“We just don’t pick $h*t people.”

Tour company assistant: Hi, how many in your group?
Jeff, scanning hostel buddies: Let’s see, 6, 7, 8, 9, uh 10… Looks like there’s 11 of us.
Tour company assistant: Okay, well we have to split you up if it’s more than a group of 6.
Jeff: But we’re all traveling together.
Tour company assistant: Well then if you’re all traveling together, you can handle being apart for four hours, can’t you?
Jeff: Alright, 4 of us. There’s definitely 4 of us.

Jeff, Cody, Erin and I had known each other forty minutes. We’d met at breakfast. It’s a wonder I made any friends at breakfast. It’s a wonder I made it to breakfast at all…

Erin was waiting for me in the lobby Tuesday night when I got to our Berlin hostel. I celebrated that getting on bus 142S does in fact take you to the same place as bus 142… Wasn’t quite sure about that halfway through the ride, and it was pouring rain outside.

We went out to find dinner- my first meal in Germany was a chicken burrito.

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We wandered further (why not), winding through nice restaurants, streets, metro stations. We spotted the giant lit-up television tower, which Erin called the “penis” immediately. It led to such sayings such as “let the penis guide you home” and “follow the light of the phallus.”

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Freaking north star, it was.

We also played “penis” on the streets of Berlin. What a great game.

I’ll pause here to say this post doesn’t really get any classier as it goes. A departure from the usual form.

We found the street full of prostitutes. Dozens and dozens were in short little skirts, tights, with big boobs and little black money belts worn on their backs. Only one was wearing jeans.

I consider pausing for a photoshoot of me on various corners. I’m in jeans I’ve worn too many days straight (they might’ve dyed my legs blue), and a beanie. And a scarf covered in ducks. Come to think of it, I hadn’t showered yet. Pay me? I’m a tax write-off at this point.

We got back to our hostel, which has an amazing rooftop bar. As we’d checked in, we’d gotten a free drink coupon, so redeeming them seemed like the logical step. Wine. Her red, mine white, the first cheers to “Being in Berlin!”

And a few minutes later, she said “I’ll buy the first round.”

Oh no, we’re doing rounds?

Second cheers: “To us!”

Third cheers: “To… no guys!”

Fourth cheers: “To being in a bar wearing a beanie!”

I’m not really sure what the actual fourth and fifth cheers were, we might’ve stopped caring to celebrate. Lesson learned: don’t consume more wine in one night than you’ve collectively drank in your life, and don’t choose the night you’re on the top bunk to do it.

But back to being a classy, respectable traveler. Did you know 50% of backpackers get drunk every night? Just an observation, no scientific fact.

Erin and I met for breakfast at 9:15a.m., shockingly, met Cody (from CA like me!) and Jeff (from Australia like Erin!) and got them to come along on the free walking tour.

Our little family unit was a blast. Super goofy. Beyond seeing everything historical Berlin has to offer, we saw Hotel Adlon, Michael Jackson baby hanging hotel – Erin wasn’t keen on my offer to reenact for a photo, and I was offering to be the baby.

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The tour was fantastic. It lasted four hours and was run by the same company that did the free tours in Prague, otherwise known as my future employer. Berlin tour photos to come.

After the tour, we ended up at a local bar the tour guide led us to (I know, you’re thinking really Janae, more?) but you could pour your own beer! And I sucked at it!

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After some secondhand shopping – two pairs of jeans now -Erin and I took the long route (code for lost route) home.

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Erin and I ended the night with our third, and sadly, last dinner with Prague friends Wade and Reid (I’ve committed to only making male friends with four-letter names). The waiter liked Erin. Erin poured our beers. He poured shots of oozo. Five each, to be exact.

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Thus, our other foursome dysfunctional family photo was taken not in the most flattering state. We’ll keep those on the memory card. It is pretty cute, though.

Erin and I have had a blast meeting people together. We think too similarly – “get out of my head, stop saying my thoughts!”

But my favorite thought of hers, when we talked about our great friends. “You gotta surround yourself with the good ones. We just don’t pick $h*t people.”

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