Bring on the Bling

Monday, July 28, 2014


And so the adventure begins...Berlin! I have put this off for far too long, so it's going to be another long one! I can't even begin to describe how stoked I was to be going to Berlin! Ugh, and yes, every sentence will probably end with a (!)...just a heads up! Last Friday, our group headed out to Berlin via train. 
At the Kiel Hauptbahnhof
Helping out gimpy Tom with his backpack...and a creeper in the back with his cactus...
It was a 3ish hour train ride to the Berlin main station, and since we were up early, some people decided to sleep while I was around...not the best idea...
Shhhh...Tom's "sleeping"
Tom, Andrew, Leisl and I on the train
Once we arrived in Berlin, we walked over to our hotel/hostel to put down our luggage. Fortunately, it was right next to the Hbf (main station) because it was suuuuper hot! We headed out to meet our tour guide for a "'culinary and street art" tour around the town.
Got my train/bus ticket for Berlin!

Creeper...haha Greg!
One of the big train lines was down and it created a little problem for us. Getting over to meet our tour guide took a lot longer and we had..."tours"...of a few train stations/stops (thanks Jan!). Of course, nothing is on the same level and it's hot. Did I mention that yet?? When we finally made it to meet our guide under the Fernseher spire, we were all gross and sweaty...which was pretty much how the weekend went. It was in the 90s all weekend long with little-to-no breeze. Anyway, we saw some pretty sweet street art on our tour...
Awesome street art

You never know who will be in my pics...Greg, Joy, Tom, Alexis and I

First stop on the tour...getting some Mate!

Times are tough...Legos as fortifications...

Favorite Mate
Next stop...Currywurst!

Megan and I at the Turkish market 

Megan, me, Jean, Alexis and Joy
After our city tour, most of us were pretty exhausted. And gross. This will be a running theme, no joke. When we got our room assignments and settled in, a few of us headed up to the roof for the view...

Alexis, Megan, Jean, and I

Since I was sharing a room with someone that I didn't want to really talk to a lot, I made it a point to not be in the room while she was asleep unless I ABSOLUTELY had to. After dinner that first night, I took off by myself to do a little exploring. Berlin is beautiful and nighttime is especially so.

Drinks by the river!

I’m not going to beat this issue to death, but I will say this once: the hotel/hostel at night is hotter than it is outside. They told us that if all the windows were closed, some type of airflow would possibly happen. When we heard that, most of us didn’t believe it, so the windows were cracked in the hopes of capturing a slight breeze. I doubt the airflow supplied by the hostel would have been much better. We all cooled down by taking freezing cold showers every night. Not a fun thing, but effective.

The next morning, we were out and on our way to the DDR Museum. Those of us that had watched “Goodbye, Lenin” in class were pretty excited to see this. The museum was super cool, with everything being “hands-on”…which isn’t something that we normally see. We had a great time exploring the artifacts and learning about what happened in the DDR.

Playing with Marx and Engels

Jean, Greg, and Eric trying on some nasty clothes

Greg, Jean and I in holding

My FAVE pic of Greg and Jean!

Joy and Hunter...with Tom creepin...

In the kitchen with a bright orange hand mixer...

After the museum tour, we had some more free time to explore the city. I peaced out pretty quickly from everyone and took off on my own again. I walked until my feet hurt, which didn’t take long, since we had been doing a lot of walking already.

One of the things I was looking forward to during this trip was exploring the Tiergarten Park. I recently read a book called “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson. It’s a really great novel about the American ambassador to Germany during the 1930s. There are a ton of references to the Tiergarten Park in the book and I was eager for some time in it. I walked deep into the park and found a bench in the middle of the park where I couldn’t hear the hustle and bustle of the city. I laid down and spent some time just marveling at where I was and what I was doing. I had to pinch myself again.

Spent some time figuring out the subway system in Berlin...came in handy a little later

Tiergarten Park...loved it!

Another thing that I was excited to do was to walk down the street from the Brandenburg Gate to the Siegessaule. It was SUCH a long walk! I took a slight detour through the park to see some more green. On the way back to meet up with everyone for dinner, I jumped in the back of one of the bike taxis. It was wonderful! He rode through the park and the breeze was much needed!

