This is a thoroughly boring report, but this was what I hope will be the most boring part of the trip – so just a few notes.
Just finished up in Germany; a week working out of Leipzig (staying in Halle, which is a bit of a hike away but the shuttlebus made it utterly painless getting back and forth) at the Games Convention and then a couple nights checking out Dresden and then a single night in Berlin.
I didn’t see any of Leipzig or Halle outside of work commitments but postcards I saw of Halle looked nice.
I’ve wanted to go to Dresden for ages, mostly out of the same World War 2-inspired curiosity that drove me to places like Normandy and Hiroshima. It was almost completely destroyed in 1945; fire raged through it for 3 days destroying many classic old buildings. I did a quick bus tour; the most common phrase I heard was “destroyed in 1945” or “burnt down in 1945” – most of the buildings in the city centre are reconstructions of the originals. They still look fantastic, of course.
The city reminded me a lot of Prague; it has a similar sort of look and feel to it. I only had one full day there and spent most of the time just wandering around the inner city looking at all the various buildings. I also found an Australian-themed restaurant called Ayers Rock which served Bundaberg Rum, so I finished up both nights I was there having a couple of drinks there (I know, I should be drinking German beer, but I was jonesing).
After that I ducked up to Berlin, from where I would fly out to Athens. I’d already been to Berlin a couple years ago for the World Cup so really it was just a night there killing time. I was impressed with my memory – I stayed in the same hotel I did last time and managed to walk to it pretty much unaided and everything was where I thought.
Then I decided to walk to the Brandenburg Gate – last time I was there it was all weird because they’d take up a lot of that area with World Cup stuff. Unfortunately my memory failed me here and I took off in the wrong direction – I’d walked almost a kilometre before I realised and then had to walk back. Shit.
Spent the rest of the time relaxing and trying a local Indian restaurant (which was very average and very expensive). Went out to the airport which I was expecting to be huge, but it was a tiny dive that was really cramped. I screwed up and got there about 1.5 hours too early as well – flying is so lame once you’ve become used to the awesomeness that is the German Rail system.
I am now in Athens, Greece – wandering the Acropolis and the narrow streets while I wait for our boat trip around the islands to kick off.