Tuesday 26th October 2004 back to index

Fourteen miles an hour doesn't sound that fast, does it ?

Sitting comfortably in a car it would be considered a tad slow but when you're standing in an elevator being shot vertically upwards to a height of 203m in under ten seconds if feels pretty damn quick!

For a brief moment I was worrying about re-visiting my breakfast.

We had woken early and had an enjoyable breakfast at Hotel Agon.

They advertised a "hot buffet" breakfast but they only served warm scrambled egg with pieces of ham. The remaining cold buffet however was bountiful!

All the usual suspects were present; Cereals, Boiled eggs, toast & jam, sliced meats, soft cheese and so on. The only disappointment was the not-so-fresh orange juice. Of all the choices on offer the Rye bread with cheese slices quickly became my favourite Frühstück. (What a great word that is! "Frühstück" - that's German for Breakfast!)

Steve described the Rye bread as having the density of a black hole! Now that may make him sound very intelligent in a "Stephen Hawkins" kind of a way but he then proceeded to eat chocolate sponge cake for breakfast!?

I thought that was a very strange choice but perhaps he could argue that it was the eccentricity of his genius!

©Steve Jones

Whilst we're on the topic being eccentric, an innovative one-eyed beggar had trained his dog to wear sun shades and a DB (German Railway) hat.


The ploy worked well on us, as we are from a nation of dog lovers, and we gave him an Euro or two for his efforts. Actually we're from a nation of sheep lovers but the less said about that the better!

We had already noticed how wonderfully dog friendly the underground was. We had seen many many pooches on the trains and also a lot of bicycles?

What suprised us though were the undercover secret train stasi who lurked in plain clothes ready to pounce on ticket dodgers. We were spared a spot check but we had validated our tickets correctly anyway. Apparently it's a very hefty fine if you're caught!

By 9am we had arrived at the Fernsehturm TV tower just as it opened. We had the place to ourselves. Having been beamed up to the viewing platform at some velocity, with our stomachs ending up in our throats, the elevator doors opened and we were honoured with yet another "Wow" moment.

The views of Berlin from here were absolutely breathtaking! It felt as if we were in an alien aircraft hovering above the city and displayed in front of us was the city in all its glory.

I took two photos to show the contrasting architecture of Berlin. One followed Karl Marx Allee and Frankfurter Allee eastwards where harsh concrete tower blocks gave it a very Soviet feel, whereas to the North the red roofed houses with intricate inner courtyards and narrow streets was home to the Jewish quarter.

We could see the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate with the Tiergarten beyond. Nearer to us we towered above Berliner Dom and the museum island; and this was just our western view.

We walked around 360° taking it all in.

The Fernsehturm was completed in 1969 and stands at a total height of 368m.

Now whilst that's higher than the Eiffel tower, 118m of the TV tower is the spike above the globe! Or as many Germans describe it, the javelin spiked tennis ball!

There was a restaurant (Telecafe) on the upper floor but it was closed. Also there was a bar on the east side of the viewing platform, but sadly that was shut as well. It would have been quite an experience to have enjoyed a beer at this altitude!

Having completed the circle we simply had to go around again. This time though we planned our route, and from this altitude it was great! It just like looking at a map! We worked out where Hackescher Markt train station was located because we were aiming to be there for 10:30am to catch a walking tour. We also spotted a small outdoor market just below the TV tower.

Steve was on the lookout for an authentic eastern bloc furry hat, so the market was a must. And I had saw where the statue of Marx sat and Engles stood facing the tower. I hoped that they would provide a good photo opportunity. That was the plan, and that's exactly what we did!

On our way down the elevator guy told us that he went up and down over one hundred times a day.

Doing it once was enough for my stomach. What a crap job!

The market did not seem at all touristy and sold many local produce like Sauerkraut from out the barrel, fruit and vegetables, and other household items.

The furry hats he much coveted were unfortunately poor reproductions for the tourist market.

Then at the very end Steve's eyes lit up as he found a stall of Army and Navy surplus.

He rummaged around in a large bargain box where there were some furry hats that looked much more authentic.

They had a proper military look to them.

A deal was done for €12. Bargain!

A quick look at the time showed us that we had little under ten minutes left to meet up with the walking tour outside Coffeemamas at Hackescher Markt.

So we had to break into a quick march to get a snap shot of the Marx-Engels statues before hurrying over to the train station for 10:30am.

