Six and the city

Any lack of excitement from the rather disappointing riots on May Day was more than made up for with the arrival of six girls from Ireland for the weekend. I met Jessie on the platform at Kottbusser Tor and was quickly introduced to the rest of the gang who'd already made themselves at home by parking themselves outside an Imbiss and ordering a load of beer.
The names I promptly forgot but was made to remember over the following days - Eibhlin, Gillian, Amanda, Cara and Fiona with the heart of gold and sturdy eyes.
The beer didn't last long and so we'd to get more.
"Will we get a crate?" enquired Fiona, still cursed with that Irish panic we might run out and be left with our tongues hanging out gasping for another.
"Not at all. You're in Berlin now," I replied. "There's beer in all the shops, you can drink in the streets and the pubs never close."
I explained you can simply buy another beer when the one you're drinking is finished. There's no need to build up stockpiles in anticipation of the bar closing without the prospect of more.
"Wow. Berlin's great!" They were happy. We got more beer. Then more, and then more again.
Walking through the crowds we took in the ambiance of Kreuzberg on May Day. Oranienstraße jammed with punks and pacifists, anti-fa and weirdos, swaying to the beats of techno, traders taking advantage, scenewatchers in overlooking balconies. One guy stumbled into the middle, whipped his lad out and pissed right in front of everyone. Crowds morphing around. He whipped it back, stumbled back to his place and looked around blinking as if wondering where he was, already oblivious to what he'd just done; the crowd too, his pool already spread by a hundred passing footsteps.

In the square as we all sat on a bench sipping more beers I was asked if I needed help.
"You can't handle six women on your own!" pointed out a young Turkish fella playing the Good Samaritan. Very considerate. Suddenly about eight of his buddies surrounded the bench, willing to help out too. Okay, time to go!
We sought refuge from them and the rain in a quiet café. More beer, Jägermeisters and before long the café sought refuge from us in the rain. Cara, who has arms for legs and legs for arms, fell over backwards as she was sitting on the floor. The others fell around laughing. Remembering hip dudes, she then put on a show with her own, posing like a catwalk queen long after we stopped taking photos. "You can stop now Cara. We've enough photos." No matter.
Fiona slid down the stairs, and soon everyone was joining in the fun, fighting over whose go it was on the banisters and sliding down as quickly as the level of conversation. Weeeeeeee!!!! Happy smiles all round. We left before we were asked to leave.

I'd been looking forward to the riots, but they really were quite disappointing. I'm sure even the Polizei were a little underwhelmed. There were hundreds of them, all decked out in intimidating riot gear and simply begging for a hint of trouble.
We did get shoved and heckled, as they tried make the area as uncomfortable as possible, just itching for a good old-fashioned scrap. I saw a couple of them hit out at people who didn't take kindly to being pushed or shoved. A few years ago I would have reacted but the years have made me wiser; it's better in most cases just to move along. So we left once we got pissed off being shoved around without a burning car or Molotov cocktail in sight. Very disappointing as I mentioned before. I've a mind to write a strongly-worded letter of complaint.

I wasn't complaining when Jessie gave me three boxes of Barry's Tea. Three boxes. Almost 500 bags of tea! I'm going to have to stop writing about all the presents I'm getting because it's getting out of hand.
Unfortunately (or thankfully from my liver's point of view) I'd to work so was unable to stay out all night as the girls seemed to do every night they were here. It took poor Fiona three hours to walk home what would normally take five minutes one morning when she stumbled in at 11am, frightening the living Scheiße out of workers on her way when she burst into an office in her pink tights and short skirt to demand: "Internet!"
Other hi-jinx included dancing on tables and the loss of a wallet and glasses (not mine this time and thankfully recovered), as the girls made the most of what Berlin has to offer, offering hoch fünfs to everyone and anyone who'd hoch fünf back.

It's very hard to leave this city once you arrive, and so it proved with the cancellation of their flights due to a smoking mountain hundreds of miles away. "That's a plane in the ash," they were told as they wondered how they'd get home.

