Friday, 6 September 2013

Back we go......

Our ride to Dresden was leaving at 10 am and we packed all our stuff and left for the Bahnhoff.  Not once did we have to pay for transport in Berlin, we could just jump from train to train and get anywhere we wanted.  We arrived in the East where are ride was leaving, and even though it was 9:30am, I bought a Berliner Pilsener and thoughtfully drunk it, thinking of how special a city and time we have had there.  Our ride arrived and we set out South for Dresden....

On the morning we were leaving, Anja had made us a full English breakfast, and it was such a touching gesture and as we ate we spoke about our plans.  Nizha realised that she needed to get to Paris to sort out paperwork for her stay here sooner than she thought, and on the journey there was resigned to having to leave Dresden for Paris as soon as possible.  My plan was to go to Switzerland via Prague and Munich but it didn't seem right to part, so I agreed to go with her.

We arrived in Dresden and it was such a different atmosphere from Berlin, the buildings were so beautiful and it seemed like it was full of old people eating expensive strawberries and cream.  We seen a few buskers and they were all playing really beautiful classical stuff.  We began to feel like we were out of place a bit.  We had a lot of luggage with us, and had to wait till 7pm to meet the girl who said we could stay with her.  We heaved our luggage around, unable to afford a beer here, looking for a busking spot.  I was starting to feel a bit like we would be too out of place here.  We took a rest and bought some bread and cheese and a bottle of beer from the supermarket and had a little picnic while we made a plan.

We headed to the bridge we had heard the classical buskers and there was this accordion player, playing one song over and over.  We said we would go on after him and waited for our turn.  We played and immediately the tunnel filled up, people were stopping and watching our whole set, giving us flowers and candy and filming us.  We made close to 30 Euroes in less than an hour and I was so relieved.  We kind of felt we had injected a bit of rock and roll and life into the usually quiet city.  With smiles and re found energy we made our way to Emilia's to sleep there for a couple of nights.

It was a nice time there, but most of our time was occupied in planning how we could get to Paris.  There were no car shares heading there.  The train was way to expensive and since time was running out we needed to find a way.  It seemed the easiest option was to head back to Berlin and get a bus from there to Amsterdam, and from there to Paris.  So after 3 lovely days of busking and exploring Dresden we caught a ride to Berlin and messaged Anja to say we were coming back, and could we stay a few nights.  She welcomed us back with open arms and the moment we stepped out of the car in Berlin it felt great.  Even just going away for a few days made me realise how great a city it is.  And part of me was almost tempted to stay there.

We needed to make as much money as we could in Berlin as we knew Paris was no place for the poor, but it was hard cos acoustic busking is harder to find a spot.  We tried Alexanderplatz and around the heavy nested tourist areas, but just didn't feel right there, so we took a chance and headed to Maur park and went around the corner from the main road.  As soon as we started these two lovely young girls sat in front of us and started watching us.  After a couple of songs we had finished our beer and one of the girls ran off, and came back a few minutes later with a fresh cold beer for us!  She took her seat again and they listened for the whole set.  We made good money that busk, and had found our spot.  We took a break, drunk a beer and ate some chips and then went back for another set there.

After a few songs, a homeless guy who was sitting round the corner from us, came and sat right next to us.  Singing a long and trying to speak to us in English.  He put some pennies in our jar, and then after a few more songs the most touching thing happened.  He went and bought us a beer.  How can a man who has no home, begs for money and sleeps on the street be able to buy two English buskers a beer with the last of his money?  We spoke to him for a while, and it turns out he was Latvian and had been living on the streets of Germany for a few years.  We bade him farewell and took the metro home.  A few days later we seen him blind drunk asleep on a bench at the station and our hearts ached a bit.

As the thought of Paris was becoming more a reality and we had only a few euroes to our name, I became worried of what the city would be like for us.  One day we left for busking, and it hit me.  My memories of the place last time.  There is no free transport, no cheap way of life, no English speaking, I was a bit daunted by the thought, and Nizha and I took some time apart.  I tried busking on my own, and it was horrible.  I missed her more than I thought possible.  I remember during the first few weeks of playing with her, I would sleep with her violin melodies playing over in my head.  Busking was not good without her.  I had one beer saved and 80cents so went to the bench and park where we first slept and did some drawing.  I hadn't done much lately, and wanted to get back into it.  I was sitting on our bench and these two German guys who couldn't speak English were amazed by my drawings, they went through every one with wonder and respect, and we tried to speak in the German that I knew, and the English that they knew.  They shared with me a joint, and I shared with them my beer.  Once they left, this girl sat right next to me, and was crying saying she hated her life, again she didn't speak much English, but we spoke a bit, and then she left.

I came home to Anja's and just gave Nizha a big hug, and we spoke and I said I may be daunted by Paris, but I am still coming.  Life is about facing your fears, and I know that as long as we are together, we can get through anything,  We both knew Paris was going to be hard, but as long as we stay strong and together we can do it.  Thankfully, we would have a little stop off in our beloved Amsterdam before we hit Paris........

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