Well, it is sadly almost time for me to leave Berlin L However, I am glad to say that in my short week here I have loved it! Berlin has now become one of my top places. I put it as, I am indescribably comfortable here. Yesterday I spent most of the day just sitting in different areas of the city, soaking up the sun, and people watching and it was great. I always try and have one day wherever I am to just sit, have some coffee, people watch, and observe the city.
After my slightly rocky arrival the next day couldn’t have gone better. I walked back to Alexanderplatz, which is not super close to my hostel but still walkable. This is where the large TV Tower is, the symbolic tower of old East Berlin. Around the platz there are lots of shops, eateries, and commercial stuff. From there I took one of the hop on – hop off tours. Again, these are cheesy and touristy, but they give you a great sense of direction around the city, fun facts, and history too. Always, always, always get on a bus with a live tour guide, I am personally never a fan of audio guides.
The bus tour takes around two hours, but really, take advantage of hoping off, so few people do and it really is great because it works as your personal, already paid for taxi service. On the tour I got to see the main street (under heavy construction) Brandenburg gate, the Holocaust Memorial, the main German government buildings, the bell tower, the Victory tower, old west Berlin commercial center, LOTS of embassies, the Tiergarten (best place ever), Potsdamer Platz, Check Point Charlie, the Fascist Wall Museum, and yes, more! Goodness. Now, I did not hop off everywhere because I knew how to easily walk back but I did get off every so often.
The rest of the day was spent walking back to some of the places that I did not hop off at and seeing them up close and personal. I had the traditional Berliner CurryWurst for dinner and went back to my hostel for a little rest. Now as mentioned, the hostel can be quite the party, but it has a cool rooftop lounge area where you can chill with a beer (SOLD!).
That evening I took a stroll around, ended up just sitting at an outdoor bar with a good German beer.
The next day was the main Government building and the east side. Now, you can register in advance for your time to go into the dome of the parliament but I had tons of time so I went to get in line early in the morning. As luck would have it they had openings for immediate entry! This was perfect.
Now, if I haven’t mentioned, Berlin has been turning up the heat and I am LIVING for the sun right now. I’ve been wearing a light jacket the entire time here, no heavy coat. So it was BEAUTIFUL in the top of the dome, overlooking all of the city.
After that I took the second tour of the Hop On – Hop Off bus that went around the old eastern section. This mostly includes neighborhood, some up and coming and trendy, some a little worn, and so on. It was great to see other areas and hear more in depth about the separation of the city.
That night… Karakoe Bar. I normally don’t care for karaoke bars, but this one was fun. With tons of raucous Germans all belting out American classics (they love the rat pack) it was a hoot. I met a group of people at the bar and we just chatted the night away. I may have even dusted off my karaoke classic of Devil Went Down to Georgia, to heck with ballads!
Well the next day was more walking, I really should have had a step counter. I popped into a museum or two, history and art. Truth be told I am a little museumed out at this point.
The next day was all walking and sitting and coffee. I love this day of travel. I might even have gotten a bit sun burnt yesterday. It was so perfect.
So I now love Berlin. It’s such a great, friendly, wonderful city. OH!!! And I got to see Saving Mr. Banks! I have been waiting for this movie for MONTHS. It was great.
I’m off to the plane back to France soon, it’ll be good to get back into the routine for a bit longer.