261. Amsterdam Pub Crawl

CJ and LD looking fab!

Given we were now living in close quarters with a bunch of other travellers whose job was to organise pub crawls, we thought it would be rude not to join in. Plus we got a discount. I’ve become quite fond of these touristy pub crawls – guaranteed rentacrowd, you don’t have to think about where to go, and the price:free drinks ratio is very good. Especially this one.

We worked our way through everything from a grunge irish rock music theme bar, to an Australian themed club to quirky wine bars with hipster DJs on miniature balconies

It was a really fun night, and we made friends with some hilarious Amurrrcans and the people running it were actually so disorganised we managed to cram in quite a few extra venues.

I must say though, Amsterdam in the summer is just chock full of dudes. Guys, if you are looking for girls, you are only going to find them in windows! And just as common as those windows, were packs of beer loving (as evidenced by the size of their bellies) packs of “The Lads” looking like they were on stag do’s. Sights like these were not at all uncommon:

Whichever one of his friends told him he could pull off spandex was wrong

Another cycle bar

Skin coloured shark costume?

For the first time on one of these things I could actually knew who the organisers were, which kind of made me feel really sorry for them – they were tired, sober and bored, having been out to the same few bars every single night for the last few months at least. Didn’t stop us having a great time, eh CJ?

228. Get Collectively Dumped

I’m not gonna say it was love at first sight, but we became pretty fast friends with a guy staying at our hostel. In what was going to be a quiet night, with a few drinks at the bar before bed, a nice young chap from the US of A came up and said hi. Before we knew it we were teaching him to play our drinking games, translating our kiwi lingo for him and just generally having a laugh.

Mike, an architect from Chicago, who didn’t watch How I Met Your Mother (Ted Mosby jokes fell flat), seemed to find our banter pretty hilarious, and by sheer coincidence we ran into him the next day whilst sightseeing. It seems New Zealanders have become exponentially more endearing since Flight of the Conchords. We continued hanging out with him as we toured Prague, and he even came with us on the pub crawl. We were really getting to know and like Mike, especially Fraser, who seemed to be striking up quite the bromance with!

The next day we saw him again when we were getting some lunch, and it seemed to be a general consensus we would all hang out again the next night. So there we were, in our room, dealing with the terrible chat out of the Aussies that had moved in (they’d come straight from Schoolies to their Eurotrip), waiting for Mike to come on by and join us for a few drinks before we headed out. A few hours went by, and no Mike. Did something happen to him? He’s probably just having dinner.

As the night dragged on we eventually gave up on Mike (we also knocked on his door, just to check). The next day we were chekcing out, off on our next adventure. He never called, never said goodbye. We thought we had a real connection, you know? Thought it was something special. Did something awful happen to him? Was he just not that into us? Did he find a new group of friends? Were they more fun than us? We’ll never know.

Well jeez Mike, you coulda just said so!

227. Prague Pub Crawl

I once read an article in the NZ Herald, that apparently someone (residents, local government, not too sure) was complaining about New Zealand tourists travelling to Prague and getting too drunk/making a mess of the town. I can’t seem to find the link, but I thought it was hilarious that people would be complaining about the drunken antics of tourists, when all day whilst wandering through the centre of the city I was being harassed and accosted by people trying to get me to go on their pub crawls.

Such was the fierce competition between them all, that it begun to be quite entertaining hearing their sales pitches. They also had some really ludicrous deals. Apart from the usual free entry to a bunch of bars/clubs and free drinks on arrival, most of them had a two and a half hour “power hour” or “happy hour” where you could drink as much as you wanted. So these salespeople would try to get us signed up and committed right there on the spot, and would be listing what deals they have, how you can drink for longer on their pub crawl, how the other ones all watered down their drinks. My favourite of course was “Come on our pub crawl, we have absinthe.” Really? Your sales pitch is listing what the bar has in stock? At that moment I really felt whoever the complainers were ought to take a long hard look at their tourism industry before pointing the finger at the tourists.

We did the math and decided these pub crawls were much more efficient than drinking in the hostel bar, or even buying our own drinks and off we went. It was loads of fun, they did have absinthe, it was watered down, and we met a hilarious bunch of UK students, who as a travelling first, rather than say “Oh you’re from New Zealand, that’s where Lord of The Rings is from” or “Ohhhh like Flight of the Conchords” instead rolled with “That’s where Paul Henry is from!” and the hilarious quotes ensued. We also taught them all our favourite drinking game “fingers” and had a good laugh at how Fraser turned into Zach Galifianakis when he got all sweaty and swooshed his hair to the side.

We went to some really cool bars – from a Cold War themed one (with hilarious fashion magazines from Prague in the 80s decorating the bathrooms), to the creatively named “Music Bar” which had many levels and areas which were also quite well designed – from murals of famous artists to table tops covered in photos. All in all it was a fun night, and I definitely recommend a bar tour run by whoever has the best sales pitch at the time.

214. Berlin to Prague in Stop Motion

When driving over the Swiss Alps, I was trying to get some good shots of the scenery around me, but we were whizzing past them all so quickly that I ended up holding down continuous shutter to see if I could catch them. When flicking through the photos really quickly the effect was really cool! I’d just recently seen some amazing stop motion videos made by my friend Marc and thought maybe I could give it a go too.

My attempt was not at all planned, just a few bursts in some more interesting places, and when we hit town I passed my camera around and it came back with some pretty hilarious shots! If I were to do another such video it would be good to have the camera properly mounted on the dashboard of the car, but nonetheless it was a fun experiment, and an efficient way to share my road trip snaps!

204. Berlin Pub Crawl

After our previous going out experiences, we caved and decided to go on one of those tousristy pub crawls. I had originally written them off as being yet another tourist trap, but we were a bit sick of the admin that is working out where to go and how to get there. There was one run through the same company that ran the excellent bike tour we had just been on, and we thought at the very least, we have just as much fun in our own company if no-one is there, and it was really good value, for the amount of free drinks you get.

Our guide

As it turned out, it was really fun! The first people we met were some guys from London who informed us they were planning on going on a big eurotrip but on their first night out in Berlin had spent 1500 pounds, so they couldn’t afford to go any further. That particular fact absolutely blew my mind! Even on my most wreckless nights of spending, with cocktail drinking and loads of food I would still struggle to spend more than $100. I just don’t know how he managed that.

I have no idea who that guy on the right is…

Other notable attendees were a hilarious bunch of dutch girls, who definitely were not in Berlin to soak up any culture. They informed us that technically they were in Berlin for 6 days, but it was really three because they spend every second day in bed with a hangover. Good laughs, those girls! Definitely could NOT keep up with their drinking though.

All in all it was a really great night, and we may not have been at the most popular bars/clubs, but every spot had a rent-a-crowd that filled the place up and were nice and chatty, and we went to some quite cool, quirky bars. My favourite was a Cold War Propaganda themed bar, in an alcove under the railway with loads of original posters and signs.

At the end of the night the boys needed a kebab stop, and damn good kebabs they were too! Everything we had been lead to believe about kebabs in Berlin, and more. It seems like competition is so fierce between the stalls that they are all trying to out-gourmet eachother!