Berlin, Germany

Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
Trip End Jun 21, 2010

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Friday, May 7, 2010

So last weekend was Berlin, Germany! Unfortunately there was no overnight train, so we had to spend 10 hours of our day just getting there! It wasn't bad at first, we were able to spread out and sleep for a little while. But about half way through it started getting really hot. We opened our windows but there was this old Polish lady behind us who kept complaining and asking us to shut it. It got to the point that everyone else was complaining and offering to switch seats with her but she absolutely refused. It was a complete sauna though, so we just ended up opening them and ignoring her, it was soo bad! We finally arrived in Berlin and made it to our hostel by about 8 pm. Fun little fact, we stayed at the Generator Hostel which is the biggest hostel in Europe! It was almost like a hotel, very nice! Anyway we walked around for a while that night and went to a club for a while. I should mention that we went here as a group. There were 5 of us Americans and a guy from Austria, which was nice because he spoke German, so we pretty much just counted on him getting us around and asking questions!

Saturday, then, we got up and went on the free 3 hour walking tour of Berlin. It turns out that a lot of big cities in Europe have free walking tours everyday, where the guides make their money just off of tips! It’s a really great, inexpensive way to see the city, and the guide was extremely knowledgeable and awesome! The tour covers most of the main sites such as: The Brandenburg Gate, Hotel Adlon (where Michael Jackson dangled his child over the railing!),The Reichstag (the seat of the German Parliament), the site of Hitler’s Former Bunker, The memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, Luftwaffe Headquarters, the Berlin Wall, Former SS Headquarters, Checkpoint Charlie, Gendarmenmarkt (Berlin’s grandest square), Bebelplatz (another square), the book burning memorial, the Old Royal Boulevard, Neue Wache (Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism), the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), Lustgarten (old royal gardens), and many other places. It was a great tour! Afterwards we walked around some more then went back to our hostel for a bbq! We ended up meeting a bunch of people from Scotland. Turns out there was about 30 Scottish guys there for the weekend for a stag party….they were a crazy bunch! That night we went out to another club to experience some more Berlin night life.

So then Sunday we had the day to explore the rest of Berlin. We walked around all day seeing some of the less popular areas of the city. Going through both East and West Berlin and the Tier Garten. It was nice just walking around for the day. That evening we went to the famous Curry stand and had a currywurst, which was pretty awesome! Then we went to the Fernsehturm to go to the top and get a view of the entire city of Berlin at night! It was quite beautiful!

By this time we were soo tired from the lack of sleep all night and called it an early night, for we had to be up at 5 to get to the train station to head back to Krakow by 6:30am! Friday and Monday sitting on a train for 10 hours made for a couple of very long days, but at least we were able to sleep a little and there were enough of us to keep each other company!

I think the biggest thing I learned from Berlin was a new appreciation for art. When we first arrived and I saw graffiti everywhere, I felt it was a dirty, trashy area. But after the tour and seeing the city I realized that it really is art. Every city in Europe usually has something that they are known for, and I’ve discovered that Berlin is known for its art. The entire Berlin wall was full of really neat graffiti pictures. Before I came here I always felt that graffiti was more of a vandalism, but now I realize that it’s actually a talent and a neat form of art.

Berlin is a beautiful city, and because we only had two days there, I know it is somewhere I would like to go back to again and see everything else and get a chance to go into some of the places we didn’t have time for.

Well currently in Krakow it is Juwenalia week. This is a huge student celebration full of concerts and parties. I will hopefully take some more pictures and post a little something about that at the end of the weekend.

Take care, missing everyone very much this week.


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