I shall begin this blog with a confession. I think I officially love soccer. I would still make a terrible soccer player, considering I can’t run and am terrified of getting injured either by a ball or someone else trying to get the ball, but it sure is fun to watch! Although, perhaps I only say this because watching Germany’s winning streak has been such a thrill!! (If reading about soccer bores you, fear not: I talk about other things later in this post :P)
So, Germany’s team won all of the ‘Group Phase’ games they played in…apparently, while they have done this before in the World Championships, this is a first for the European Competition. They played against Greece last night in the Quarter-Finals, and Sebastien and I went to the Fanmeile to watch, along with two other friends. We left about three hours before the game was going to begin, and the boys sipped on beer while we sat in front of the German Parliament Building. People aren’t allowed to bring beer into the Fanmeile, so they had to finish their drinks before we could enter the Fanmeile itself. Anyhow, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, and the Parliament building is quite the sight. I’m hoping to actually go inside sometime next week or the week after.
After that, we headed towards the security zone we had to pass through to get into the Fanmeile – they basically make sure you have no beer bottles or anything else dangerous. The area was quite a bit more crowded than last time I was here, considering the importance of the game. The following pictures are the area where people are quickly finishing off drinks before going through security.
After that, we hung out for a while longer in a grassy area before parking ourselves in front of one of the huge screens to watch the game. Beer inside the Fanmeile costs about 3.50 euro, which is considered highly expensive here. I’ve never tried to buy beer at a hockey game in Canada or anything, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s a lot more expensive than that. However, after the game when one of the guys bought two beers at a convenience store, he pointed out that he got both for 2.60, instead of paying 3.50 for one glass. My one triumph was that I didn’t have to use a portipotty this time, so I saved my 50 cents for other things!
I took a fair amount of pictures during our time at the Fanmeile, but I now realize that a lot of them are very repetitive from last time. So, I’ll try and keep it limited to the more artsy and perhaps unique ones.
Anyways, being at the Fanmeile makes the whole soccer experience so much more epic than just watching it at home. Before the game, during half-time, and after the game, there was tons of music being played, all of which is famous in Germany, and a fair bit of it from North America as well. I’m planning on writing another blog soon which gets a little more in depth about the music that is famous for being played at these soccer games…a lot of them originate from past Championships, and hardly any of which I had heard before coming to Germany. But everybody in the crowd is usually shouting out the lyrics to songs, and chanting things similar to what one would say at a hockey game (for instance, ‘Go Flames Go’ and such). I’m lucky enough to know the words to a fair amount of the songs so that I can yell along…however, there’s enough noise going on that I can usually follow the general pitch and go ‘oooahooahoo’ and nobody can tell the difference.
The game itself was extremely exciting. Within the first five minutes, one of Germany’s players was injured, and then the Greek goalie was given a bleeding nose in Germany’s attempt to get a goal. Everyone actually thought that we had a goal for a few seconds, before realizing it didn’t count. After those first five minutes things calmed down for a little while, but eventually we got a real goal! Someone threw their beer in the air so it sprayed on people, confetti was released from somewhere, and everyone was jumping up and down and screaming. This of course left us in a fantastic mood going into half-time. Unfortunately, shortly into the second half, Greece scored a goal…I have to say, it cracks me up how Greek the entire team looks. That of course sounds like a stupid statement, seeing as they come from Greece, but while a lot of the other teams seem to consist of people of various appearances, the Greek team members all have very thick dark hair and rather large heads.
The tie caused a litte bit of worry in the crowd, but we soon got another goal. Once again, beer and confetti was thrown and people jumped and screamed. By the third goal my friends and I all had our arms around each other jumping around in a circle, and by the fourth goal this was put into overdrive. Greece ended up scoring one other goal, but by then there wasn’t much hope. When the game was ended, there was more screaming and rejoicing, and the dancing began. Unfortunately, there were a few idiots in the crowd who decided it would be fun to light off fireworks…they were always a fair distance from my group, but it’s crazy to think that people are stupid enough to think that something like that wouldn’t be insanely dangerous in a huge crowd like that. But the amount of police there was impressive, and we didn’t see any fights break out, which was good. Our group gradually made our way through the crowd, while dancing and jumping in time to the music, before leaving the Fanmeile.
