Category Archives: Germany

The Polaroid Adventure

So for various reasons I decided I wanted to get a Polaroid camera, I had one way back, let us leave it at that, and with the retro wave has been going a while now Polaroid film is easy to come by again.

It was easy enough finding the camera I wanted on eBay, getting things shipped to Norway however, is not always cheap. Especially when customs get their hands on it and wants their cut as well. As luck would have it I was going to Berlin in the very near future, so I checked with Angela, whose place I’d be staying at if it was OK to get it shipped to hers. It was, so off to the German eBay it was, I found a camera sold by a reputable store, paid and had it shipped.

It was the perfect setup, the camera would be waiting for me when I arrived and excitement and fun would be had. I still checked the tracking every hour or so, because of course, I did. Making allowances for the Christmas craze in shipping time, it still seemed like it would arrive before me.

I left Bergen which was a small adventure in itself, delayed flights and all. The delay was somewhat minor but still made me extra appreciative when I finally landed and made it to Angela’s apartment, which meant awesome company and coffee, but no camera.

The first evening was spent getting some dinner at a great Mexican place, staffed by Brits because of Berlin. After the food, there was a food coma then sleep. Waking up the second day there first was coffee followed by some urban sightseeing on foot because I am me after all. After a few hours and a few photos with my Canon (G7X MII) making me curse DHL and their slow delivery with every shot I. After a few hours of this I got a text from Natalie asking if I had any plans this afternoon/evening, which I did not, so after a bit of back and forth deciding on a plan, Natalie suggested going to one of the Christmas markets. The plan was made, I grabbed a muffin to sustain myself while expertly navigating the Berlin public transport system (there is an app for everything) and met up with Natalie without incident at the U Bahn stop by the market.

We made our way there, and it was the NORDIC Christmas market! This seems to have become a recurring thing, with Olivia and Brian taking me to a Welsh pub as the first place to eat when I arrived in St. Charles in the US.

I was now surrounded by gløgg, reindeer sausages, moose sausages, and all things stereotypical of the Nordic countries. Every booth had a flag to represent the food and drink they were serving. The Norwegian one served the usual and what was probably a decent fish burger, at least judging by the smell, in addition to Akevitt. The latter was left well alone, both by me and Natalie, I did suggest she try it, but she wisely decided against it.

Angela joined us and we eventually left the market and made our way around the neighborhood, found some food and in the end ending up at a Burlesque club that had just opened. Angela knew a guy there and they technically had not quite opened yet, but he let us enjoy the luxury of a heated room. There was no show at the club currently and upon making our way inside, we found circus memorabilia which included various clown things. So Natalie left, partly because of this and also because she was knackered and wanted to chill on a couch and nap.

When we got home to Angela’s apartment I took it upon myself to write a politely worded complaint to DHL regarding their tardiness on delivering my camera, the second such complaint I had made to them. However, this being a Friday evening I did not expect a response before the following Monday.

Saturday was another fun filled day, Angela and I had lunch at Shakespeare and Son’s then roamed around looking for some hard to find ingredients needed for the Christmas dinner she is hosting on Tuesday. We ended the day by going to see Thor Ragnarok at an awesome quaint independent cinema and got home right around 1 am. I almost immediately went to bed awaiting a new day filled with fun and adventure.

I woke up, put some clothes on and there sitting on the table was a package and Angela just said, Merry Christmas… DHL had three trucks outside the apartment so I was not the only one that would be pleasantly surprised this day it seemed.

But the camera had ARRIVED. I had two packs of film ready to go, and now I am out and about in Berlin itching to use it.

I’ve already taken three shots, one of which was given away. One to test the camera in Angela’s apartment, two at Shakespeare and Sons because DOGS.

So after a small period of waiting, in which plenty of fun was had, I now have a Polaroid camera again…

I continued my urban sightseeing now armed with a working vintage camera, I was happy.. then I saw an awesome couple on the U Bahn and asked if I could take a photo of them, because while a Polaroid camera is awesome, stealthy it is not, so to avoid awkwardness I asked, I pressed the button and the picture came halfway out, so I needed to pull it carefully the rest of the way. They then asked if I could take on for them as well. Which I did, this one did not come out at all… rollers had jammed.

I finagled it out carefully, but it seemed like the motor for the rollers had died… A diagnosis that was later, sadly, confirmed.

I slinked back to Angela’s apartment to ditch the now-defunct camera, blaming the couple for asking me to take another picture… post hoc ergo propter hoc. After a bit of pouting I sat down at my usual hangout in Berlin, Shakespeare and Sons, found another Polaroid Spectra on eBay listed for a bit cheaper and then ordered it promptly. Because despite the disappointment of the camera failing, it was a joy to use and felt awesome to have again.

This camera will be delivered to my address in Norway, and it was cheap enough that there will be no import tax on it.

So the saga will continue…

Berlin, the return

So at the very beginning of this month (November) two of my best friends and I headed to Berlin for a week. Now initially I was going to Berlin to celebrate a friends birthday, one who just happens to live in Berlin… thus the journey. If you’re reading, Hi Nat!

Then as I was planning and getting my vacation days approved from work Amanda Palmer was suddenly stopping by Berlin for a gig, and just one day before my planned arrival, so I quickly shifted my plans to accommodate this.

