Friday, 11 May 2012

Hallo Berlin!

It feels like we've been going non-stop and jetting here and there, but that didn't stop my excitement for our trip last weekend to Berlin! I'd heard so much about this up and coming German city that's full of recent history, culture and an incredible night life. We arrived late Friday night and got a little lost on our way into Prenzlauer Berg, a lovely part of East Berlin inhabited by young families and professionals. After failing to understand the tram system, we jumped in a cab and made it to our adorable B&B, Blue Home, which is made up of a few dozen themed flats (more details to come on this place in another post!). I always get really excited when we choose a good hotel, so the trip was off to a good start.

On Saturday, we took one of the infamous walking tours to get the full city history, and it was well worth it. Seeing the Third Reich, the Nazi headquarters, and the bunker where Hitler spent his final days really brought everything I'd read in history classes to life. And standing next to the Berlin Wall and all it represents for Germany was so moving. I could really go on and on about everything we saw, but I'll let the photos speak for themselves!

When we were planning our trip, we found out that my sorority sister, Erin, now lives in Berlin with her boyfriend, Gustav. Could the world get any smaller? Not to mention, our London friends, Tici and Filipe (he's in Jim's same company programme) were also going to be there the same weekend. Luckily we were able to meet up with both of them. After our walking tour, Erin and Gustav took us to a Hertha Berlin football match at the Olympic stadium (they won!), and then we went out to a few pubs including a ping pong bar where you take turns hitting until there’s only two players left standing – random but amazing at the same time. Then we ended up at a techno club in the middle of nowhere...just what I imagined Berlin to be!

On our last day we stopped by places we hadn't covered on the tour: Brandenberg Gate (the grand entrance to the city), Potsdamer Platz (the site of the largest construction effort to have been undertaken in modern history) and the Jewish Memorial (an understated sea of concrete blocks that are actually a maze). It was nice having three and a half days in the city because we didn’t have to rush through all the sites, meaning more time for wandering leisurely through the cafes, museums and monuments. I really thought the language and food would be a bit tricky for me since I don’t speak German and don’t eat most meat, but most everyone spoke English (and we tried to speak a few German words like gutefahrt!) and I ended up loving the tasty bratwurst sausages they sell on almost every corner. 

We may be headed to Munich this fall for Oktoberfest, so until then, auf wiedersehen Germany!

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