Whilst Karl Marx is well-known as the founding father of modern Communism I had never before heard of Friedrich Engels; but with a little research I learnt that he was a German socialist who collaborated often with Marx. He in fact edited the second and third editions of Marx's "Das Kapital".

What I found intriguing was that in his youth he assisted his father in running a cotton factory near Manchester, and wrote a paper entitled "Condition of the Working Class in England" in 1844. It's incredible what you can find on the internet!
A friend of Steve's had been to Berlin before and recommended joining a walking tour as a great way of absorbing the city's soul instead of just looking at the sights.


We decided to go for the Insider Tour above any of the other companies because their web pages looked the most professional! [www.insidertour.com]

From Messrs. Marx and Engels we were a few minutes away from Hackescher Markt so we sprung gazelle-like across the roads, in front cars and the unstoppable trams. We arrived outside Coffeemamas bang on 10:30am, or so we thought.

Our heads dropped with bitter disappointment when we could not see anything resembling a walking tour. Then to our relief we spotted two scruffy blokes with Insider Tour ID badges. "Ah, Insider Tour?" I asked. They both didn't look too pleased. One guy tutted, rolled his eyes and said "You're late."

It was now 10:33am and the group had already left the meeting point. Despite his obvious displeasure he was very kind enough to lead us; (although at a much brisker pace than a gazelle); towards the first stop on the walking tour. Luckily it wasn't far.

©Steve Jones

As we joined them, the group were in a park overlooking the museum island; listening to a story about medieval Berlin and its original city walls.

Our guide was called Nick. He was from London, but lived in Berlin. He had a touch of the Ben Eltons about him. (Ben Elton: UK alternative comedian) He looked nothing like him but had the same accent and the same banter going. Mr. Elton was well-known for his rapid fire delivery and political satire. That was Nick to a T.

"double seat, double seat, gotta get a double seat"!! (If you don't know Ben Elton then that will mean nothing to you!)

We weren't standing still for long. Hardly time to catch our breath before we were meandering in and out of playgrounds and tennis courts on our way to join Oranienburger strasse.

We came here to look at the Neue Synagogue, a focal point for the Jewish community in Berlin. When it was built in 1866 it was the largest Synagogue outside of Palestine, such was the size of the Jewish population.

It sadly also became the focal point in Berlin on the infamous Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) when on the 9th November 1938 frenzied hate-driven mobs throughout Germany looted and burnt Jewish homes, businesses and Synagogues. Nazi storm troopers rounded up thousands who were later sent to concentration camps. The Holocaust had begun.

In 1943 allied bombing destroyed the dome and some of the building. It was only as recent as 1995 when it was it fully reconstructed.

The dome is excepionally attractive, very moorish in its style.

Apparently inside there is a museum recounting the history of the Synagogue as well as depiciting Jewish life in Berlin.

A sign of the times with global terrorism and the continuing threat to the Jews are the armed police guards outside the Synagogue and the several crash barriers to repell any suicide bombers.

After Nick had finished his spiel we then followed him to the next stop; Tacheles. He had perfected the art of walking at high speed whilst holding a tobacco tin in one hand and his rizzla paper in another, rolling a cigarette whilst most of us had problems keeping up with him!

The Tacheles Arthouse has a bizarre history. It used to be a large department store until it was appropriated by the Nazis. It was then severely damaged during the second world war and remained in a derelict state.

In 1990 artists squatted in the ruins and it grew into the cultural centre that it is today. It houses contemporary exhibitions, experimental theatre and cinema and rents out studios and workshops.

We didn't get an opportunity to go inside but we walked around the back where a large open space exists in the absence of the original building.

A graffitied nose of a MIG fighter jet was left pointing upwards. Huge iron letters lay strewn across the floor in no particular order. It's art Jim, but not as we know it!

Whilst the graffitied side of the building was eye-catching enough, it still just looked like a bloody mess!

Somebody asked Nick about Berlin's nightlife and he told them of where some of the best hotspots are to be found, suggesting that they should perhaps go on the Insider Tour Bar Crawl! He did say that whatever you're looking for you'll find in Berlin. Even those places where they hand you a surgical glove as you enter!?

He also explained to us why some of the little men they have on the "Walk/Don't Walk" signs are different to the standard international symbol.

Apparently, after reunification, they were all heading for the Traffic Light Men heaven in the sky when nostalgic Berliners organised a huge campaign to save him. Mr Green and Mr Red were saved.