Somewhere in between deciding to head to Berlin for Nat’s birthday and discovering that Amanda Palmer was playing a gig my two of my best friends had joined the trip. So we were now a trio going.

Now one of these friends is my oldest friend, she’s hung around and put up with me for the longest… yet somehow this would be the first time that we’ve ever done any travelling together…. and there are different kinds of travelling personalities and these do not present themselves before you are actually travelling… and so it was with a small amount of trepidation that I set out on this trip with my friends… luckily it all worked out, we had a splendid time… some minor tiffs were had.. of course but even friends, or perhaps friends especially, can get on your nerves… sometimes they even intentionally do so… for their own amusement the blighted bastards. However, I am digressing, back to the trip…

We flew to Berlin the same day as the gig was, landing a mere 2 hours and 45 minutes before the doors opened, we collected our bags at the airport and got a taxi to the Airbnb place.

One Tiff:

I was quite impatient to get to the gig since I wanted to meet up with people before the concert actually started and my friends had to change clothes and fix a few things… and I became quite impatient as the minutes ticked away with seemingly little progress in getting us closer to the venue.

We got there a few minutes after the doors had opened and everything generally worked out since the place was not packed, crowded yes…but not packed.. and we had a great time… save for a few idiots at the concert (not friends of mine.)

I was a bit nervous in introducing my travelling friends to my other friends from the AFP fan groups… as someone in the fan-group once said ..”I’m bringing my  boyfriend with me to an AFP gig and meeting you guys… it feels like bringing him home to my parents.”

So my friends would be thrown into the deep end of the AFP-fandom pool, sink or swim… or run away screaming. After a few minutes inside the venue, I quickly found Nat, Megan, Angela and others from the group some had come early and was at the front but I had easier access to the bar and not too far from the stage a nearly perfect compromise.

The gig was hilarious, funny, fantastic and emotional… laughs, tears, alcohol and friends… all very excellent save for one thing.

Let me ask you this. If you attend a concert of the rock and cabaret variety. Would you be shocked when the audience sang along and talked amongst themselves between songs, generally when the artist(s) just bantered with the audience? Would you be annoyed to the point of being fucking obnoxiously rude?

I hope your answer is no because it is the only correct one…

It wasn’t just the fact that the guy was asking us to not sing along and/or shut the fuck up… it was the way he did it. Long story short, there was a fucking (yes the expletives are warranted) obnoxious guy next to us… some fun people too though so on balance not so bad.

So the concert was winding down, and I stayed behind with Megan to get things signed by and meet Amanda. It took quite some time but while queueing  I met some of the others from the fan group and had a blast talking with them as well, so time passed quickly.

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Megan is excited

After that, Megan and I met up with the rest of us, which at this moment consisted of myself, Megan, Nat, Gry and Benedicte. Now I could write at length about the events of this evening but I won’t… what I will tell you is that Benedicte had discovered that Pfeffi was a thing and that it was, I think.. the memory is a bit fuzzy, either 2 or 3€ per. shot… and so we had many of them… getting everyone to their respective homes/beds became a struggle, but it all ended well.

On the second day of travel…. I got sick, somewhat self-inflicted during the events of the previous night, in fact, me Gry and Benedicte all got sick… but it took some time before the lurgy* took full effect. So the second day was not so bad we recovered from the hangovers and went to a brunch/lunch with some of the people from the AFP fan group before leaving for some of their various destinations home. After that, me Gry and Benedicte went sightseeing. At some point, I sent them off to the East Side Gallery while I hunted for coffee. I’d visited it on my last trip, so I didn’t want to lessen the impact it had initially had on me by going again and being blasé about it.

lurgy
ˈləːɡi/

noun

BRITISH, humorous
  1. an unspecified or indeterminate illness.
    “I had caught the dreaded lurgy

One of the days I just hung out with Angela and somehow ended up doing some tech support (willingly) my revenge was making her spend money. I had my Wacom Bamboo Spark with me, and I think it took all of 2 minutes from when I showed it to her until she had ordered one for herself off Amazon.

I also introduced Shakespeare & Sons, an impressive bookshop and café, to both Nat and Angela… Angela bought something there as well. Jokingly we agreed that my trip to Berlin had become somewhat expensive for her. 

The rest of our stay in Berlin was a combination of drunkenness, Nat’s birthday party comes to mind. Sightseeing and museums and just experiencing Berlin with my friends… we did not get to do it all. Which means that I’ll just have to go back again and again and again….

The penultimate day however we had booked a tour of the Reichstag late in the evening, however as the time to leave the apartment approached I really did not feel like I had the energy to move, walk or even think. The lurgy had blossomed. So while feeling slightly guilty about cancelling on Gry and Benedicte, that was at this moment lounging on the couch wrapped in layers and layers of blankets, I sheepishly told them that I was not up for it and that they should just go without me. The moment I mentioned it, the relief in their entire being was palpable. Like puncturing a balloon, my decision to not go made all of us just collapse in a heap of listless human beings. None of us did anything that day.

Berlin is one of my favourite destinations if you do visit the city make sure to stop by Shakespeare & Sons… epic bagels and tea.