I used a great German rideshare website, Mitfahrgelegenheit, to go from outside Amsterdam to Berlin. I practice what I preach on my website! We haggled to 33 euros ($41) for the 6-7 hour trip, but with rideshare you never know what you are getting to get. My driver was a nice-enough guy, but he chain-smoked, had a dog, and blasted horrible techno “music”—wait, that was redundant—he blasted techno the entire time. My head was throbbing to the point that I yearned for a Michael Learns to Rock CD. It was a hot drive, and it seemed the whole time I sat in a swirl of sweat, smoke, dog hair and pulsing techno, ready to hang myself.
How I stayed cheaply in Berlin is going to be a part of one of my next blog posts, “Advanced CouchSurfing Tips,” because of the way a CouchSurfer found me and told me about it. I stayed in a guest room for student housing at a university, 20 euros ($25) for 3 nights. The downside was that the toilet wasn’t in the room. It wasn’t even in the building. It was 50 meters away in another dorm building that is sometimes locked and you have to wait for someone to come. (I should really stop traveling.)
It’s fun to be around the energy of universities and the student scene.
YOUNG TRAVELER ADVICE ALERT! YOUNG TRAVELER ADVICE ALERT!
Probably no one in their 20s needs or wants to hear my advice, but being in Berlin reminds me I could have used some guidance back in the day. I was in East Berlin on May 1, 1988 and terribly regret not watching the spectacular Workers Day parade, the penultimate one for East Germany, if I’m not mistaken. Instead, I stumbled around the distant suburbs where everything was closed because all the smart people were in town watching the parade.
Anyway, my advice for you young punks is to visit provincial university towns in Eastern Europe and to visit them on Thursdays. Try to CouchSurf with the students who live in university housing. Thursdays are when students blow off steam because everyone goes home on Fridays. My experience was mostly in Hungary, where every Friday was a mass wildebeest migration to the train stations.
The rejoinder to this is to hope you get invited home with your host. It is very special in the small towns and villages where you get a totally different, unforgetably rich experience, not to mention the great home-cooked food you won’t have anywhere else or the other events/parties where there are new friends to make. Go now. Thank me later.
END OF YOUNG TRAVELER ADVICE ALERT! END OF YOUNG TRAVELER ADVICE ALERT!
I prefer Berlin on a weekend mostly because it might be the best place in Europe for flea markets—can you think of any other contenders?—but I could only manage a visit in the middle of the week. I stumbled around the distant suburbs, undoubtedly missing a parade somewhere, never learning life’s lessons.
Have you tried traveling with a large (1,000 ml) Nalgene bottle? It comes in handy when there’s no toilet close by. My husband always travels with one.
Really? And you could clean it well enough to drink out of? You two are brave!
The mobile wurst vendor is one of the weirdest things that I have ever seen. It really cracks me up. The concept and execution is beyond belief – like something from a surreal comedy sketch. How extremely uncomfortable though dangerous though – an accident waiting to happen! Hope that he is wearing asbestos underpants.
At least if he is caught short then the metal trough in front of him could double as a urinal.
Nicely put, Mark! It is ingenious, isn’t it?
What frightens me is the fact that he is smiling for his picture as if he has not figured out how ridiculous he looks! If someone asked me ‘what is the worst job you have ever had?’ I could not even make that up. It defies belief.
You could launch an internet meme with this. Encourage bloggers to publish photos of ‘The worst job in the World…’ and then get them to nominate another 5 people to do likewise. See if this brave Berliner can be beaten!
I asked to take his photo and he said sure, but I think he was annoyed that i asked, that I was supposed to just quickly take it and go away, but he didn’t want to be a jerk to me so he gave that sort of smile.
There was another dude with another kind of wurst rig where the metal pole went straight through his legs, but I failed to get that photo, which shows how bad of a blogger I am.
At least the guy with the pole could get some physical support whilst your chap must get worn out pretty quickly carrying that contraption and the gas tank that must be on his back. Not a job for a hot summer’s day for sure!
Those photos have made my week – and it’s only Monday. Thanks!
Whoaaa…. papaya ohh papaya ^__^ .. Happy Journey Kent…