From here we crossed the River Spree and walked beneath Friedrichstrasse station. A checkpoint allowing the movement of people from West Berlin into the East (and back again) existed here, and part of that building remains.

It's now a home for musical performances, although not for long as it is earmarked for re-development. i.e. demolishing and have something made from glass and concrete built in its place!

A little further along the spree we came to the back of the Reichstag building. We stopped over a bronze line which showed where the buffer zone started and then we stepped in the 20m wide death strip.

©Steve Jones

There was an incredible amount of new buildings going up. All parts of the government and built from the symbolically transparent glass.

Nick told us that President Chirac of France was in town today and was due at the Reichstag some time.

We walked to the front of the Reichstag and was shocked at the length of the queue! The ones at the back must have been looking at over 4 hours of waiting! How demoralising. Surely nothing is worth that amount of time wasted?

Steve and I were extremely glad we visited last night!

Nick was a mind of information about the history of the Reichstag but strangely the fact that stuck in my mind the most was when he pointed out a statue of a pig on the building!

Another interesting fact that I remember is that after the end of the First World War, on the 9th November 1919 two seperate groups declared themselves to be the new government of Germany. The communist party and a democratic(?) group. In true democratic style all the communists were shot dead and the Weimar Government was born. (They were called the Weimar Government because initially they were based in a town called Weimar.) Fascinating stuff.

Oh, even more fascinating were Hitler's plans to construct an enormous dome, called The Great Hall, which would have been 250 meters high and seven times broader than St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

It was supposed to be large enough for 170,000 people and the sweat and heat produced by those people was thought to be able to generate clouds and rain inside the dome! What utter madness!

We walked from the Reichstag through a part of the Tiergarten, on our way to see the Brandenburg Gate. It was very pretty in its autumnal colours.

The old gate didn't quite have the same presence as it did last night.

The view from the west side is not the best because you only get to see the back of the godesses head; and there's no denying the difference good lighting does for it!

What was interesting however was to see for the first time the line of cobblestones that represented where the Wall use to stand.

I risked life and limb taking this photo here because it is in the middle of the road!

Nick mentioned that they were in the process of building a new American Embassy here and had requested a 100m exclusion zone to protect it. They were granted only 50m because otherwise a part of the Brandenburg Gate would have to of been removed to accomodate it! He was at his satirical best on this topic!

Opposite this site was another building project. We had caught a sneak preview of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This vast open space was filled with large blocks of stone, giving the impresson of a cemetary. It was near completion but looked very odd indeed.

I guess it's easy to ridicule it for being far too conceptaulised and impractical but I suppose it's a nation saying 'SORRY' and as such should be applauded.

Visitors will be free to walk between the blocks and feel a sense of solitude and loss.

The blocks were of varying sizes and some appeared to be over 6ft, taller than the average man. I don't know about solitude or loss but I'm know that I would feel very intimidated and claustophobic in the middle of this memorial, which is probably its intention.

One thing it isn't, and that's pretty to look at. It does have a feeling of 'death' about it.

A scale model of the memorial site seem to suggest that beneath it will be a Holocaust museum which will be poignant in the extreme I'm sure.

The Jews will at least have a lasting memorial in the very heart of the German capital.

As we walked around the corner from the memorial, down Ministergarten, heading towards a block of flats, Steve and I were reminiscing about golden TV moments. He recalled a gem when Sir John Gielgud and Leslie Phillips (another actor from the same mould) appeared on TFI Friday reciting the lyrics to the Spice Girls song 'Wannabe' in the style of a Shakespearian play.

Steve, who has a talent for accents, reinacted the sketch to perfection: "I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really Really really wanna zigazig aaah." It was hilarious!

Then just as he finished his recital Nick said "We are now standing above Hitler's Bunker".

That was a strange feeling. One minute laughing out aloud, the next dealing with the thoughts of standing over Hitler's infamous bunker where he met his death.

It was now nothing but a car park with no plaque to bring any attention to the site. Berliners had been wondering if something was required but decided to just let it be which I thought was the best solution.

Nothing much remains of the bunker below, only a layer of concrete that was once the floor.

©Steve Jones

Nick recounted the final days of Hitler's life in great detail. It's peculiar how morbidly interested in the subject we all were. I tried as hard as I could to be bored by it all but I was really intrigued by the details of how Hitler married Eva Braun; just before they both committed suicide, and that we now stood where their petrol doused bodies burnt to a cinder.

