getting to berlin
Matt and I took a bus from Copenhagen to Berlin that got in at 630am the next morning. It was a brutal ride. The bus was too small to walk in. I had to bend my head every time I went to the restroom. And the seats were meant for a 5’6" person… But it is the best way to get around in the summer due to the low cost of travel.
Once the bus got into the station, we set off to grab more Euros for the Berlin trip. We ended up at a gas station in central Berlin at 7am. Our first taste of German culture was a skin head with tattoos fixing his car in the parking lot of the gas station. He was blasting German electronic music while drinking a beer. It was a interesting way to start our early morning adventure in Berlin.
And, of course, once I tried to get cash out of the ATM, the machine broke. I had to call ING Berlin to see if they could get my card from the machine. A woman answered the phone in perfect English. She then proceeded to tell me to call back in an hour because her and the other employees didn’t speak English. I was pretty upset at this point due to my card being stuck in the machine, ING Berlin not being helpful and skin heads surrounding me in a parking lot. Finally I gave in, and slammed my fist on the machine. The card popped out!
We proceeded to try and catch a train to get to our friend Sophia’s apartment. With no money, Matt had to pay for me. This process wasn’t easy. Everything was in German. No one spoke a lick of English at the train station. Our first impression of Berlin wasn’t a great one at this point. Matt and I finally got on the train and proceeded to walk toward Sophia’s place.
We got a message saying we wouldn’t be able to get into her apartment until 11am. Matt and I then got some food at a local cafe and headed to a park to catch a few hours of sleep.
The true meaning of backpacking Europe is summed up in our morning in Berlin. Sleeping in a local park while eating our handmade sandwiches and coffee is almost too perfect of a definition.
We finally got to Sophia’s place. Our next stop was the Berlin Wall and all it’s glory. We walked from the apartment to the wall in 20 minutes. It was a beautiful day to start walking around. The temperature was already getting up into the 30’s as we walked around town. We got to the wall and examined the entirety of it. What an amazing piece of history right in front of my eyes. We all checked out the wall for the next hour. I took many photos of the front of back side of the wall. It was a surreal moment when all three of us could walk from East Berlin to West Berlin without any hesitation. That obviously wasn’t possible 30-40 years ago.
An artist spray painting his design on the Berlin Wall
Photos of the Berlin Wall
The most iconic mural on the Berlin Wall
Here's background information on the photo above: This photo, when taken, went viral around the world. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev is seen leaning in to kiss his East German Counterpart Erich Honecker. Not to long after the painting was created, the mural became the most viewed mural on the East Berlin Wall.
Suddenly, without any warning, the image was removed by the German government. The original painting had been on the wall since 1990. The artist, Dmitri Vrubel, recreated the artwork as it stands today.
Our next few stops consisted of a mini walking tour of Berlin courtesy of Sophia. The artwork in the city is worth seeing. Graffiti blankets the city walls, yet, it still gives the city a charming feeling. The outskirts of Berlin are a bit sketchy in term of people, but the city center is much safer. After walking around for a while, the three of us headed to a local grocery store to buy beer. We grabbed 10 or so beers at .50 Euro cents each. So cheap! I forgot to mention for a major city in a major developed country, Berlin is the cheapest I have seen so far. Food is no more than 5 Euros for a good meal. A meal in the UK is no less than 15-20 Euros for a decent meal. That’s a huge difference.
Matt and Sophia posing with a mural
All three of us taking funny photos in front of the Berlin Wall
Random artwork in the courtyards of numerous apartment buildings
All three of us grabbed our beers and headed to a famous part of town that has these cave like drinking areas in the middle of apartment courtyards. It’s a popular place to drink and see the Berlin artwork. After the cave, we walked to Mauer Park where most Berliners have drank at one point in their lives. It’s a popular college student drinking spot.
Matt juggling in Mauer Park
While walking around Berlin, I met an Italian guy who had been on vacation. He joined us the rest of the night. When I’m in Italy near his hometown, he’ll show me the Northern part of Italy. Travelling is awesome. I can meet any type of person while traveling and make those connections instantly. The beauty of travelling is wonderful.