Friday, 15 November 2013

Berlin

Next stop was Berlin, Germany. This will be compilation of the 2.5 days that I was in Berlin. I caught the train from Prague to Berlin and unfortunately I didn't have my own compartment (I sat with some random girl). It was really awkward when Border Control/ Czech police came by to look at our passports and our subsequent visas. I had purchased a Happy Meal in Prague and I kept the toy, and when I pulled out my passport the toy fell onto the floor and the police officer picked it up and handed it back. Awkward. Yet hilarious. It was nearly a 5hour train ride to Berlin and I just watched movies for most of the journey.

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I stayed at Singer 109 Hostel. I had quite a lot of difficulty locating the hostel since the directions weren't overly helpful. In the end, I ended up asking this local German woman for help, me with my 0 knowledge of German and the elderly woman who didn't understand English. But she showed me in the end which was lovely. The hostel. I'm not entirely sure what it is. I feel as though it was serviced apartments but then they had several rooms for the dorms, therefore a hostel. It basically felt like a hotel. I believe I paid $6 AUD a night. Yes $6! Downside was that since it was low season, I felt that they didn't clean the bathroom properly. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
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After dropping my bags off at my 'hostel' I ended up just exploring the surrounding area. There was ice in the river (which I thought was really cool) and it was interesting to see that by the time I left Berlin, the ice had spread significantly. I also ended up at Maccas (free wifi, yes please) and the manager who served me was from Washington D.C and we started talking about the States and Australia ('You're an Australian too? Man you guys are like ants, you're everywhere!').

I had booked a walking tour with Berlin Walks and at €10 it was ridiculously cheap. It was also however, ridiculously cold. Out of the group of 10 people, 6 (including myself) were from Australia. It was quite enjoyable being on the tour, having someone to take my around. Usually, if it was cold, I would just walk faster but that really wasn't possible as I was in a group environment. Everyone was complaining about their feet being cold in their boots whereas my feet were warm (relative) even though the outer layer of my socks were wet. At some point, the tour guide made a stop at a little store so that people could purchase more socks/ gloves/ beanies.

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'Mother and her dead son' statue

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

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This was basically me. And I was still freezing. It is my nose that gets cold so easily and I don't actually know how I can even counter that... unless I wear a balaclava. Something else I have realised is that my hair is a lot browner than what I thought.

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Honestly, I don't remember too much about the fine details of the tour but the places that it took us to are here

Originally, I was meant to meet with my Berlin Greeter however things came up and he wasn't able to meet with me. But nonetheless I decided to visit the area that he had originally suggested. I visited the East Side Gallery. I also bumped into a girl that I met on the tour the day before.

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Karl-Marx-Allee
The Karl-Marx-Allee is a 90m/300ft wide boulevard stretching for 2km from the Frankfurter Tor to Alexanderplatz. The monumental street is lined with apartment blocks built in a socialist realist style.
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Look at that ice.

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My stroopwafel. It is meant to be chewy on the inside, however it was so cold that it completely hardened and was impossible to bite into.

My Overall Thoughts
Germany was quite different to all the other countries that I had visited. I didn't really have much of a first impression of Berlin. Neither loved it nor hated. It was just so-so. Perhaps it was the cold or perhaps it was just the gloomy and grey weather.

Would I re-visit?
Unsure.

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