I can remember a rumour in the Seventies that Hitler was alive and well, and living in Paraguay selling Guinea Pigs to Peruvian restaurants but Nick explained that the Russians had identified his body from dental records soon after the end of the War. What ever was left of Hitler's remains probably still exists in Moscow somewhere!?

We continued with our walk down Wilhelmstrasse and stopped by a huge building that was one of the few Nazi buildings to have survived the Second World War; the Reich's Ministry of Aviation. The commander in chief was Hermann Göring.

Built in 1936 one would have expected this to have been completely flattened as a justified military target. How on earth did it survive? The shrapnel damage still peppering the walls still haunts the building.

During the cold war, because it stood in the east, a large mural celebrating Socialism was painted across one end of the building portaying the East Berliners as happy comrades.

At the opposite end, just across the street, was a preserved part of the Berlin Wall. It had been hacked away by countless souvenir hunters or 'wallpeckers', all wanting a piece of the wall. It now stood protected behind an iron fence.

The Topography of Terrors was located here. It's home to a "History of the Berlin Wall" museum.

After the photo op we walked along Zimmerstrasse where Franco Frank was waiting for us with his collection of authentic original pieces of the Berlin Wall.

Would you trust a man who calls himself Franco Frank?

Anyway Nick assured us the guy was genuine, showed us a picture of Frank pecking away at a part of the wall, and persuaded most of us to part with our money in return of some lump of concrete.

I bought a €3 fragment whilst Steve went for a presentation card complete with a photo of the Brandenburg Gate when the wall came down, postal stamp, and a piece of the wall, all wrapped in cling film. Marketed as 'rarities' and costing €5.

Whether my piece was genuine or not I didn't really care, but as we walked down towards Friedrichstrasse the blindingly obvious was rammed home when we saw a pile concrete rubble off the back of a lorry.

All I'd need do was get a paint brush and hey presto, Original Berlin Wall! I wouldn't be lying either, as rubble originally use to be part of a wall in Berlin! (It was reassuring to note that the concrete mix was different between the rubble and the genuine.)

We had now reached probably one of the most legendary part of the city; Checkpoint Charlie.

Popularised by countless espionage books this checkpoint was one of several official border crossings but only one of two for foreigners and diplomats.

In 1961 a very tense situation developed here when Russian tanks and American tanks faced each other in a famous stand-off. The Thirld World War was on the verge of exploding into reality.

None of what we see there today are original, only copies of what it used to look like back in the early days of Berlin's division. The originals were removed in 1990 and are now kept at the Allied Museum.

There is also a Checkpoint Charlie museum right opposite the guardhouse called Mauermuseum Haus .

We were given a fifteen minute break to take a look at Charlie and also have a lunch break.

Steve and I spent approxiamtely twelve minutes around the border control hut which only gave us three minutes for lunch!

We joined the rest of the tour at Stolinsky's Deli where I proceeded to shovel a Greek salad and pour a pint of lager down my throat in record time.

I should have won a T-shirt or something for my efforts!

Steve was far more aware and opted only for the liquid lunch.

Belching like troopers we followed everyone up Friederichstrasse and across Mohrenstrasse, where we ended up this large open square.

Flanking it were three impressive classical buildings, Deutscher Dom, Französischer Dom and the Konzerthaus.

This was Gendarmenmarkt and for the first time Berlin had the feel of a traditional European Capital.

The two cathedrals (Dom) were built during the 18th Century and the concert hall was completed in 1821.

Inevitably most of the square had been badly damaged or completely destroyed during the Second World War.

It wasn't until 1984, in time for Berlin's 750th anniversary, that the Gendarmenmarkt was reopened with the reconstructed buildings. The Deutscher Dom however was only re-opened as recent as 1996.

The statue in the middle is of a German poet Friedrich Schiller. It wasn't exactly the Fontana di Trevi but I did find the South West facing statue to have the perfect pose of boredom with the backdrop of all the constant building work that's taking place.

The last stop on this incredible history lesson was the site of the Royal Palace. It's nothing more than an archaelogical site at present but Nick said that plans are afoot to rebuild the palace and to help with the funding every Berliner must contribute about €40 each.

When it's finished it will be a great reason to return to Berlin!

Opposite the Royal Palace site is the old east German "People's Palace". It was a hideous building that was built to house the Politburo (government) as well as provide communal facilities to its citizens.

