European Vacation II Day 6 Copenhagen to Berlin, Germany

It was a rough morning, that was for sure. We had to be out by noon and we just made it out in time. Our flight was later that afternoon so we walked around for a bit before languishing in the airport. Everyone was pretty hung over so we just slept it off for a couple of hours, then boarded another easyJet. I’m still amazed at how inexpensive and quick these trips were to different countries. In a bit over an hour we touched down in Berlin. We did have to pass a window to get a stamp, but it wasn’t too much security other than they looked at your passport and reservations.

I had purchased Kraftwerk’s Autobahn on my phone prior to landing and I decided that I’d only listen to this one bands’ record while I was in their home country. I am glad I did, the city seemed to ooze at the same rhythm as their music. Aiding me was the fact that the title song was over 20 minutes which helped as we hopelessly tried to figure out the German rail map. It seemed to be several circles overlapping each other and at key points you could change directions further out or closer to, downtown. We got lost and had to hail a cab.

The real security awaited us at the hotel. We were staying in city centre near the Brandenburg Gate and many memorials to a divided Germany. Obama was in town and apparently some of his entourage was staying in our hotel, too, though he was staying in a much more presidential hotel. We were greeted at the door by multiple security and were told we would have to show passport and key upon request for the entire weekend.

We were still restless so we began to wander about the area where we encountered several closed or closing bars. We were pointed in a general area by one helpful German and soon found a very hip throwback bar. It was 50’s styled but filtered through German experience. We drank several pints and discussed our options at an outside table. Hardly anybody out in this part of town. I guess we were in the business district, not the party Berlin I’d heard about from a few rock stars

I felt uncomfortable with all the extra security measures and we agreed to get out soon. We booked a flight for the next morning to Amsterdam. Haha going from 1 security extreme to another. From max security a la ‘show me your papers, papers please!’ to do whatever you want.

Advertisements

European Vacation II Day 5 Copenhell festival

Today was the day, Hellfest, my first European festival! We had instructions on how to bus to the festival as it was just outside the city. We walked over to the apartment where we hung out with Patton. The ladies needed to get ready so we had a couple of beers and I stepped outside to up my levels. We walked over several arches above the waters en route to a bus. This bus would drop us off at another bus that would only pickup and drop off at the festival.

The fields were near an industrial side of the city. We queued up to the will call area and quickly we had all access badges. As we navigated security I was struck at how Nordic, how Viking like everyone looked. Most had long blonde hair that flapped in the wind. Black was the only color 98% of the attendees wore, which made Abigail’s hot pink pants stand out even more, they were like a lighthouse beacon so we could always find her. Nearly everything was different and better at European festival. The men used open urinals in a star like shape that could accommodate tens of guys peeing in a small area. Beer was draft and you could buy 5 pints that fit inside a cardboard carrier. A whole lot easier to get beers for everyone when they are so easy to carry. 

Our meeting spot became a church like structure in just about the middle of the festival grounds. It wasn’t a church since all the crosses were inverted. I think this structure sole reason for being was as a meeting place. I don’t think anything was for sale inside, it was just an empty structure for added ambiance. There were many smaller booths were you could buy just about any obscure band shirt sticker or patch for sale. I thought that was very cool. You had vendors who likely went around to metal fests selling smaller bands merch. It just seemed like Europe has a huge indie metal community.

We set up and caught Down’s set while drinking beer. I upped my levels in the crowd, no one cared. I’d never heard much of Down’s music, but they were very good live. I am not a fan of Amon Amarth who were on next. They just seemed to check all the boxes on metal for me. They also reminded me of modern-day vikings, pillaging our eardrums. I am a huge fan of Every Time I Die and enjoyed their set a lot. King Diamond was the headliner and who we had come to see rock today.

We met Thom near the stage and he introduced us to the gate guy, this is the person to know at any venue. He let us walk backstage and out front for their entire show. After the show we all met up backstage and were soon bused back to the band’s hotel. A lot of beer and weed made for a late night out and walk back, still daylight.

European Vacation II Day 4 Copenhagen

We woke up mid morning and walked over to a recommended breakfast spot the ladies wanted to try called Granola. It was all locally sourced, organic foods. It was good and over bites of food, we plotted our day. The ladies wanted to see the mermaid and shop, guys wanted to just walk around, wind up at Carlsberg brewery in a few hours. We figured out a main road to walk on that would take us to the brewery and slowly began walking. I took a moment to up my levels and ducked into a playground. Surrounding the equipment was a treelined, circle fence that I walked and smoked, away from kids and anyone else. I was stunned to see many syringes and other harder drug debris so close to a children’s school.

We enjoyed the wonderful Carlsberg compound. Large buildings, lush green areas and trees surrounded the grounds. They were immense! We finally located the brew house and got pints. They had a special dark beer as well as Elephant, a stronger ABV brew. Both were served by a rather nice Irishman who we tried to get to talk as often as we could. That accent was great. In my European travels, the Irish were the ones behind the bar most often.

After a fancy dinner along the pier, we split up again to prepare for the last night before the big rock show. On the walk back, I saw a Hard Rock Café and had to go in. My brother is a HRC pin collector so it is always nice to pick him up another city pin. The guys ended up meeting at our hotel. We bought beers from a small store and drank them out front. We encountered lots of ladies starting their shifts as well as a man who rode a pallet jack down the big hill in front of our hotel, hooting and hollering the whole way down.

