Europe was a lot of things. It was expensive. It was cheap. It was beautiful. It was dirty. It was surprising. It was expected. People were nice. People were rude. The weather was good. The weather was horrible
I started my trip off in Oslo, Norway. After a canceled flight, a delayed flight, and carrying 4 bags from China, I arrived out of the train station to a gay pride parade which looked more like a Halloween costume contest and anime convention. I was like where the heck am I? so with 4 bags and not knowing where I was going, I decided to get a cab, which was a brand new Mercedes by the way, of course, Norway the most expensive country in the world. I kid you not, I was in the car maybe 4 minutes and went about 700 meters and the tab was 20 US dollars.
Welcome to Europe
I met up with friends Jaxx and Kim. It was good to see friends again. Oslo has a beautiful Opera House located on the bay with striking architectural lines that jut right into the water. Oslo also has a weird style, with many kids sporting Rihannish punk hairstyles with a shaved side and comb over with tight clothes and some chuck taylors. The craziest thing about Oslo is that during the late june summer days, it never gets completely dark. At midnight and 2 in the morning there is still barely light outside, and off on the horizon you can see the lighter sky opening up as the son nears. Also, their local beer, Ringnes is horrible, and about 9 dollars a pint. After seeing the sights on a “hop on-hop off’ bus tour (“you can hop on, you can hop off, but you cant hop back on”-Jaxx), including a weird naked sculpture park and the castle and palace, and going out for a few nights on the town, well actually it never really becomes ‘night,’ we had seen Oslo and were off to Gothenburg.
Sweden is beautiful, and so are the girls. The stereotype about beautiful blondes in Sweden definitely rings true. Gothenburg, is also a quaint small town with intricate architecture, nice canals, and lots of outside restaurants and venues perfect for beautiful summer evenings. Me and Jaxx did a canal cruise, checked out the boats in the harbor, saw Hangover 2, went to the mall (I picked up Puma’s new Summer Jam cologne), had some drinks and a kebab, and went to the post office because I had too much stuff with me after a year in China, some of which I mailed home and not inexpensively I might add, but it felt like I was carrying around bags of bricks around Europe which is definitely not kosher.
After a couple nights me and Jaxx parted ways and I headed down to Copenhagen on the bus early in the morning. I arrived in Copenhagen to a pristine summer afternoon and quickly found my hostel due to some luck/random direction asking of strangers. I at once checked in and headed out to explore, purchasing a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket again. These sight seeing busses are a common theme among Europes main cities. So, I was able to see the famous ‘little mermaid’ statue, the old canal neighborhood with patternistic multi-colored buildings, and many other landmarks. I also went to the Copenhagen jazz festival, a free outdoor concert series around town that lasts for a week. The palaces and churches were amazing, and I also tried some local brews. Speaking of beer, I toured the Carlsberg factory and took in the experience of what goes into beer brewing. The following day I went to the old castle situated on an immaculately layed out massive lawn, and Christiania. Christiania is a weird ‘hippie’ community of weed smokers and people who are kinda artists but not really, more like wannabe tiedy people and African dudes trying to make money off reggae attire/souvenirs. It was kind of weird, with people openly selling hash joints. When I arrived there was about 50 cops there doing there monthly walk around, so all of the sellers would pack up their stuff in one minute and hide when they got wind of police. Then after the police left, there would be lines, some up to 20+ people deep trying to get their spliffs. The best part of Copenhagen was the castles and palaces.
After an 8-hour bus ride I arrived in Berlin, in a biting sideways wind and chilling wind, as if it were October. To make matters worse, I didn’t have the directions to my hostel written down so I had to register with the free wi-fi at the bus station, and then proceed to walk in the rain to the subway station and find my way on three subways to my hostel. I stayed at the Circus Hostel at Rothenberger Platz, a great hostel with friendly staff and lively atmosphere. I met a lot of cool people here from many different countries. During the days I spent doing a walking tour (in the rain) and renting a bike and exploring. I saw several museums, astounding cathedrals, the Berlin Wall, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, the Brandenburg Gate, and City Hall. Many of these buildings have bullet and shrapnel wounds on their sides, and patches of cement from the multitude of wars and violent events that took place there. Berlin was a great city with the best kebabs I have ever had, crazy and interesting beers I had never heard of before, thousands of historic relics, an a happening nightlife.