Berlin...getting jiggy with the group

Trip Start Jul 08, 2013
Trip End Aug 10, 2013

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Woke up early to have breakfast with Mark before he headed home to Canada and I thought I was doing remarkably well for how much beer I drank the night before. Breakfast was delicious and so beautiful up on the seventh floor terrace. We said our goodbyes and I went back to bed as the hangover showed up just a little late! lol. Getting up closer to check out, I had to rush to get everything ready and make my way to the S-Bahn to find my next hotel. Managed to go completely the wrong way on the train, and eventually after a ridiculously long walk from the subway stop to our hotel, colapsed on the bed in the room I share with my Contiki roommate.

Decided to spend the afternoon relaxing and reading my book in the room as I knew the next two weeks with the Contiki Group were going to be busy and I appreciated the quiet in my room. At four my roommate, Sarah from New York, showed up and we got to know each othe for an hour before heading to the lobby to meet our group. Our group leader, Taryn from New Zeland, gathered us all in a room and I was surprised to see a group so large. We have 51 people on this tour, mostly from Canada, USA, Australia and Ireland. It was fun getting to meet everyone in a whirlwind way and comparing trips so far. 

After the meet and greet we all piled into our coach bus and they took us into the city to a large German restaurant where we all had dinner together. Traditional meal of German Sausage was the menu and it was delicious!  Some people in the group headed out for a drink after dinner, but a big portion of us headed back to the hotel so we could get some sleep before the long day we had ahead of us.

The next morning, we were up early and down for breakfast. All of the hotels we will be staying in have amazing breakfast included in the cost of our tour, which is fabulous! Everyone piled onto the bus and we headed into the city for an optional city walking tour. Our "local" guide was from Pittsburg, but was super cute and very very knowledgable about the history of Berlin and its beautiful buildings. Germany, and Berlin specifically, does such an amazing job of balancing the past with the present...respecting and not sweeping under the rug their dark past, but not glorifying it either. A difficult thing to find balance with and I was very impressed. We saw remanants of the Berlin Wall and heard some escape stories and the joy of the days when it fell. Our guide told us stories at the Brandenburg Gate, Hitlers Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie and the beautiful museum buildings. At the old University Library I started to cry as he talked about the massive book burning that occured on May 10th, 1933. Indeed there were quite a few times I got choked up during the tour thinking about the sacrifice, joys, and cruelty of the human race.

After the tour, a group of us went for eats down by the river and a beer, then headed back to the hotel to get changed and ready for this evenings festivities! I wore my new Paris special dress and the whole group met to head to the Haufbrau Haus, a massive german beer hall in town. I ordered the Pork Knuckle, and my eyes bulged as it was set down in front of me! It was massive! I did my best but the pork got the better of me! A few more beers and we were off to the Eye Spy tour/pub crawl, where we walked around a few neigbourhoods and heard spy stories from another guide. Stopped at two Berlin bars which were overcrowded and interesting for an included drink, then ended up at a massive dance club. Partyed there for a bit which was so fun but I had made a poor footwear choice and ended up having to head home to rest my barking dogs! So far, I am enjoying the group and am looking forward to furthur travels!
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