Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adventure Day 3 and 4: Berlin, Germany

An old church on Museum Island
After our whirlwind stay in Brussels, we departed on an all night bus to Berlin, Germany. I didn't think that an all night bus ride would be that bad, but boy was I wrong. First of all, I could not sleep to save my life because of all the noises and stops that the bus kept making (turning on all the lights in the bus at each stop). In addition to noise, the bathroom on the bus had no toilet paper and was DISGUSTING. When we finally arrived at our hostel in Berlin the next morning, I was so relieved to be able to take a shower and change my clothes.

When we arrived at our hostel, the person at the front desk checking us in told us about a free walking tour that would be departing from the hostel at 1pm. We decided that since we had no plans for the day, it would be great to be shown around the city for free. We met up with the tour in the lobby of our hostel and were on our way.

Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe
On the tour, we saw all the major sights of Berlin; from museum island, to the many WWII monuments throughout the city. One of the coolest parts of the tour was getting to see where the Berlin wall once stood and hearing the guide's description of what life was like in East Berlin and East Germany during the communist rule. While seeing the wall was cool, by far my favorite part of the tour was the memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe during WWII.

When you walk toward this monument, at first it is difficult to tell what it really is. But, when you begin walking around inside it, you can really feel the impact and an utter feeling of lonliness and sadness that the monument was intended to give. When we visited it, we spent a good 20 minutes just wandering around inside, through the winding pathways lined with cement towers.
In this square, the Nazis held a book burning, now a monument

By the end of our tour, we were all exhausted, so we ended up getting street food for dinner and then returning to the hostel and sleeping.

The next day, we spent the morning wandering around on our own, taking pictures. At lunch time, we made our way to a beer garden to have delicious sausages. I was super proud of myself because I was able to order in German and have the cashier understand me (phrase book for the win!).

Overall, I loved Berlin: the youthful and artistic vibe, the history, the food, and the people. I definitely would love to go back there again someday.