So this weekend we went to Berlin. I know it doesn’t make much sense to go to Germany for St. Patrick’s day… why not go to Ireland? But we got some cheap flights, so we jumped on the opportunity. We arrived in Berlin on Friday evening and proceeded to check in at our hostel. It was Doug’s first time to stay at a hostel, although I have stayed at some before. As far as hostels go, this one was pretty decent. We had our own room, with a private bathroom, so that was nice. The hostel also had free wifi internet, and a complimentary breakfast, so that was definitely good. It was clean, and they gave us linens and towels, so nothing to really complain about. It was also in a central location, walkable to a lot of sights, and right next to a U-bahn (underground train) station. Here is a picture of me in front of the hostel.
After checking into our hostel, we did some sightseeing. We walked around and eventually made our way to Checkpoint Charlie and the museum. Checkpoint Charlie was an official border crossing between East and West Berlin. Today the guard house and some actors dressed as military guards stand at the Check Point. Here is a picture of the Checkpoint.
And one of Doug in front of the Checkpoint (after the actors got off their shift… otherwise you have to pay them to take a picture with them).
Then we headed to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The most interesting part of the museum were the accounts of escape routes and attempts by people trying to get into West Berlin. Here is a picture of a representation of a person hidden in a converted fuel tank.
Some other notable escapes included a one-man homemade submarine, many types of flying aircraft, a hot air balloon, a zip-line sort of thing that went on power lines, and this ladder-bridge that could be quickly broken down and stored in just 3 grocery bags.
Next up we went to do dinner at Maximillian’s, a traditional Bavarian restaurant. Here is Doug with Maximillian out front.
That night SLU was playing Memphis in the NCAA basketball tournament, so we managed to find a bar (Belushi’s) that was showing the game!! The game didn’t start until midnight German time, but we stayed up to cheer on the Billikens! And they won the game, so I was quite proud to be a SLU alum!
On Saturday, which was St. Patrick’s day, we had a very busy day touring around and seeing the sights. We visited the Brandenburg Gate, the Tiergarten, the Reichstag, the Holocaust Memorial, parts of the Berlin Wall, Potsdamer Platz, and some more shopping areas and districts. We even took the S-bahn and the U-bahn all around the city! It was really gorgeous weather, and Doug and I were sporting our St. Patrick’s day green.
Oh, and I didn’t mention that it’s not just the Berlin Wall that has graffiti on it. It seems like all of Berlin was covered in graffiti. That was one of the first things I noticed when we were taking the S-bahn from the airport to our hostel. I originally thought we were just going through a bad part of town, but after touring most of the city, I’m pretty sure grafitti is just the norm.
We also visited the Charlottenburg Palace, which is the largest palace in Berlin and has some beautiful gardens surrounding it. See the pretty picture above.
Finally, on Saturday night, we decided to do like the Berlin people do and stay out all night. We headed to White Trash Fast Food (http://www.whitetrashfastfood.com) for dinner and drinks. Here is Doug with his massive burger, and me with my delicious fresh-squeezed lemonade (+ vodka).
After a good time at White Trash Fast Food, we made our way to Kaffee Burger, which was more of a dance club. We stayed there the rest of the night, and didn’t make our way back to the hostel until 6am. Here is a pic of me and Doug on the U-bahn at 6 in the morning (hence Doug showing 6 fingers). That was one awesome thing about Berlin: the public transportation ran all night. When we were in London, the tube shut down at midnight, so this was way better. However, I think the tube in London might also open at 5 or 6am, so if you just stay out late enough… you are good to get home once the tube opens!
Anyway, once we got back to our hostel, we had to get going around 7am to catch our flight… so we did not get much sleep! Sunday was a rough day for sure. Especially since once we got back to the East Midlands airport, we picked up our new rental car, which was a manual. We traded in our automatic for a manual, and it was quite the struggle getting home. I’m pretty sure I stalled like 20 times. But anyway, here is a pic of our new BMW car!! Way better than the Peugeot that we had before!
So anyway, Doug’s birthday is on Wednesday, so our next post should have some good birthday celebrations in it!! Take care and goodnight!