aweome. And your first day was so neat – perhaps a good omen for times to come. And the people sound so friendly. You’ll get a job and a flat with your positive attutude with no problem. Welcome to your new internet home – a glass of whiskey perhaps to celebrate? Cheers! |_| 😀

    Oh, and here’s a burrito too in case you get hungry. :burrrito:

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    1. They’re nice people, the Germans! Very open – no suspicious looks or ‘Why are you asking?’s 😉 I told a guy last night that I’d been living in Latvia for 4 years. He said ‘Why?’ I couldn’t think of an answer 😉

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      1. As a true Latvian at heart, every time I try moving abroad I once again realize that I can’t live in Latvia and also can’t live without it.
        Hehe, anyways all the best in Germany and I’m looking forward to reading your adventure stories.. So exciting! 🙂

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        1. I know right!? Really just hoping it all works out at this stage! Looking forward to seeing these flats tomorrow. The two girls sound really nice as well so fingers crossed I get one of them. That would be a load off my mind! 🙂

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  6. I’m celebrating your good news with a sip of mimosa. I wish you great adventures of any kind! You don’t cook so get a place close to a Bahnhof and you will have restaurant and supermarkets 7 days/long hours. Enjoy.

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  7. Phewwwfffff! I finally found you. Got waylaid in the Poland of the Internet and took a few detours, but made it here in time to say ”yeahhhhh! congrats on the new blog.” I love that you met someone within the first few hours and got to know more about the city via bunkers and whiskey than most would in a lifetime. If it were me, I would’ve been all like ”Hey perv, stick to your side of the street” and my evening would have consisted of boring tortellini and a pillow. Which is why I always end up living vicariously through your blog 🙂
    All the best with this new chapter.

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    1. Ha ha! That would have been the Latvian approach 😉 Luckily, the Irish in me is still strong! 🙂 It was fantastic! Another amazing night last night – went to an English comedy night in an Estonian bar… only in Berlin!

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  8. Poland sounds like the cornfields of the Midwest…I was traveling through them and dozed off for about 90 minutes, and when I awoke, I was *still* traveling through cornfields.

    Doner kebab is one of my favorites! Make sure you eat some for me 🙂

    …and as for the sex stores….just make sure you remember the safe word 😉

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  9. “Berlinda” eh? How long did it take you to come up with that one?
    I also love that you have over 65 comments on your very first post, someone is popular!

    Also, if this is Berlin before you’ve even proper settled, I’ll be over next week

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  10. Oh yes, the kebab shops. There’s a street in Karlsruhe where the bottom half is literally kebab shop after kebab shop, with the occasional Chinese fastfood place or Euro shop thrown in the break things up a bit! Kebabs are actually quite nice here though, unlike in England where Doner kebab is made up of all the crap bits of meat that couldn’t be used for anything else. People here actually eat kebabs during the day! While sober!

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  11. Dear Lindchen! you should totally get yourself an apartment at the Lindenstrasse (a street germans named after you expecting your arrival) or at the Unter den Linden (means: under the Lindas) haha=))

    but honestly love the new blog and will definetely keep up with it, but one thing you have to do is maybe change the layout? the text is so small in the middle, I have to zoom in to read it. and there is some unnessesary stuff on the sides… the old layout was a lot more welcoming…. than maybe Im just too used to the old latvia blog and will probably miss it….

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    1. Yeah, I’m still tinkering around with it! Will see what I can do over the weekend. I thought I’d try a change as with the last layout you had to scroll through 178 posts to get to the beginning. I think this one mixes them up so no post will ever be lost ‘down there’ 😉 Might go back though as I can’t really figure this one out either 😉
      I wish I could afford to live on Unter den Linden! Or maybe not – all the ‘tourists’ would drive me mad haha!

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  12. I’m jealous. :/ I loved Berlin and went there 3 times during my eurotrip. Make sure you do eat ‘currywurst’ and ‘doner’ (sounds like dooner). 🙂 Oh and if it’s hot, head to krumme lanke. (it’s a lake where most of Berlin seems to be on a warm day!)
    Scheiße… I want to be there now! :O

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    1. It is a great city 🙂
      I don’t think there’s any fear of it being hot any time soon but I will be partaking of both the wurst and the doner some time in the nearest future! Hope you make it back this way soon! 🙂

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  13. Sounds awesome! I will definitely be coming to visit (you don’t have a say in this, I’m afraid!). Glad all’s going well and that Good Linda isn’t leading you astray….

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  14. I knew you wouldn’t have a boring first post on this blog … and I was right. Your adventures (and the way you tell them) never disappoint. 🙂

    Welcome home, BerLinda! 🙂

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      1. Not on my work laptop. I’ll check it out from my phone while I’m driving to Buffalo tonight. (My flight to Charleston is out of the Buffalo, NY airport tomorrow morning at 6am. And there is no way I was waking up at 3:00 am tomorrow.

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        1. Be careful – you might crash!! I nearly fell out of my chair at some of the stuff haha! You should ‘do a Berlinda’ and just go out until around 4am, then head to the airport 😉

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    1. I don’t know what you or native speakers feel about this word, but unlike ‘fleshlight’ which immediately draws in my mind the picture of a grimy BO-ridden car mechanic (called Chunk Fleshlight) wanking in the dark corner of his garage, the word ‘Lustmuschi’ – and its literal translation – sounds a bit cosier and more focussed on the enjoyment part.

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  15. Oh yeah, the huge sex and porn shops are something that struck me in Germany, too. 🙂

    Also, wow, it’s really just 50€ to get there by bus!

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  16. Unbelievable. You’re definitely off for a good start, so your Mommy can get some sound sleep. Well, until you do a piece of Germany, Germans, and some sex toys Thomas Brussig’s ‘Heroes Like Us’ style 🙂 Cheers to that

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    1. I’ll probably do one on the weird German poo shelf at some point as well 😉 Need to talk to some Germans about it but probably need to get to know them a bit before I broach that! 🙂

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