It's going to be demolished soon having recently re-opened for a symbolic thousand days. (Because it took them a thousand days to build or something.) Nick said that he has been inside and went on a bizarre Gondola ride through its cellars?

His parting shot was a recomendation of somewhere to eat on a budget. He suggested a cafe called the Cheese King or Kaise Koenig. He did add a quick disclaimer accepting no responsibility for dodgy tummies!

Had we have known that it was located on "Pan-o-rama"strasse then perhaps we wouldn't have gone but Steve had yet to have lunch so we decided to give it a go.

We found it without too much problem as it was near the base of the Fernsehturm TV Tower. It didn't look at all inviting from the outside but we entered anyway, enticed by the beer pumps mostly!

Inside it was quite busy with locals which is always a good sign!

In the far end of the room a robust dinner lady was serving the food from stainless steel buckets. All of a sudden I wasn't very hungry, but I had only just eaten. Steve hadn't had anything to eat since the chocolate sponge cake this morning so he tentively stepped up to the counter.

I'd gone to the bar to avoid adding pressure to the situation whilst Steve entered delicate negotiations about the origins of the food on offer. He told me that communcation was only acheived through pointing and grunting, quite literally when she "Oinked" like a pig!

Steve could now order with confidence knowing that it was pork in his schnitzel!

When he sat down to eat he couldn't fault it. Even the mushy looking sprouts with pieces of ham tasted really good! Apparently they looked over cooked and foul but on the inside they had retained their crispness. I took his word for it, but they still looked like fart fodder to me!

We were now begining to tire and it was only 2:30pm! We had covered quite some distance, and at a very brisk pace. It was too early to return to the hotel for a siesta so we decided to revisit Checkpoint Charlie and go into the museum.

However, before leaving this neck of the woods, I wanted to visit the oldest Jewish cemetery in Berlin. Apparently Moses Mendelssohn was buried here.

It wasn't far from Hackescher Markt, on Grossen Hamburger Strasse. I had seen photos of a haunting piece of work and wanted to see it for myself.

We found it without too much difficulty and I was glad that we made the effort although I have to admit to being slightly disappointed because I was expecting something similar to the Jewish Cemetery in Prague, which is an incredibly atmospheric and eery place with countless headstones.

(Where did this morbid fascination about graveyards come from? I'm not too sure what to think about myself? I suppose it's in us all, is it not?)

None of the original cemetery survived the Second World War. It's now a green open space memorial with the statues and a single headstone, upon which people had built up a pile of stones. We added to the pile.

We caught the train to Kochstrasse which brought us to right outside the Checkpoint Charlie musuem.

The entrance fee was €7 each and we also hired an audio guide for €3. It was a shame that I couldn't take my camera in because it was full of objects that were used during escape attempts to get over or under the wall. It was fascinating to see the clever ways of smuggling people through checkpoints. Cars with concealed hiding places, a chair (which Steve sat in) that was attached to a pully system hung from an East Berlin roof to a West Berlin roof, and a shopping basket used by a "westie" mother to smuggle through her "Ostie" baby.

On the negative side, most of the items on display were just photographs on the walls, and our audio guide did drone on and on about each one; but it was still incredible to see these picture of daring attempts to make it across the death strip. With the border guards ordered to "shoot to kill" it showed how desperate they must have been to risk their lives to reach loved ones in the west. Many didn't make it.

Peter Fechter was shot in his attempt and lay feet away from the West. He was still alive and cried out to be helped. He was left unattended for over an hour until the East German guards came for him. He bled to death.

I was also a shock to see the barbaric weapons used to stop people from escaping. A trip wire was laid in the no-man's land that would puncture the vicitm with over a hundred pellets. Another trap lay beneath the river Spree where spiked mesh was planted to snag anyone who thought they could swim across.

You leave here with an overwhelming sense of how determined the people were to escape, and how hell-bent the authorities were on keeping them in the East.

It was 6pm by the time we returned to our hotel room. We were absolutetly knackered. We decided to have a kip for a few hours and set an alarm for 8pm but talked mostly for the two hours. Steve must have been lacking some blood sugar or something because he started babbling insanely; off on concurrent tangents!

The alarm went off at 8pm and we hadn't slept at all, but at least our weary feet had been given a rest.

So we got up, showered and went out to paint the town red. We were a five minute walk from THE place to be in the hippest city in Europe. Friedrichshain and in particular Simon Dache Strasse was listed in most Berlin guide's as being "where it's at". So off we went to find some nightlife.

