The Blablacar dropped me off in Kassel, Germany which is about an hours drive to the South. Kassel would only be a pitstop on the way to Berlin, the largest city in the country. The reason for my overnight visit to Kassel was to visit my friend Clara. I met Clara in South Africa last year along with Gesa at Mama Zulu’s. We had many fun times together back in the Western Cape! What’s interesting was that her younger brother lived in Michigan for about a year as an exchange student.
Clara and her boyfriend picked me up near Kassel and took me back to her place. There I met her brother and mother and they immediately fed me dinner. (All my European friends thus far know that I love to eat. I haven’t gone hungry since I stepped foot on the continent!) More importantly, I came to Kassel to deliver some Pop-Tarts that Clara has been asking for ever since I left South Africa (You can’t find them in Germany.) I went to bed right after dinner and woke up to the smell of pancakes the next morning. Not the crepes the Europeans call pancakes, but good ol’ traditional American style pancakes! Clara knows how to please her guest!
Kassel is a city filled with statues representing icons from greek mythology. The most famous statue is that of Hercules. His statue rests at the top of a hill that looks over Kassel. You can see it from far away, even from the city center. Clara thought we’d do a short hike to Hercules tower.
The way to Hercules was short but sweet. The trail began from the foot of a long park that went uphill past museums and gardens.
Eventually we made it to a cascading waterfall. However, the water only runs on Sundays. We were one day late! At the top of the cascades, you could see Hercules standing tall on top of a big building. We made it to the top of the cascades and went as far as we were able to go. There were people fixing the path and blocked our way, but that didn’t stop me from climbing up the mountain of rocks just ahead.
I didn’t have too much time in Kassel before my bus left to Berlin. Clara showed me a few more hotspots around the town that ended with ice cream. I wish I could have stayed longer, Kassel is a cool clean place and Clara was a great host for the time. Thanks for taking care of me Clara!
I booked a Meinfernbus for a seven hour journey to East Germany. I took a motion pill and passed out for the majority of the ride there. Once I made it to the bus station, I looked around for my friend Elisa. If you recall, I met Elisa last year in Vietnam. She volunteered there teaching with me for a couple of weeks. She was actually the very first German I told that I was coming this year for Oktoberfest. I saw a girl with fiery red hair at the bus station that resembled Elisa. I walked up and called out “Zarbitter”, her nickname, and then she looked up. It was her but I hardly recognized her!
It was cool seeing her again. Out of all the people I stayed with in Europe, it’s been the longest since I’ve seen her. We walked to the underground station and took a sub to her flat near the west of Berlin. I dropped off my heavy bags and we went off into town. Elisa was all about showing me the non touristy things and I was all about that. We went to an area called Raw Gelände, a dark, grungy, kinda creepy, yet very interesting place in a dark area of the city. It looked like a scene straight out of a horror movie. I also felt like a demented clown was going to pop out at any moment and chase after us. Yet we walked through. I was intrigued by how eerie it was and that we were the only ones there.
I asked Elisa what this place was all about. She explained that it’s usually a popular night spot in this part of town, but since it was a Monday, no one was here. It appeared to be abandoned; almost like a creepy clowns hideout.
We exited Raw Gelände and walked to the Berlin Wall. THE Berlin Wall which was nothing like I expected it to look like. There was graffiti painted along the entire thing…a work of art really. Elisa told me artists from all over the world came to paint on it.
So far Berlin seemed very promising. It really was different compared to most of the European cities I’ve been in already. Whatever area I was in, I like to refer to it as Grunge City, because thats the vibe I got the entire time. It was different, but really interesting. Tourists don’t usually enter Grunge City, but remember, I’m no tourist, I’m an adventurist. 🙂
The road to Oktoberfest continues!