After several beers we walked over to Viking Bar. It seems my gold chain became a beacon as a lady very obviously tried to hug me around the neck with the aim to remove it. We chatted up some Irishmen who bought shots. After awhile they claimed to be IRA and who knows. What I do know is that when I asked if Ireland was still in the UK, one of them walked away, but soon came back with shots. He kept saying ok ok ok no no no UK. I asked as every map I’d seen since I was a youngun merely labeled the whole island UK, it was never broken into individual countries. After a brief history lesson I was keen that Northern Ireland is in the UK but the rest of the country was independent. Read up on where you are going so you don’t make this mistake.

It was June in Denmark and the land is closer to the Arctic. This mean summer was nearly light all day. The sun dipped to just about sunset and then came back up. So 2 AM looked a lot like early evening. We had good directions back to our hotel so we three set out. I took several sunrise shots as we turned the corner to our hotel.  A lady of the night put her hands on my crotch and squeezed. We tumbled to the ground. Only after we got back to the hotel did I check for my phone. Sure enough she had lifted it. It was also the only time I put my phone into my front hoodie pocket. Watch out on the road, the ladies are slippery.

European Vacation II Day 3 London to Copenhagen, Denmark

We woke up and took turns with our morning shower routines. We hit up a local spot for breakfast. I had a traditional English breakfast of eggs, beans, sausage and fries. It was most excellent and fit into my strategy for saving money. If you ate a big, filling breakfast, you didn’t have to eat much of a lunch. Snacking was the best option until dinner so you really only ate twice per day, the other times just snack.

We walked to the train station and procured tickets. Bay waited in a longer line to talk to a person and wound up buying a full ticket. Carlos and I were turned away at the gate to the train to the airport. When traveling by train, it is best to talk to a person to get the full fare ticket to your ultimate destination. You will save a lot of time and embarrassment at being turned away at a turnstile. There are usually 2 fees to get into an airport: 1 the actual tram ride to the airport, 2 airport tax, fee to enter the airport.

We boarded the plane after an extended walk and wait in the duty free shops. Over an hour we walked and waited. They for sure did this on purpose so people will shop for souvenirs, cigarettes and alcohol whilst waiting for their flight. I purchased some post cards and had enough time to fill them out, buy stamps and get them into the post. Luckily they thought to include stamps and post at the airport.

easyJet is the Southwest Airlines of Europe. Everything was al la cart so you paid for only what was consumed on the flight. Sodas, nuts, fruits and full meals were available for purchase. We bought tickets only hours before yet we were seated up front, amongst the first to get off. I found this a bit odd given the other flights I’ve had in the US, the later the purchase, the further back of the airplane you sat. The ticket price was fair, about $50 for a hour and a half flight.

We landed in Copenhagen around 2 pm local time. We found the train to city centre and got on. We had previously research this leg so we knew which stop to get off so we could walk to the hotel. The first thing I noticed as we exited the train station was how many bicycles there were. Hundreds of bikes, not locked, lined the entrance in many neat rows. We truly were in bike friendly land. The ocean air was crisp too, smelled fresh and cool.

We walked several blocks to our hotel. We discovered that we were in the Red Light district so there were a lot of friendly females, spaced out guys wandering around and things generally could have used a good scrub, cleaning. It was several block walk, so we had a couple encounters, people asking for a Euro, change. Since there was a 1€ coin, you could drop any coin in someone’s cup and they would have to look at it to see how generous they were as the range was a penny to a dollar.

We hadn’t been in the room for longer than ten minutes when the phone rang. I answered and it was the lobby guy stating that Thom and Patton where waiting in the lobby if we could come down. Wow, what timing! We quickly got ready and headed to the elevator.

This was only a partial group reunion. In total there were, Patton, Abigail, Olive, Bay, Carlos and I who were there to see and hang out with Thom, who was on tour. Our group of guys was headed over to the shopping district to meet the ladies. After a fairly long walk over some bridges, through narrow streets, it was determined that a bar would be the best meeting spot. We settled on a pub and ordered the local beer, Tuborg. It was delicious and I haven’t seen it since Denmark.

After a round of pints, the ladies joined us for a couple more. We were very talkative and excited about being in this wonderful new country. It was then decided to walk over to the other’s apartment. It was very nice, in a cool part of town. We used the opportunity to search easyJet’s website and secure tickets to our next destination: Berlin. All done, by phone, whilst I was peeing in a century old toilet, complete with pull chain flushing box. A collision of new and old things and ways.

Our friends were a few block walk from what would become one of my favorite places; Christiania. I didn’t know anything about it, only that we could get hash there. I came to find out that it is one of the least restrictive places on the planet. There are only three rules: No photography, no running,  and have fun. It was an incorporated, dilapidated part of the city that a group of hippies took control of. A few times they had to fight off the government but they had a very good point: no one was maintaining this part of town anyway, why not let us run it how we wish? We got a few bottles of Christiania beer, and chilled under an awning while it rained.

After procuring a few hash and tobacco rolls, they called them Amsterdams here, the ladies split off again to eat at some restaurant, we men headed to a metal spot known as the Viking Bar. Many pints later found us at McDonalds for a Mac attack. We caught quite a show from a couple local ladies, both in very short skirts who could only communicate by leaning way over the counter, to the point there skirts road all the way up, all the way. A fine way to top the evening!