Thursday, November 29, 2007

Song de jour!!

Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse - Valerie

Is it as good as the original by the Zutons????

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FHTW Berlin

Since i've been here almost 3 months now, I think its time I wrote about the university i'm in.

FHTW stands for "Fachhochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft", which basically means University of Applied Sciences. The main campus, where i'm located is on Treskowallee in East Berlin, not too far from where I live., thankfully! The first things I was told about the college building itself were that is was cold, grey, dark and dull, which it is, but that was coming from someone who's been there for 3 years. However when I first seen it I thought it looked pretty alright. Yes, it was old and now that winter has settled in, it does look quite dark, but at the time all I could see was the German architecture and the kind of building you saw in movies made about the area. I was fascinated with the different faces and heads carved on the outside walls and just the general appearance of the thing.

Thats just the main building but the whole campus itself is bigger. There's also the language building (which is genuinely ugly, regardless of which way you look at it or the time of year) and the computer building which are separate from the main campus. It lively enough and has all the usual college campus stuff like a cafeteria etc etc. The picture below is the centre of the campus, in other words behind the main building in the above picture.

The college has been in existence in some shape or form since 1874 and like DIT, came around with the unification of smaller institutes. I'm finding it hard to get information on the buildings themselves but from what I can tell it was always a college. I also cant find much on how it was affected by the war but i'll keep looking. The college has just under 10,000 students, half of which are located where I am. They mostly do engineering and design courses. They even have their own fashion label, 30paarhaen, designed and run by the students.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


What is the point of a sliced pan with 5 SLICES!!!! What do ya do with the last slice when you've made 2 sandwiches???

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Greatest day....EVER!!!

I should say before I begin that if you don't have an interest in cars and the band 'The Hives' then you probably wont be as excited as I was.

It started like any other any other Wednesday. I had a meeting with a group i'm doing a presentation with at 10.30 and then I was off for the day. While on the bus tour with the parents last Sunday I seen a part of the city I hadn't explored yet so I thought i'd go and have a look. It was a nice part of town on the west side of the city and after a few mistakes on the train and 5 different train stations later, I eventually found the street I was looking for.

This is where things got interesting. Since it was a nice part of town, there were a lot of nice cars! There were a few Porches, Bentlys and the odd Mercedes for good measure. But then I heard a strange noise, something i'd never heard before. At first I thought it was the old dog sitting beside me waiting to cross the road, but then I realised it was one of these flying past me...

A Porsche Carrera GT!!! I'd only ever seen pictures and then there was one whissing past me. AND THE NOISE!!!! I had to sit down for a second and just try to figure out what just happened!!!

So after I regained consciousness, so to speak, I kept walking and came upon a Mercedes store. Then it happened all over again, except the noise. There was one of these in the window....

A Mercedes McClaren SLR Convertible!!!! Again, I have never seen one of these in the flesh, not to mention the convertible model!! So I stood there for a while and drooled and wished and hoped and imagined!! After being asked to leave for the 5th time I decided to maybe move on. What I hadn't noticed when I walked in was a car parked on the street that looked like this...

A Ferrari Hamann 612!! Now a normal Ferrari 612 would've been incredible, but one of these was just unbelievable!! Amazed that I could still walk at this stage, I 'staggered' down the street when all of a sudden I came across a BMW store. I think you can see where this is going!! There, in the window, was the brand new...

BMW M3!!! I didn't know there was a new one. And there it was!! The Mercedes store had obviously warned them about me and after the police were called I thought that it might be for the best if I went on my way!!

So after all that car stuff had finally calmed down and I was safely on a train home, I stopped off in a department store to pick up a present for someone who shall remain nameless in case they're reading this!!! As I got on an escalator to go to the next floor, I looked behind me and noticed that the guy behind me was very familiar. "He looks a lot like Pelle Almqvist, the lead singer from The Hives!", I thought to myself. And on a second inspection I realised it was!! And then I noticed his friend looked surprisingly like the guitarist from The Hives, which he was. But as usual when I see someone famous, I never have the guts to go up to them. Regardless it was a great way to end a great day.

Front Fell Off

I really cant tell whether this is legit or just a skit. From what I know the accident actually happened but still not sure about the interview. Any opinions??

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm the lead singer of 'Terminal Margaret'!!!!

Quality Mighty Boosh

Only 4 days to go....

I'm making an impromptu trip back home next weekend. I decided to last week just to catch up with friends, get more winter clothes and because the flights were cheap!!! So I leave on Friday morning and get back to Berlin on the Monday. Unlike my last flying visit to Ireland, i'll spend most of my time in Castleblayney, instead of wandering aimlessly through the countryside looking for the N7!!!

The parents came over the visit me for the weekend which was really great. I hadn't seen them since I left and considering I was away for the summer, I haven't seen a whole lot of them at all recently. They got in on Saturday morning and despite their early flight, got stuck into seeing what Berlin had to offer. We got round to the usual sightseeing like the Brandenburg Gate, KaDeWe etc. We had a really nice German meal that night in Lutter & Wegner just beside the Sony Center. I had an incredible black pudding starter that was a meal in itself.

The next day we took a bus tour around the city. It was the best and quickest way to see the further out parts of the city and seeing how everything is closed on Sunday, it was the best thing to do. After that we walked to the Reichstag and the Hauptbahnof train station. We took a quick train journey to see the Tv Tower. At 207.3m its definitely the highest grounded bar i've ever had a drink in!! After recovering from popped ears we headed to Corroboree, a nice Australian restaurant that came highly recommended by my cousin Conor (Captain Fuchsia). And after a quality plate of Blackened Chicken we called it a night and headed home.

