As those of you who follow my blog may already know – Berlin had some scary moments. Mainly upon arrival. My other half and I arrived late at night in Berlin and had to travel by the train for approximately 45 minutes to the train station local to our AirBnb. The distance between the train station and our AirBnb was only about a ten minute walk – but after dark, not knowing the language…well, it was slightly disturbing.
The first thing we noticed in Berlin was how dirty it was. At least it appeared to be dirty… until the next day on our walk to the local bakery for breakfast when we realized that the streets were literally covered in gun powder and leftover fireworks from the New Year celebrations. I’ll never forget coming home one night from our Berlin adventures and having a firecracker or firework of some sort being shot off in front of us – just maybe 15 feet away. I squealed, jumped and may have broke a few bones in my other half’s hand from squeezing it in fright. Don’t get me wrong, fireworks are fun – but when they practically go off in your face…in a highly residential area, it can make a person slightly nervous.
Anyway, we arrived to the local Bakery our first morning and were rudely re-awakened to the fact that we didn’t speak a lick of German. The lady behind the counter really struggled understanding our pointing requests and, I believe, became frustrated with the situation. If I was in her position, I would be too. Language barriers are a funny thing – and cultural barriers are worse!
After grabbing breakfast we headed to the local train station and headed toward the city’s center. Our first mission was to purchase a Berlin Welcome Card so that we could participate in the sights. In Berlin we walked. A lot. Berlin is an incredibly spread out city – or so it seemed. More so than Paris, Brussels and definitely London. Here’s a list of some of what we saw:
- Berlin Victory Column – almost 300 steps!
- Haus der Kulturen der Welt – or the House of World Culture
- Potsdamer Platz
- Jewish Holocaust Memorial
- Berlin Wall Memorial
- Museum für Naturkunde – See some awesome Dinosaurs and other Natural Science sights
- Bode Museum
- Hackescher Markt
- Topography of Terror
- Checkpoint Charlie Museum
- DDR Museum
- Red Town Hall
- Nikolai Quarter, Church
- TV Tower
- Underground Tour – get tickets ahead of time, as it fills up fast!
- Brandenburg Gate
Above you will see pictures from the Global Stone Project. This is a Worldwide Peace Project consisting of ten stones (five of which are in a circle in Berlin). Each stone stands for something: love, peace, awakening, hope and forgiveness. On the 21st of June each year, all ten stones are connected by reflection with the light of the sun. If you are interested, you can read more about it here
The food in Berlin was a wonderful comfort. It was beyond delicious. As you can see the pictures above – the food was just scrumptious! The potatoes and bread – fresh squeezed orange juice and pastries. I’ll never forget it.
Although my other half and I found a delicious ice cream joint while in Berlin (see the pictures below), we did go on a hunt for ice cream though that didn’t go as planned. You see after a day of walking all over Berlin, we were craving ice cream. So we used the trustworthy and wonderful Google Maps to make our way to somewhat of a sketch neighborhood. All in the name of ice cream. Our search ended unsuccessfully. No signs of an ice cream shop to be found. Mind you, small ice cream shops in the winter time are frequently closed… I’m not sure what we were thinking. Such adventures we had!
Overall, Berlin was the most like home to us. The dreary weather and industrialism reminded both my other half and I of the States. It was a neat place to visit though. I’d love to go back during the summer when it’s warmer – maybe travel over to Munich too! But enough of this dark and cold weather…on to the warm canals of Venice we go!