©Steve Jones

The street was full of bars and restaurants and we were spoilt for choice. We could have had a beer in a gothic Metal bar, no really! Peering in through the window I'm sure I could see lurking in the corner, in the dim flickering candle light, a vampire drinkning a pint of blood!

Or how's this for bad taste, ... a Lee Harvey Oswald bar!? We didn't dare go inside either one of them and yes, I'm not afraid to say that I was too scared to enter!

Steve rescued me from walking into another bar as he noticed a sign outside saying that it was a "Women's Only" night.That was lucky! I would rather have walked into some murderer tribute bar than stumble into a den of feminiscity and face a hundred looks that kill!

However before we could start drinking we needed to line our stomachs with some food. Once again we were spoilt for choice with Indian, Caribbean, and many other flavous, but predictably we went for an Itaian!

Just off Simon Dache Strasse on Krossenerstrasse was a classy looking trattoria called "Ciao, Ciao". It was fairly quiet, in fact the whole area wasn't at all busy. The food here was great. We shared a margueritta pizza and then I had Pappardelle con funghi which was absolutely delicious and Steve had an entrecot of beef.

Our bill was just under €40 which I thought was very reasonable, especially as it included a large lager, a large dark ale, and a large glass of red wine, and Steve had three large lagers.

We almost thought about just staying at Ciao Ciao as the beer was reasonable, but we moved on in the hope of finding some livelier.

We didn't go far, in fact the first bar we came across was Hundretwasser, on the corner of Krossenerstrasse and Simon Dache Strasse. It was also surprisingly quiet.

We aimed for two stools by the bar, and that's where we sat for the next few hours.

We struck up a conversation with the Barman. His name was Walter. Steve asked him "Are you a Pole Vaulter?"

©Steve Jones
©Steve Jones

"No, I'm a German from Bavaria" he answered "but how did you know my name was Walter?"

Oh, how we laughed!

(Actually; to be truthful, it didn't quite happen like that. The reality was that Walter was not present at the time and Steve did both the voices! But how we laughed!)

What was true was that he was from Bavaria. He admitted to being a Bayern Munich supporter which Steve and I, (both devoted Manchester United fans), had great pleasure in reminiscing about 1999 and that fantastic European Cup final in Barcelona where United beat Bayern 2-1, scoring their two goals in the final two minutes of the game!

We even sang the terrace song "Who put the ball in the Germans net ? (rpt x2) ... Ole Gunnar Solskjaer"! We did sympathised with Walter though, offering our comiserations. He was a good sport and wasn't offended. Thankfully!

I was feeling the pace and was a whole beer behind guzzling Steve. I had ordered an Erdinger lager only because they came in this fantastic foot tall glass, but I had to cancel my order becuase I'd simply reached saturation. We both liked the glases so much, and as there wasn't a cat's chance in hell of stuffing them monsters down our trousers without looking extremely suspicous, we asked if we could buy those sexy glasses.

Walter went to speak to the Turkish owner who was sitting at a table in the bar, and the deal was done. We pay for the beer, but get the glass instead. We were happy with the arrangement.

As we left Steve shook the owner's hand and said "Thanks Eric". Now I know he didn't know his name, so there must have been a joke in there somewhere!

Our bill came to €26 which seemed very cheap for an evening of drinking. We decided to return tomorrow night.

On the way back to the hotel I phoned Julie who wasn't in the best of moods. Ethel, our long haired Persian cat was suffering from runny pooh, and Julie doesn't do shit. Having to wipe or even bathe the cat because she'd messed herself is not the most pleasant of jobs!

I don't know if it was the fact that Julie was very upset or I was visualising the shit all over Ethel's backside, but as soon as I hung up I threw up! It shot out of my mouth like a jet wash. Projectile vomit on par with the Exorcist!

We were just outside another cafe bar at the time so I couldn't stop to do the business, I had to carry on walking. Whoosh. Another vomit squirted out on a 2 metre trajectory. Steve could hardly stand up with the laughter. He swore that he had never seen anything like it before in his life!

Once the vomitting stopped, I felt great, but Steve was in agony with rib ache from the laughing!

We finally made it safely to the hotel without getting arrested and were asleep before midnight. This was meant to be our "peak of the week" and we had planned on staying out "really late", but we couldn't hack it! We're getting old!

The last thing I remember before fading into slumber was listening to Baron von Grossenburger in the other bed singing songs from the Sound of Music!!?

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