Going into this trip, I had little to no research done of each city I was visiting. Maybe it was due to my want to be surprised or due to laziness, who really knows. Regardless, I had such an eye opening experience and a unique feel from every city. My trip kicked off in Berlin, Germany. I arrived at the Berlin Tegel Airport after a 11 hour flight to Cologne and a 1 hour flight from Cologne to Berlin. This was my first time traveling at that far of a distance on my own and let me tell ya, it was nerve-wracking but liberating all at once.
Where to stay: Baxpax Hostel Downtown Berlin.
My friend and I wanted to make our first hostel a nice one so we splurged a bit (lol) and our bunks were €20/night in a 30 bunk dorm. Hostels are my absolute least favorite place to stay in but ya do what ya have to do when traveling. Our 30 bunk dorm wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be because they were spread among two giant conjoined rooms. All in all, it had what we needed and we met some awesome people!
I also stayed in the Amstel House Hostel which I loved and would highly recommend. It was only €13/night for a 12 person mixed dorm but I was upgraded to a 4 person room for free. They had a pool table, a ping pong table, and a huge commons area which allowed you to meet so many more people. The bus line was conveniently a 5 min walk away from the hostel and it directly took you to Berlin Tegel airport!
What to do:
Since we stayed downtown, we were nearby all the museums and popular landmarks. Here are a few places we visited!
Altes Museum: €10 Entry
East Side Gallery
I would also recommend taking a free walking tour! They meet at the Starbucks near the Bradenburg Gate I believe 3 times a day and it’s 3 hours of walking and learning important information about Berlin’s history while seeing monumental sites! Here are a few of the stops:
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
What to eat: Germany is known for their beer & sausages! Adjusting to this was very different for me because jetlag hit as well as all the buffets of carbs that Europe offers. They have a handful of dishes that you can find on every block such as
Doner kebabs which are large pieces of meat that have been cooking on a rotisserie and they carve it out and put them in these wraps.
Currywursts which are sausages that they put a tomato sauce over with a side of fries.
Schnitzels which is a thin, fried, piece of meat
Bratwursts which are these fat sausages
How to get around: I found that because Berlin is so huge, it’s a difficult city to just wander around in hopes of getting lost so the mode of transportation that I used often were the underground trains and buses. The lines can get a big confusing so double check the line numbers/colors/names when hopping on and off!
*note, when hopping on trains, you want to make sure that you purchase & validate your ticket before getting on or else you will be fined! They have ticket booths outside of the stations and validation stands just before entering your platform!
Also wanted to mention that the airport can be a bit confusing, it’s a giant circle shaped vicinity so when you’re looking for your gate, it feels like you’re going in circles but once you find the correct airline, it shows your flight and directly to their own security which is also, adjacent to your gate. The airlines seem to have all in one for each stand so it was quite easy to slide right through once you find the appropriate lines.
Berlin, I think, was a great start to my trip. It wasn’t the most “exciting” city in terms of having a ton of new things to do but it was exciting to learn about some history that I used to not pay attention to in class, and see it in real life and learn the cultures that Germany has to offer.
NEXT STOP: PRAGUE!