willkommen, bienvenue, welcome

and here I am again! my inconsistency and unpredictability must be getting quite charming and endearing by now, right?
thaaaat's what I thought.

after much delay, here's my first post on our Berlin adventures! I had to split it into two because Berlin had the longest stay and therefore the most photos and the most to talk about. although right now I'm finding it hard to come up with something to say... some things just work better face to face, and I feel like talking about Berlin is one of them.

it was my fist time in Deutschland, so I really didn't know what I was getting into! I've met some very lovely Germans here in Aberdeen, so I was kind of hoping for that, plus some Cold War stuff and beer. let's just say Berlin was a bit of a surprise.

first impression? we loved it! it immediately seemed like a cool city. we were staying right by the river Spree in a great hostel, everything seemed so easy to get to, and the weather was great. 

we found the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust memorial basically without even trying (all shown above!). we got Haagen Dazs ice cream and fell in love with currywurst right next to Checkpoint Charlie. everything was so interesting and historical and very German.

and back to the currywurst for a minute; man, that stuff is addicting! I mean, I know Germany is kinda known for sausages, but you never expect to actually want to eat them that often. it was like no matter how many we had, whenever we got hungry again the first thing that popped into my head was "man, I could really go for a currywurst..."seriously, it was like hypnotism for your tummy. 

yeah, on a related note, Berlin- not a great culinary destination if you're a vegetarian. unless you're really into potatoes. 

(just to explain, this photo is referencing a very specific and beloved Doctor Who episode that involves stone angels, so yes, I am supposed to look scared.)

after getting the general feel of Berlin we started with some actual site-seeing. we visited Berlin Cathedral, where you get gorgeous views of the city once you emerge, gasping for breath, outside of its dome. if you're into the pretty churches thing (which we are) then I'd definitely recommend a trip to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church). the old church was mostly destroyed by bombing in WWII, but a new, modern church was built on to what survived. and it is incredibly beautiful. it's basically a complete 360 of blue stained glass, with a "floating Jesus" above the alter. pictures don't really adequately show how majestic and eerie it is. but eerie in a cool way, not a creepy way. 

the Memorial church is also right in the middle of a cool street/area called Kurfurstendamm, which Lonely Planet recommends you take a stroll down. and man, did we do a lot of strolling in Berlin. we even started to look like that famous little East Berlin walking guy... he's on all the cross walk lights. it's funny cause he wears a little hat, and has kind of become a city symbol. you can get him on a t-shirt.

I am sad to say our shining first impression of Berlin did not stay that way for our entire visit. it's not that we didn't enjoy our time there. but we had quite a bit of bad luck...

I brought a Lonely Planet guide book to help us along, and while I think Lonely Planet is amazing, some of the suggestions were a bit of a let-down (most notably a very awkward flea market experience). 

the metro was a little confusing/had poor signage, and it didn't help that there were one or two lines that were under construction in certain stretches. we missed a couple of things because of bad train timing. 

we also had a couple (read: many) bad experiences with employees and locals in tourist areas, which is expected to some degree, but crossed over to downright rudeness at points. there was also an unfortunate incident in which our friendly smiles were met with a "stupid tourists" insult by a cranky lad on a bike, and that is highly offensive to two polite Canadians, especially two who consider themselves to be fairly well-travelled. 

but, we didn't let any of those things sour our opinion of the German capital too much! we were still having fun. travelling can be frustrating at times, but you've gotta take it all in stride. otherwise you're just as well staying home. 

besides, the beer really was fantastic. 

more on Berlin in my next post, where you'll hear about one of my favourite experiences of the whole trip & learn about a psychopathic bear. 
stay tuned, kiddos! and thanks for reading. 

playing: tie the rope- the format

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ooh I'm going to Berlin on Monday and this post has made me so much more excited!x