Football and festivals, sorry fleamarkets.

16:06 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

3rd April, 7pm, Garden of the Hostel

I'm having to make a conscious effort to find the time to write this journal. There is lots going on but I really don't want to forget any of it. I started the day off with a run along Boxhagener Platz, which was the punk heart of Berlin before gentrification kicked in. After that I had some croissants and fresh orange juice at the Ostbahnof Flohmarkt. It was a typical affair with lots of books, military paraphernalia, tonnes of postcards and other dated junk.

The main event this afternoon was the Match between Hertha Berlin and Paderburn. On my way to the stadium I spied a rollerblading race happening in the Tiergarten. I love all the random stuff that goes on in Berlin.

Before I went to the match, I visited some Architecture built by Le Corbusier. It was good to see for me personally, but I don't have much else to say about it here! (looking at buildings doesn't translate to an interesting blog).

The atmosphere outside the Olympic Stadium was quite different to what I've experienced in the UK. There's no litter and there are plenty of families, staff and facilities. People are allowed to drink alcohol freely and there is no trouble. However, just like home, everything is overpriced.

Inside the stadium there was an attendance of about 71,000, which is unbelievable for a second division match. The atmosphere was great. On the downside, it seemed like all 71,000 of them smoked like chimneys. The only respite from the smoke was when everyone twirled their scarves in the air and wafted a bit of fresh air about. They were by far the liveliest home crowd I've been in. The whole crowd were orchestrated and everybody sang. I was sat in the Ostkurve, where the 'Ultras' stand. They are constantly bouncing and waving flags. I managed to miss the kick-off because I was busy watching the crowd. The actual football was fairly forgettable, but Hertha won 2-0 which only added to the atmosphere.

(...and breathe)

This being Germany, there was extra public transport laid on for the football fans and I was able to catch an S-bahn train as soon as I left the ground. I headed of to Mauer Park Flohmarkt, which Johanna from the Tarantino party had recommended. This 'fleamarket' was absolutely mental. There were hundreds of stalls and thousands of shoppers/sunbathers/revellers.

Everyone was drinking, dancing and barbecuing. The entertainment was provided by random mucisians, your circus types, a basketball match and a huge karaoke forum. People got up there and belted out their favourite songs in front of an audience of hundreds. The crowd was always supportive. I guess it'd be gutting to get booed by the crowd the size of a small festival. A hill on the side of the park faces west, allowing everyone to soak up the sun and enjoy the sunset. This place was unexpected and really special.

(this was the audience for the karaoke)

The main negative for me so far has been the hostel experience. The hostel itself is fine but I'm not enjoying sharing a room with so many unknown people. I could have got lucky with the people I guess but it wasn't to be this time. And I've got a random rash on my arm.
I'm going to make a real effort with the Prague Pub Crawl I've got planned. I want to make friends who would hopefully want to spend some more time together.

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