Berlin - amazing times!
May 29, 2010
After some time in the smaller cities the big city of Berlin was a welcomed change. As soon as we started walking down the graffitied streets of Berlin I knew I was going to like it.
We got into the city in the early afternoon and therefore able to check in right away. We were able to get a four-person room to ourselves, which always makes things so much easier and lucked in to a great hostel! We sat down in the room and planned out how we were going to manage to see everything in just 3 days! We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Alexanderplatz where the TV tower is and we were happy we had such a helpfully tall landmark to guide our way home. We ventured to the Neue Synagogue, happened upon a really interesting photo gallery in the Old Post office building of the city, and then walking along the water seeing Museuminsel.
I will also take the time now to once again state that I have some of the most amazing friends who have made this trip so unbelievable. Facebook is also a great invention and eased the logistics of everything we have done. Before we left for Berlin, a friend from highschool, Fred, is apparently now working in Berlin and offered to meet up with us. We got together our first night in Berlin just to catch up...it was soo great to catch up and we realized we are getting old when we can say we haven’t really spoken in the 5 years since highschool! We told him to join us on our pub crawl the next night which he gracefully declined as a local that would be too weird but offered that if we wanted he would take us all out the next night for some partying with him and his friends. We quickly accepted the offer as we were pretty sure it would enrich the trip’s cultural experience.
The next day is the longest day I think I have had in a while. We started with another free walking tour that did not let the expectations we had developed in Amsterdam down. We had an Irish girl as a tour guide who studied to become a lawyer but instead of going onto a law career she has decided to run these free tours working on tips....yes her parents are thrilled but it was so nice to have such a well educated guide who could answer any and every question with the dates and names to back it up. We started at Brandenburger Tor, saw the Reichstaggebäude, Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker (well the parking lot that lies above it),Bebelplatz, part of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Museuminsle, the Berliner Dom, and walked around Potsdammer Platz. It was an amazing tour that helped skim the understanding of just how many times the city of Berlin was destroyed, rebuilt, flattened again, rebuilt, and continues to be a crucial part of understanding history. We are still having trouble understanding how the wall only came down 20 years ago....within our lifetimes and just how much change this city has seen and continues to go through.
After the amazing tour we headed to the DDR Museum. We chose it because it is marketed as being a very interactive museum describing the history behind the wall. It was in fact very interactive and definitely what Erin and I demand from museums. We ended the day training out to the Olympic Stadium and venturing down Jesse Owens Alle for a photo opp similar to that of the Atomium in Brussels....no tour or entrance just the pictures from the parking lot that prove we were actually there.We headed home to rest of up before we met Fred and his friends for a night out.
After experiencing some transportation troubles and getting on and off the wrong trains we met Fred and his friends as a restaurant for some drinks. After getting kicked out of there we headed to another bar....the strangest with carpet everywhere. After some time there we bussed to Alexanderplatz to an office building that has clubs on different floors...hate to work there but liked to party there.
We watched the sunrise over the city of Berlin. Lo, Erin and I turned to each other giggled – Is this really our lives right now?
Welcome to Berlin I guess. We grabbed some breakfast with the boys and then decided that at 7 am we should probably be heading back to the hostel to let Sam know we are still alive. Fred, great night/morning thank you for showing us around!
After a nice 2 hour nap we started the touring again. Sam, Erin and I went to the East Berlin Gallery and the Jewish Museum for the afternoon. I have felt better in my life but I am certain that the pain I felt are minimal to the pain I would feel if I were to do this when I am outside of these glorious years they call your early twenties!
After a little afternoon nap we grabbed dinner altogether and Erin, Lo, and I went to the Reighstag to climb the dome that looks down into the Parliamentary chambers. The building was designed to illustrate transparency and to remind politicians that they are elected by the people and therefore work for the people. We had a good hour and a bit wait, but it was definitely worth it – just made it as one of the last groups allowed in!
After the climb and sightseeing we were dying of tiredness at 11pm. We made our way back to the hostel to get ready for a 5 am wake up to catch our train to Prague!
Loved, loved, loved Berlin and would go back in a second - need to work on my German though!