Berlin, you wonderful city!
Like Amsterdam, I didn't spend enough time to properly explore the city and see everything I wanted to.
But my fascination for Germany in general has made me want to return once again to Berlin and visit other German cities along the way.
The drive from Prague to Berlin was the shortest and certainly sweetest trip I've ever made. Just watching all the rolling hills, beautiful lakes and mountains pass by whilst travelling on the Topdeck coach was beautiful. I got so much writing done on the coach journey down because I was SO inspired thanks to the views.
I haven't made my mind up whether I would return to Berlin or not. Just because there were parts that were so beautiful, interesting and full of historic monuments, whereas the other half of me feels like I did and saw everything I wanted to.
I feel like Berlin is one of those places you have to visit, as it's the capital, but you could easily do it within a day!
Nevertheless, I can't doubt it's one of the most interesting cities I have ever explored.
So I'm going to give you a brief on what I did during my stay.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Wombats Hostel in Berlin. This was such a cool hostel. It was right in the centre of Berlin and it consisted of converted bicycles, pallet furniture and had an impressive balcony courtyard where you could see the Berlin Fernsehturm and an impressive view of Berlin.
Although the lobby area wasn't as cosy, it was big enough for people to use to charge their phones and electronics and because it was right on the high street, I didn't particularly feel comfortable sitting downstairs the whole time. However, we used the upstairs balcony plenty of times as it also had it's own bar (where we drank TOO many Sex on the Beach cocktails the night before we were due to travel to Amsterdam) and we also played a lot of pool against some Portuguese men (we won!)
I wasn't particularly a fan of my bunk bed, as it was incredibly creaky and even the girl below me felt uncomfortable everytime I moved! But it was fine for 2 nights.
We took advantage of the upstairs courtyard as that was where we hung out in the evenings, instead of going out into Berlin to experience the night life. As it was such a short stop, we didn't fancy going clubbing and everyone was pretty tired from the long coach journey, so we were pretty happy staying at Wombats!
What we did
As soon as we arrived, we got a complimentary bus tour from our Topdeck leader, which gave us an overview of what to do in the city on our free day. This gave us a good idea on what we could do on our free day of exploring. We sae pretty much everything we needed to see, including the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery and all the outside areas of Berlin. It was a good way to start our day and a half in Berlin, as we didn't have long to explore and we needed to ensure we planned correctly in order to see everything.
We had an incredibly useful Third Reich walking tour, conducted by Nathan from Original Berlin Walks, who was able to give us some useful history facts of the city and was overall, a decent guy who had a laugh with us along the way and was able to share his experiences as an American living in Berlin.
We saw everything from the Brandenburg Building, the Memorial of the Murdered Jews, The Berlin Wall and many other main attractions.
I think I'm going to save these for my "10 things I learnt about Berlin" post.
But if you're looking for a good walking tour, I would highly recommend Original Berlin Walks.
Shopping in Alexandraplatz
We were told by our tour guide Jezza, that we had to do some shopping whilst in Berlin! Alexandraplatz is the place for all your shopping needs. it even includes a Primark, which I never realised that Australia and New Zealand doesn't have! Therefore, those from those areas went crazy over how amazing Primark was! Even I was shocked, but the conversion rate meant the prices were cheaper in Primark so I obviously treated myself to some bits, including a travel pillow for the coach (so worth it).
Amongst my browsing, I even found some branded "I ❤️ Berlin" condoms which I found so amusing that I had to buy two (yes, I'm immature).
I also picked up some Berlin postcards, as every destination I visit I always love to collect postcards.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
I had no words for when we visited this. One of the most famous tourist attractions of Berlin, yet so spine tingling knowing how many people were buried there. It was a similar feeling to when I visited the 9/11 memorial in New York, where you just don't know how to feel other than silent. It was incredible seeing just how many Jews were buried here and how spine-tingling it is walking through the graves as they become higher and higher, signifying the many people that died.
What shocked me more was, there was tourists that were taking photos of themselves in front or inside the memorial whilst smiling. I wasn't a fan of this and didn't feel very comfortable, as I don't think it's a place where you should be pulling a big cheesy smile. It's a place of respect and I think a simple photo with no emotion was suitable as opposed to a big smile. That's just me though!
What we ate
Ofcourse, when in Berlin, or Germany in general; you have to have Currywurst! I had one Currywurst whilst in Dresden and then on our free day, we went to a great local cuisine restaurant called Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt where we drank plenty of beer and I chose to go for something I knew I would like.
They presented me with a huge portion of Currywurst with chips! It was the perfect (and very unhealthy) dish to fuel us as we did LOTS of walking whilst in Berlin and it was the hottest day of the whole trip with temperatures up to 31C.
German beer is indeed, the best beer!
I never drink beer whilst I'm at home, but when I'm abroad, beer is something I am interested in trying a lot of.
On our first night, I tried the Berliner Marcus Brau beer, then in Augustiner's, I had several pints of the "house beer".
Infact, this was my first time I tried Apple Strudel and it was the BEST Apple Strudel I've ever had! This was the pudding I had at the Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt which I shared with a fellow Topdecker. Kinda' wishing I had a whole one to myself because it was delicious!
This isn't particularly cultural, but we stopped off at this Frozen Yoghurt bar around the corner from Wombats Hostel called Yoli Frozen Yogurt and since everyone else was raving over how good the frozen yoghurt was here, I decided to try some. I feel like I crossed off a lot of "firsts" on this trip, as this was the first time I tried frozen yoghurt.
Things to do next time
East Side Gallery
I didn't get to see this properly! Only via coach, but next time I am determined to walk down the whole gallery. We just didn't get the time and after everything else we were doing, our hostel was too far away compared to the East Side Gallery. Next time, I want to walk by the entire East Side Gallery and take beautiful pictures and polaroid pictures!
My interest in both Berlin and Dresden have made me want to explore more German town's and cities as the history, culture and the food really interests me. I didn't get to spend all the time I wanted in Berlin, however, I'm certain I'll return one day for a weekend.
I mean, Christmas is coming up and I hear Berlin has a great Christmas market!
Let me know if you've been to Berlin and what you would recommend!
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