Deadly Women (with Matt Fullerty)


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Road Trip 2: The German Invasion!

Rudyard Kipling said “What knows he of England who only England knows?” which I take it to mean, go see the world, my son! So I did.

I just got back from a wonderful, exhausting trip by train and car through Germany by way of Amsterdam and ending in Prague. I am a little more Germanic (and manic) for it. We spent 10 days on the road, and 10 nights in the beer cellars! I could have done with a night off, but then I just took a week off drinking to recover and now I don't know where I am!

Highlights of the trip include:

The red-light district of Amsterdam. Yes one of Craig's friends - not naming any names, Monsieur R. - chose to spent a penny on a friendly local whore. The odd thing about the window shopping (decidedly red window shopping) in the 'Dam, is that the girls are actually young and attractive. If you don't mind a touch of syphilis in later life, and well, the young Englishman figured we were on holiday. So we had to stand by the canal while the curtain was drawn. Kind of takes the edge off the moon setting on the water...But otherwise Amsterdam, once you protect yourself from the speed of bicycles everywhere, and can tell one canal from the next (impossible), is a delight of hidden crevices to explore, and I'm not talking about the red-light district again. Avoid the herring, the live sex shows, the coffeeshops where you can get stoned to oblivion and fall in the canal, and it's a truly romantic city!

Cologne was all about the cathedral: what an amazing gothic monstrosity! We climbed to the top and marvelled at the view, but mostly at the strange cathedral spires that were being cleaned / reconstructed and so white amid the black-death color of the rest of the beast! Apparently Köln cathedral is the biggest tourist attraction in Germany for Germans! Not wonder they've got no sense of humor :-)

Koblenz was a pretty little town. I immediately took a jog from our hostel and discovered the river Rhine (first person ever to do this) and felt like an explorer! The Rhine is a beaut, and we spent the whole of the next day driving her delightfully lazy big wide basin, castles on every twist and turn of the river, no joke! Hitting 200 kph on the "autobahn" had nothing on this little river trip where the splendor of any European country is surely matched - the Rhine valley, gotta love it USA!

Frankfurt-am-Main, or Frankfurt to you mate, was an eye-opener, not only because we watched Liverpool lose the Champions League Cup Final in a Japanese bar drinking sake for the first time in our lives (well, me at least), but because it looked like Manchester on a day off. I think we were there Tuesday. We went to the same club twice. But I enjoyed seeing the Mercedes logo in the central square!

Berlin...say no more! What an experience! If the story of the Berlin Wall, wrapping itself in a circle around West Berlin (the Berlin Wall was not a North-South divide as I'd presumed, but a circle, as JFK once said, "an island of democracy in a sea of communism"), doesn't get you, then the old Nazi building now the tax office will! Changing this Nazi building (opposite) - the Reich Air Ministry and HQ of the Luftwaffee - to the modern-day Bundesrepublic tax office, local Berliners joke that little has changed! It does have an air of the US State Department (in appearance alone, you understand, I kid the United States)! But looking at the gates and plinths where all the Nazi regalia, swastikas and Roman-style eagles used to sit, was a stirring experience! Somehow to stand on that spot...and later above Hitler's bunker and learn of the Battle of Berlin where old men and boys were sent out by Hitler to face the doom of the invading Red Army, was another overwhelming sense to be where history happened! It all felt so fresh, oh Allied forces of Europe and America!

Finally onto Prague, where I was stunned by its beauty and old-fairytale charm! Never did an old town look so amazing from a river (the Vltava) rising up on the hill to the largest enclosed castle area in Europe. But inside the Prague castle is St Vitus Cathedral. I've seen nothing like this before! I'd like to say the Washington Cathedral compares, which it does for size. But inside the St Vitus are the crypt tombs of the cardinals of centuries, and the 600 year old Tomb of St John Nepomuk made from 5 tons of solid silver, with angels flying above!

That has to be seen to be believed America!
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  1. Not sure that Roscoe wants everyone to know that he went with a prostitute. Also we saw the Liverpool match in Berlin - for the 2nd half we were in the Japanese bar drinking warm Saki (that Mark later redistributed behind a bush in the Beach bar).

  2. Just to clarify - I would like to think that the throwing up behind the bush was due to food poisoning rather than the copious amounts of Saki, beer and coctails we consumed!