The weekend before that I was in Basel visiting Barry and Eva. 3 of the girls from Dublin joined me so there was a good group of us heading down. I took the train down which was quite enjoyable and the girls followed the next morning by plane. I made the point of reserving a window seat on the train so I could see the countryside as I went. However when I got onboard and found my seat, my window was in fact a window frame!!! And not just any window frame!! This frame spanned the whole area between my seat and the seat in front of me, so I couldn't see anything!!! So after some quiet mumbling cursing the lady who reserved the seat for me I got up and went in search of a free window. I eventually came across an empty compartment all to myself. So I settled down and had a great trip through Germany.

We spent most of the weekend walking around Basel, showing the girls the sights and the markets. One the funniest, strangest parts of the trip was going to France!! Basel is right on the border with Germany, France and Switzerland so after a short tram journey you can get out and walk to France or Germany. And seeing how we're living in Germany we decided to go to France instead. Unfortunately it was Sunday and everything was closed so not much happened on our wild trek to France. that night though we had a cracking fondue in Barry and Evas.

Thats all the news for the minute. Sorry for the long post but I haven't been very up to date with my blogging recently but hopefully that'll improve. Till next time...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A chop with a difference!!

I've been putting it off for a while now due to the lack of German linguistic talent but my hair was getting a wee bit out of control. So I did the only normal thing a person like me can do in this situation. I googled "English speaking hairdressers berlin" and after a bit of searching I found this article in The Economist City Guides. The author talked about a place called Notaufnahme and said that the staff was Enligh speaking and it seemed quite interesting from the description he gave. So I googled the address, found the nearest metro station and off i went.

It look a little longer than I thought it would to get there but I found it eventually. In the article he said "The salon’s interior resembles an emergency room; relax on a hospital-style bed and listen to chill-out music while waiting for your blow-dry.", which had me very intrigued and excited. I had images of beds from ER and people running around with hairdryers and, despite warnings from parents, scissors!!!! But when I arrived, the only hospital reference was two beds which were used as a waiting area, and a instrument trolley that they used for the book with all the bookings. He was right about the music though.

Despite not making an appointment I was seen too rather quickly. The coolest thing happened after i had my hair washed. Instead of drying your hair with a towel, they sort of wiped off the excess water and put a hat type thing on your head!! It only dawned on me then how many people were wearing hats. I just assumed they were cold. The girl brought me to my chair and after a minute or two, the guy came over and started doing his thing. I was a bit dissapointed when the hat was taken off because it just became a normal hair cut after that. The novelty had gone. However, he did exactly what he was asked and it was only €12 which isn't bad for a salon cut. Well compared to Ireland anyway!!!

Off to Basel this weekend to see Barry (The Swiss Job) and Eva (The Golden Shrimp). I decided to get the train down and fly back. It was much cheaper that way and I still get to see the countryside and travel on a high speed train. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

They don't call them Pub 'Crawls' for nothin!!!

Being the very loyal and faithful student that I am, I jumped at the oppurtunity when the college organised a Pub Crawl for us! I saw this as a perfect oppurtunity to learn about the German culture and to meet some of the local peoples. Oh and the 4 pubs had something to do with it as well, but for arguments sake i'll say it was the culture.

We met in a place called Fat Tire Bike Tours which turned out to be the company who organised the pub crawls (Their mission statement is "Walking is stupid" Classic!!!). Bit of an unusual start but interesting none the less. We stocked up on beer and began the crawl around 8.30. It legal to drink alcohol on the streets so there was no let up!!

The first stop was a bar called Ping Pong. This was hands down, one of the coolest bars i'd ever been in. It was quite small but the main feature was a single ping pong table in the front room. After paying a €5 deposit to the barman and receiving my paddle I made my way to the table. Now this isn't just any game of ping pong, the one game can involve the whole bar. Basically everyone walks around the table and takes turns hitting the ball until it finally whittles down to two final players who play till one person loses the play five times. It was incredible and it was funny to see how into it some people were!! The bar itself was very under-decorated with wires hanging here and there and none of the furniture matched. It was a refereshing change from the usual kind of bar you find. And the music was really good as well!!

We only stayed there for an hour or so and then we made our way, hesitantly, to a bar that specialised in Absinthe. For those of you who dont know, I recommend you click the link and read about it. Its basically a liquor with 80% alcohol and is known to cause hallucenations. I was a bit wary at first, but then I thoguth "When in Rome!!" and had one, or two. Its actually not as bad as I thought it would be. It's not just a straight shot, thankfully!! First you dip a sugarcube on a spoon into the glass and let it get soaked in alcohol. The you take it out, light it and wait for it to melt. Then put the sugar back into the glass, still on fire, and stir it. When you're happy that its well mixed, pour in a small measure of water to put out the flames. That bit is important because if you dont... well lets just say your throat would be pretty soar. After that, its down the hatch!!

We stayed there for a while and then moved onto the third bar. I actually dont remember the name of this place because I think the Absinthe had kicked it. I was paying that much attention either as we were being lead everywhere so you just had to follow. I decided to take it easy at this point and skipped the drink at this place. I should also point out that between each bar, the tour guides were giving out shots along the way. The funny thing was, it's illegal to pour shots into glasses in public, so we had to stand there with our mouths open and let them pour it in. Really weird but quite funny looking back.

After the third bar we made our way to our final stop. A night club who's name escapes me at the minute. It was pretty standard, except for this picture under the DJ booth...


Apparantly they worship him over here. People were offering to take our picture beside him!!! We politely declined. We hung around there for a while then made the long trek home!! Overall a very good night and i'm proud to say that I didn't crawl once!!