Berlin. Poor but Sexy!
Trip Start Jun 13, 2009
33Trip End Apr 30, 2010
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Berlin was freezing, grey and smelt like cigarettes. My favorite! We arrived in the evening to find our hostel was out in the suburbs – great. But we were worn out from traveling all day from Cesky Krumlov so just went to bed.
Next day we met up with Lach (from Prague) and he was staying in a way better hostel in a way better location than us so we organized to move there the next day and have the weekend in the city! We walked around Berlin, got some gourmet chocolate and visited Checkpoint Charlie and the 'Haus am Checkpoint Charlie' museum which was full of people’s amazing escape stories from East Berlin. We were cold and the weather was really crappy so we headed to the movies to see ‘Inglorious Basterds’ – a WW2 Quentin Tarentino movie
On Friday we packed up and left our place in the sticks and headed to the big smoke, former East Berlin. They wouldn’t give us a refund for our extra 2 nights we had paid for, but they had messed up and not charged us for the 4th night when we arrived, and didn’t take a key deposit which they gave to us on checkout – so we weren’t really out of pocket anyway! Once we had dropped our bags off at the new place we headed to Alexanderplatz where Megg found and bought a jacket in about 2 seconds – seriously the fastest clothes purchase I have ever seen, it was awesome. We spent the arvo on an alternative tour of Berlin which showed us heaps of great street art and cool places in Berlin where artists hang out. We went to a place around the corner from our hostel called ____
We also went to another similar place, and old bombed out train depot. It was never cleaned up, and we were told that this is due to the size of Berlin – it’s way bigger than it needs to be for all the people who live there, so lots of bits that were ruined during the war never needed re-building. Now it’s got the biggest indoor skate park in Berlin, a rock climbing tower, a few clubs and a big beer garden, and loads of street art covering all the walls. A pretty awesome space for people to hang out really, it’s great that positive things have come out of such horrific happenings.
The tour finished right near the ‘East Side Gallery’, a stretch of the old wall covered in big murals, most of which are to do with Berlin’s history
For our last day in Berlin Megg and I headed off on a ‘free’ tour of Berlin to see all the normal sites. Most cities have ‘free’ tours where you just have to tip the tour guide at the end. It’s a good way of knocking over all the things you want to see in one hit, and learn a bit of history and hear some stories about what you’re looking at. So we saw all the massive buildings, the Opernplatz where the NAZI students performed their massive book burning, the TV tower that the Soviet’s built to show that they were powerful (looks like a skewered golf ball), Checkpoint Charlie (Berlin’s Disneyland because it’s all fake), bits of the Berlin Wall, the car park that use to have Hitler’s bunker under it - where he committed suicide, the Jewish memorial, the Brandenberg Gate.. etc.. It started raining right after the tour ended which made the weather even more pleasant (I love being cold, but there is nothing better than cold AND wet) so we went back to the hostel and hung out in the bar with everyone, and went out for a cheap crappy dinner. Despite the food and weather I decided that I would call it a night and hope for better weather in Amsterdam…