Week 8: Ich Sah Berlin

This weekend I traveled to Berlin!  I have a lot of feelings about Berlin, not bad just not really sure how I felt about it all.  To start out, I would like to preface this post by saying that I have literally heard nothing but wonderful things about Berlin!  I know people that have both studied there and just visited, and they all say that you absolutely cannot miss Berlin.  After hearing all of that, I had my heart set on going to Berlin this semester, while studying in Europe.  It was one destination I definitely didn’t want to miss out on.

On with the story of the weekend….
We arrived Friday in the early evening, and found our way to our hostel via metro.  We stayed at the Grand Berlin Hostel, which I would HIGHLY recommend.  It was pretty centrally located, close to some places to eat, close to the metro, clean, safe, hip, and the beds were so comfy.  (Think soft beds and plush duvets). Truly a wonderful hostel to stay in.

Anyways, we checked in, put our stuff in our room, signed up for the hostel sponsored bar crawl, and went out for dinner.  We ended up down the street from our hostel for some currywurst sausage and french fries.  It was so yummy!  What is a currywurst, you may ask?  It is a bratwurst sausage made with curry powder ketchup and served with fries.  After eating, we stopped at a grocery store for water and other German treats and then went back to get ready for the pub crawl.  We did the pub crawl offered through our hostel, which was a nice way to get to know some of the people that were also staying at the Grand Berlin Hostel.  It was a small group of us so the bar crawl guide got to do what we wanted instead of just heard us from bar to bar.  It was pretty fun, but the most exciting part was stopping for food (as per Lena’s request, I didn’t protest).  Our pub crawl guide took us to an amazing Sudanese wrap place, called Nil,  where Lena and I split a Nil Chicken wrap which was basically something similar to pita bread with lettuce, breaded chicken and peanut sauce.  Unreal…

Saturday we went exploring/looking for this place called Bully’s Bakery, which we had read about online.  Honestly, we went there because apparently they had these awesome bulldog shirts, but when we got there they were all sold out.  Instead, we had some super yummy pastries and coffee.  Then we wandered for a bit longer and stopped for an Indian food lunch, which was delicious as well.

After lunch, we went to catch our (free walking) tour of Berlin through New Europe Tours.  The tour was incredible; we learned and saw so so much.  It made Berlin a bit less overwhelming and showed us all the key historical spots.  We saw the Holocaust memorial, the parking lot that is over Hitler’s still existing bunker (where he committed suicide), the USSR building that ran East Berlin, the Berlin Wall, Check Point Charlie (where the West physically met the East during the Cold War), The Berlin Library (where the famous Berlin book burning by the Nazi Party took place), the Berlin Cathedral, the Berlin Opera House, museum island and a few other things that I am probably forgetting.  There is something chilling about walking around where all of that (horrible) history took place.  I found myself constantly getting goose-bumps when the tour guide would tell us where we were standing.  Perhaps that added to the eeriness of Berlin, or at least my Berlin experience.

 

 

After our tour, the tour guide brought us to a really fun classic German restaurant, where we had beers, and Lena and I split a schnitzel. (Yum!)  That night, we went on another pub crawl led by New Europe Tours and it was so so fun!  We went to five bars and one night club (Matrix) and Lena and I actually made it to the end.  We met some wonderful Brits that had been on our tour earlier, and had a fantastic time with them.  They were a bunch of fun and definitely contributed to our night out.  (Shout out to Mr. Ollie Oats and Jaak!).

The next morning we ate breakfast at the restaurant owned by our hostel, Grand Ma’s which served a buffet style, classic German spread.  After breakfast we headed to the East Side Gallery to see a huge strip of the Berlin Wall that has amazing art work all over it.  When you are at the East Side Gallery you can see West and East Berlin, and its really interesting to see the contrast, even today.

 

 

 

We ended our time in Berlin with Turkish doner kebab from Mustafa’s stand near our hostel, and then went to the airport!  Overall, it was a very interesting trip and I learned a ton!

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