Today, was another one of those moments.
First off, we got to stay with Lilith from Berlin. She was also housing two other couchsurfers the same night and told us that there wasn't much room and that we would be sleeping on camping mats if we showed up....We were fine with that. (Couchsurfing.com needs more hosts like Lilith).
The other couchsurfers, Joel and Liz, were both on their own trips and were both from the U.S. and were both great. Lilith lived in the NE section of Berlin in an old apartment that predated WWII which is actually a rarity and a great gem to see considering much of Berlin was bombed and few of these apartments still remain.
The apartment had ceilings roughly 14 feet high and wood floors. The outside walls were also roughly 2 feet thick keeping the apartment temperature controlled year-round. It was another great historical "attraction" on my trip that I didn't consider.
The night I showed up (nearly midnight) ended after an improve dance party started by our host. :) It was hilarious. Lilith and Joel went to go brush their teeth when the cd turned to a loud dance beat. The two of them came out dancing like in a disco and we all joined. What a fun moment. I actually have it on video too. :)
The sleeping on the mats really wasn't bad because we were so exhausted from the previous day. I fell asleep right away but woke up early because of the sunlight and got up to do internet stuff anyway: video/photos.
Doug and I got up around 9ish and headed for the city center to walk around the gardens and see the Riechstag. Miraculous building. We decided that we were going to stay in a hostel tonight because we want to go to sleep early for an early wake up to catch a train to Prague so we scheduled a lunch with Lilith, Joel and Liz...but it was no ordinary lunch.
Now is the part of the story where my comfort zone went to the beach and left me at a neighborhood Vegan lunch buffet in Berlin. Let's just say the FDA and the Health Administration in the U.S. would not have approved of this luncheon.
The food, absolutely amazing. The atmosphere, one of a kind. The experience, one that I wish written words could describe. How about a photo? http://www.flickr.com/photos/30796964@N02/
With no tables or chairs and nearly 50 diners in attendance everyone found their eating spot in little groups on the sidewalk outside this little neighborhood gathering center. The feel of the environment was that of a large family reunion run by people speaking 4 different languages and many either having dredlocks or actually covered in actual paint (taking over an hour applying, yes, I asked them). They "did it just to do it." .........why not.
In order for us to even get a plate for the (2-5 euro meal...pay whatever you want between those two price ranges) we had to go into the communal kitchen and wash an already used plate. Yup, scrub with soap and sponge and then get in line (I am 100% not kidding). It was great. I was smiling the whole time and I fell in line as fast as I could.
I put heaps of food that I didn't recognize nor come close to pronouncing on my plate. I have never had a vegan meal but I actually went back and got seconds...it's ok, I put in the full 5 euros.
After the meal we all just kinda sat around and shared traveling stories and such. What a great time...let's see you do something like that by staying in your dull hotel. :)
I have many videos awaiting an upload but in 48 hours I'll be in Milan with a couple hours to spare. I plan on uploading all I can. :)
Stay Classy OKC.