After that, we hung out for a fair while… the guys drank a few beers, and we went to an asian food place – it was the first time I’ve had any form of asian food since I left Canada! It was extremely tasty, but as soon as I return to Canada I am still going to need to make immediate trips to a Vietnamese Restaurant and Sushi Bar. Also ‘The Spaghetti Factory’ and ‘The Reef,’ but that’s not the same as asian food! We had a great time hanging out…I found I was able to engage a lot more in the conversation when it was less people 🙂 I of course always have a great time hanging out with Sebastien and friends, but it was a fantastic evening anyway.
On to other events…Earlier this week, I went on the ‘Lush Cosmetics’ website, and realized that there are actually five locations in Berlin, whereas I had only believed there to be one. I decided that finding each location would be a great excuse to explore more of the city, and began by seeing two of them the other day. I began at ‘Hackeshr Markt’ which I have walked through once, but was completely lost and confused at the time. This time, I had a map showing where the Lush location was, but found it very hard to find any streets referred to on the map. I decided to wander around for a little while, and found all sorts of side streets that had tons of cute shops.
After a while, I decided to stop inside a Starbucks…I was extremely embarrassed with myself for going into a Starbucks while in a foreign country, but this one was cool since it had two levels. Also, I had yet to try the new coconut chocolate frappuccino (which was DEFINITELY worth it!). While I was there, I asked how to find the street I was looking for, and it was just around the corner. And sure enough, there was Lush!
I think this is my favourite Lush location in Berlin so far…they keep their samples nice and fresh, it wasn’t too crowded, and the lady working there tried to help me practice my German instead of only talking in English (I told her I’m trying to learn). I then decided to walk to the next Lush location, since it was in the same area where I used to work (yes, you read that right, I wrote ‘used to work’…I’ll explain later :P). On the way, I discovered a ‘Doc Martens’ store!! I went inside and looked around – it was two floors worth of amazing Doc Martens boots! Every colour, every length…it was pretty fantastic. I already have my bright pink Doc Martens though, so I was just in there to admire. I also saw a store called ‘Vom Fass’ (which means ‘from tap’) which was a store where you could pour your own wine or olive oil. I thought that was pretty cool as well. I found the next Lush store pretty easily, but didn’t stay in there very long since it was a lot more crowded than the last one. My final stop of the day was to a ‘Birkenstocks’ store, where I bought my mother a pair of Birks 🙂
For those of you that have maintained interest up to this point, I shall briefly explain the job situation…while there were certain aspects of the waitressing job I really enjoyed (such as meeting people from all over the world, including Scotland and Australia), I did not appreciate the fact that I was not given tips after I had been promised them by my manager, and other workers were complaining about how late they got paid. I was also wary of the fact that my boss kept putting off signing any kind of contract – in the end, I was made to sign one in German without being given the chance to take it home to Sebastien to read over. But there was an incident where two men ran out on their bill, and I was called the next day and yelled at harshly by my boss, and told that perhaps I would be fired, but either way the money would definitely be coming out of my paycheque. As a result, I went to the restaurant with Sebastien (basically my knight in shining armour) and we waited for my boss to arrive so that I could quit. Even then, there were other employees also waiting for her so they could request their paycheques (which were over a week late), and when she arrived she attempted to avoid us for half an hour until we finally walked up to her car. Either way, I’m happy now that I’m away from that unpleasant situation, and am extremely looking forward to my travels coming up. Sebastien and I have officially booked our bus to London for the beginning of August – we’re hoping to stay with one of my friends from University while there, before heading to Scotland for the Worlds!
Anyways! I think I’ve beaten some sort of record for most written in a single blog entry 😛 I am now off to have dinner, and perhaps investigate today’s game – Spain versus France!