More Berlin

Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
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Trip End Aug 16, 2011


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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Now that I'm sitting in the airport getting ready to leave Berlin, some thoughts on the city:

  1. (Good) public transportation is amaaazing! Although a bit expensive, it was awesome to be able to cover a city the size of Berlin using just subways and busses.  Los Angeles, take note.
  2. I was pleasantly surprised to find that 3.5 days and 4 nights in Berlin can be done with about 225 USD.  Granted this involved a few free meals, buying breakfast twice at a grocery store instead of eating at a café and only visiting free museums (if/when I come back to Berlin I’ll splurge on some of the fee-based museums like the Dali and German History museum), but it also included staying at a nice hostel, seeing a football (soccer) match, and never skipping any meals.  You can definitely do Berlin on a student’s budget.
  3. German food is as good as expected, as is Turkish food.  Yum.
  4. Berlin in the summer is surprisingly cold.  And this isn’t just because I came from Morocco.  Seriously, people are wearing scarves and jackets, although I’m told this isn’t typical for summer.
Some things that we ("we" being my friend Kelsie who is studying in Berlin, and I did):

Saturday

Hertha Football match and walked the beer mile festival (which turned out to be way more than a mile).  Enjoyed bratwurst cooked on a gigantic, rotating grill.  Listened to drunk Germans singing on the U-Bahn (the public transportation system).  See previous post.

Sunday

Church (in German, although Sunday school was in English; either way I was so tired I slept through most of it), American(!) lunch with the senior missionaries, tried to sneak into the Reichstag (failed), Soviet War Memorial (interesting but short and not that informative), Memorial for Murdered European Jews (sad; definitely worth a visit), dinner of meat and potatoes (stereotypical Germany).

Monday

All you can eat European breakfast (meats, cheeses, fruits including this delicious mysterious melon, cereals that felt like they were really healthy),  Sachsenhausen concentration camp (eerie), Victory Tower (pretty much just a tower), walked in Tiergarten (Berlin’s version of Central Park and right next to the Berlin Zoo), Family Home Evening with the German Mormons (free dinner; we played the game where you have a person’s name on your head and you have to guess.  When Germans get excited it sounds really funny since I don’t have any idea what they’re saying), and finally, some much needed sleep.

Tuesday

Tour of Otto Weidt’s factory (like a mini-version of Oskar Schindler) and some of the surrounding Jewish sites, Turkish doner for lunch (delicious and cheap) East Side Gallery (cool; longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall), Checkpoint Charlie, Topography of Terror Museum (about the SS with a special exhibit on the Eichmann trial), dinner with Kelsie’s host mom (amazing!), view of Berlin from the top of the Reichstag (also amazing, the most surprisingly interesting part of the trip),  Memorial for Murdered European Jews (this time at night), and Brandenburg Tor (basically a big gate but still pretty).

If you couldn’t tell, we saw a lot of stuff related to Germany between 1933 and 1945, but it was all super interesting.  Berlin is definitely a history lover’s dream because it has had such a profound impact on European and World History.  As I alluded to earlier, we didn’t even really see any of the art or early German history so I would definitely love to come back to Berlin sometime.

And now pictures:
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