You can walk to the top, but I was way too tired!

Back of the taxi bike! 

After dinner with everyone, the group headed out to see a one-man comedy show, “How to Become a Berliner in One Hour.” While it had the makings of being a great show, it really wasn’t. There were some funny moments, but the comic wasn’t very funny. The highlight was when he pulled up Greg onto the stage. Thank goodness there was a bar at the show! Also, thank goodness I spent time learning my way around the Berlin subway I led the group back to the hostel!

Andrew and I

Greg is so pale, the light literally reflects off of his skin!

Random guys at the hostel that wanted to take a picture with me...weird
Leisl, Andrew and I heading out on the town!

Sunday morning came pretty early. We headed out to the Reichstag building for a tour. We thought we were going inside the building, but the tour only was in the dome on the top. While it was super hot and sticky in the dome, the view from the top was awesome.
Alexis, Sarah, Megan and I in the dome

"I whip my hair back and forth..." on top of the Reichstag!

What up Berlin??

Andrew and I
Cheeser! My favorite building!
After the tour, Leisl, Andrew and I decided to take a bus ride around town. Unfortunately, the busses don’t run on a loop the way we were originally told, so we ended up on the other side of town. We jumped on another bus (passing the LDS chapel along the way) and got dropped off by the Fernseher Tower…further away than we wanted to be. Fortunately, Leisl was able to flag down a taxi and we got to sit in the A/C for a little while. The best part: listening to Andrew talk to the cabbie in Arabic. So cool!
Front seat on the top of the double-decker bus!

We met up with the group and headed out to Schloss Sanssouci in Potsdam. Again, it was super hot and we got another “tour” of a train station, LOL. We arrived about 90 minutes before our tour started, so we roamed around looking for some ice cream. We couldn’t find a place that sold it by the scoop, so we all sat down under a tree, trying to figure out what to do. We must have looked pretty pathetic because one of our directors came told us she found us some ice cream. Thanks Johanna! We got some cones and sat under a tree for the remaining hour before the tour. We ended up just talking and enjoying where we were, similar to the time I spent in Krakow in a pub with the Irish families…it is one of my favorite memories from the Berlin excursion.

Megan and I

Chilling outside of the 1st class train car on the way back to Berlin

Eating ice cream and just relaxing

Dipping our feet...Alexis, Megan, Sarah, me, and Leisl

It was SOOOO hott!
Alexis and I photobombing #honeymustardeyeball (Danny, Brian, AJ, Alex, and Eric) 

Crazy little show when we left the castle...awesome
 After exploring the castle and grounds, we headed back to Berlin. One of the students had been talking about a certain famous Donner stand, so we took off in search for it. After a few train transfers and a 40-minute line, we got our food! And, fortunately, the food was so delicious!  Later that night, a bunch of us went down to see if we could catch the video about the Reichstag again. Unfortunately, we got there too late, so we hung out on steps. I started to talk about the video and I was amazed that people were interested. Since they appeared to be listening, I kept talking about the history around the building and a bit about WW2 and the 1930s history of Berlin. It was such a wonderful moment and it made me realize how much I love to teach. After a little while, we headed down the river for drinks and to hang out for our last night in Berlin.

Yummy Donner!!!
I haven't used a hair dryer in a crazy!

Monday morning came really fast. Although I was super uncomfortable, hot, sweaty, and tired, I really didn’t want to leave this city. There was just so much to explore and take in! We started the day off with a trip to the Berliner Dom. The night before, I had decided that I was going to rent a bike from the hostel and ride it for the day…to the Berliner Dom tour and then a few places after. Leisl and I convinced Andrew to get a bike too, and I’m so glad we did! Walking had been a beast and we felt like we couldn’t see enough of the city on foot.
Megan and I in front of the Berliner Dom 

Leisl, Andrew and I

In front of the American Embassy

Jewish Holocaust Memorial

The Wall

Entering the American Sector with Andrew

Checkpoint Charlie

The Ritter Sport chocolate store!

Something I realized about myself and started to develop while in Berlin: I’m good with directions. Nuff said. And I need to come back. Like ASAP.

1 comment :

  1. Well, I think one thing is clear: Berlin was hot. Love reading about your adventures!