Anyways, on our first full day in Berlin we traveled to the main train station and booked tickets for an over night train to Vienna since the journey would take about 8 hours. We didn't want to waste the day and we would save on a night in the hostel. We chose to go with seats (5 euro each) compared to couchettes (15 euro each)--that might have been a mistake. There is currently 5 people in a cabin for 6 and we are squeezed in here pretty tight. We will see how this sleep thing goes.
Anyways, writing of trains. The train from Amsterdam to Berlin was quite nice.
K and I have decided we would have rather travelled on that train on an overnight trip to Vienna instead. The seats actually reclined. But hey this is an adventure right? The train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin was about 6 hours. We left at 11 and arrived around 6ish.
We took a public train one stop and then walked a few blocks to our hostel, so it wasn't too bad. The only downfall was that it was HOT HOT compared to Amsterdam. The hostel did not have AC either, which I guess I should not be too surprised by. Also, because it was Sunday night by the time we got there all of the supermarkets were closed. On the plus side, the food in Berlin was pretty inexpensive, and so we ate at a German falafel place. It was pretty good.
The rest of the night we decided whether we were going to Vienna, Salzburg, or Venice next based on hostel prices. You know which we chose. We then went to bed and boy was that room hot. We have now learned the art of taking cold showers to cool us down before bed (thanks Bethany for the tip ;) ).
The next day started off early because the sun was shinning directly in my eyes and the room was beginning to get hot again. We paid for the hostel breakfast which was only 3 euro each and was a lot better then the breakfast the hotel in Amsterdam offered. We decided where we were going to go that day after the train station. We went and saw the Berin Wall Memorial. It was very interesting and gave a very in depth perspective to this era in history. I definitely felt the power of the ground that I was standing on.
We then tried to find a grocery store. We found that all of them were closed and we could not figure out why. K googled it on his phone and we found out that it was because it was Whit Monday (a holiday where markets are closed--we should probably look further into this). We decided to go to a park to cool off from the midday sun. We think we went to Mauerpark (it could have just been some neighborhood park). We decided that since all of the supermarkets were closed we would have to eat out and luckily the food was not too expensive here. We looked at our guidebooks and chose a burger place they suggested that was not too far from where we were. Kruezburger, it was actually really good.
We then headed to Alexanderplatz (a square with a lot of shopping stores, a clock, a fountain, a place to watch bungee jumpers from a building, and where you can see the TV tower--more famous landmark). We took a couple pictures and thought that we would put our feet in the water of the fountain until we saw it (pretty dirty looking and filled with trash). When we sat down the stones were burning hot, needless to say we left pretty quickly.
We then walked over to Rotes Rathus (another place with fountains). We would have loved to sit down on these fountains but the first had varying degrees of spraying water and sitting alongside the fountain would make our bottoms wet. While the other fountain had people having a water fight in it, which was pretty cool to watch, but we did not want to join in.
We did find a nice bench in the shade to sit on. We people watched for a bit. I took a mini nap while K watched our stuff and continued to people watch.
We then when into a church and watched/listened to a choir sing.
They were very pretty and the church was very cool (meaning respite from the overhead sun).
Afterwards, we went back to the hostel . Which was probably a good thing as my chacos were giving me a blister and my contacts were bothering me. At the hostel we rested and tried to cool down, but to no avail. We then headed out to find dinner. On our way we explored a bridge that looked pretty old or at least had some history. We walked down a little restaurant/residential part. After we got passed a certain point we found a park, but we did not stay for long (gut feelings kicked in) we found a tiny pasta place to sit and enjoy dinner. The place was quite homey and quaint and I would have stayed all night if I could have.
When we finally left we went back to the hostel and wrote postcards. The night finally began to feel nice, but it was 9:40pm at night. We went to bed early that night because the heat had drained everything from us.
We woke up again early due to the sunlight as well as the heat. We went to a German Aldi (was really excited) and got breakfast and brought it back to the hostel to eat. We then travelled to the Holocaust Memorial. The place had very interesting architecture
There were blocks of concrete at varying heights and along sloped walkways. As you walked along them you felt as though you were going through a maze. We went into the memorial as well. Not only was it free but underground (making it cold). The museum was very interesting and quite insightful, but also very sad.
Afterwards, we went in search of a grocery store and bought picnic food and brought it to Tiergarten. We found a nice shady bench that looked over a sunny grassy field and sat to eat.
We stayed for a while to get away from the brutalizing midday sun. It was very nice and relaxing. We then decided to walk the length of the park, as we knew that we would never be able to explore all of the park due to its sheer size.
Our path led us to the Victory Momument. We decided to go into the center where it was located to get a better look. This required us to go underground to reach it, which was a blessing since it was underground and cold. When we got inside the bottom of the Momument we were required to pay 3 euro each in order to go through the museum and climb the steps to the top. K was generous enough to pay for both of us. The museum was a tribute to all great momument type buildings around the world. We breezed through the museum, anxious to get to the top. About 280 steps awaited us. We made it, and boy was the view absolutely incredible.
When we came back down we decided to treat ourselves to cold drinks at a cafe that we had seen from above. K got a beer and I got a sprite and we toasted to our victory ;) .
We then found a way to get to the post office (post bank) and mailed our postcards. After that we were kind of finished with the day and so we headed back to the hostel. We got dinner from a nearby grocery store (different sandwiches, grapes and cheese). Then we had a nice conversation with our Austrailian roommate and then were invited to sit outside with another two our roommates (brother and sister visiting from a different part of Germany). We had an interesting talk as well. We were exhausted from our day so we declined their invitation to go out.
This was our travel day. We were taking a night train from Berlin to Vienna that didn't leave until 6pm. So we decided that we were going to visit some of the other famous places that we could get to and take pictures of them even if we could not get in. We went to Reichstag (German parliament).
We also went to Berlin Dom. We took pictures, sat on a bench and enjoyed the grey weather.
Then it started to rain and so we headed for a covered column area that overlooked the river. We stayed there for a while until we decided that we should go back to the hostel and wash our sweaty clothing from Berlin before heading out to get to the train station and get dinner. While washing our clothes at the hostel we ducked out for a bite, to grab curry wursts.
We then folded laundry, packed luggage and started on our way. Obviously, we made it to to the train on time, but the train had some difficulties throughout the trip and we are a little behind schedule at this point--but I will tell you more details about that in my next post.
As per usual I'll post this when I get a chance. Until next time.
P.S. We made it to Vienna at 7am today. It is simply wonderful here, we are going to go out and enjoy this absolutely beautiful city now! ;)