Jessie and Fiona stayed, meaning they could actually see a bit of Berlin in the daylight. (Myself and Jessie had already been exploring Spreepark on the Sunday, but more on that later.)
We got back in touch with our friends at Alternative Berlin and embarked on the Twilight Tour of all the places one shouldn't go. Abandoned breweries, graffiti galleries, freaky caves, dolls floating in baths, groping around in the dark, tripping over bricks, hopping over fences, climbing over pipes and out of holes - it really was an eye-opening affair, especially at the end when we were brought to bar of hackers and geeks, hacking and geeking as if the future of the planet depended on it. Apparently they're looking into the existence of a UFO 4.5 billion years old under Alexanderplatz. Well, it wouldn't surprise me to be honest.

I was wrecked by the end of the week, but a happy wrecked and sorry to see them go home. Riots? Forget Kreuzberg. A week in Berlin with six crazy Irish girls was always going to be riot. I'm sure they're already planning their next visit. Hoch fünf!


  1. no one wants anything from the turks and/or any part them of Europe,

    seems having the Turks in EU is like having a donkey fly a plane, it a bit it true. Are they a pack of donkeys, each and every single Turk !!!,,you can't handle six women... the muppet...why didn't you show him you man-boobs

    not that Eire is Europe in my view

    gorgeous Irish women they are

  2. Ciaran you are such a legend. This is brilliant and the rest of you blog is just as deadly.

    Your description of Berlin in the sunshine has not left my head... would love to get over again soon. Will defo get in contact if i get over again for the sequel...

    Thanks again for your wonderful hospitality.

    The Sturdy Eye

  3. hey there! i found your blog on expat blogs. i'm going to berlin this week. i'm so psyched! i'm trying to figure out what to see where to go.

    "pubs never close"? define never! :)

    "You can't handle six women on your own!" haha that sounds pretty much like a "turkish knacker". they always make me laugh... from a distance.

    @anonymous: i doubt that you met each and every single turk on the planet. chances are, you just saw a couple (or dozen) of knackers in germany and decided to enlighten the world wide web with your generalizations. you sound irish and if you are, i'm disappointed.

  4. I have met every Turk!!, they were in my french class. Of course not, just pushing the envelope and nudging the PC bar off its rack..

    As sloper will tell ya
    all this dialogue here in this realm is light hearted noting heavy/serious/malevolent intended,generalizations included, I'm sorry but I'm not apologizing

  5. ah jokes. yeah. calling an entire nation (each and every single one of them) a pack of donkeys is not light hearted. nor is it nothing heavy/serious/malevolent. i have lots of irish friends, i like the irish and your attitude just disappointed me. i don't need you to apologize, i just wanted you to know. i will not discuss any further.

  6. Sturdy Eye - You're more than welcome! Will look forward to your next visit.

    Person who is not my Freud - Pubs never close as in there are pubs open 24 hours in Berlin. They're usually pretty depressing though. Better to go to the pubs which at least have an opportunity to clean their toilets! Most of the action's on the streets though.
    You couldn't have picked a better week to come over (although I seem to say that every time visitors arrive). Karneval der Kulturen kicks off in Kreuzberg this Friday, going on for the whole weekend! Celebrating knackers and all their cultures from all over the world, Turkey included. It's always crazy and great fun.

    Anonymous - You're a muppet. You shouldn't apologise for not being sorry.

  7. i'll be there tomorrow! yaaay! i'm excited.

    what kind of action is there on the streets and which streets are these? (apart from the carnival, i'm gonna be there anyway)

    are there any pubs that you'd recommend?

  8. The streets in and around Friedrichshain are good, around Simon-Dach Straße which also has loads of café/bars. Or Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Burg always has something going on. Just go to the Spätkauf, pick up a couple of bottles of beer, and follow your nose or the sound of clinking bottles.
    I wouldn't dare recommend any pubs, but if you check out or you will get listings on all the concerts, events etc going on, many of them free.

  9. Hi I am a psychology student in Ireland and would love to use one of the images you have here in a study I am designing. Would that be ok, it's the picture of the girls smoking at the top of the page ( I need images of people smoking!) Thanks

  10. Hey 1, I'm sure that's fine, but only one of them is actually smoking. But yeah, work away. I'm always willing to help psychology students in distress.


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