Yes it has been a while since I have last written. I’ve been busy trying to start my thesis and design my website so I have a real one and of course I have to squeeze some fun and travel in there sometimes.
So since my last entry I took off for Berlin for an extended weekend with Danielle (my roommate and fellow Pepperdine student). Rogge (Pepperdine IMBA studying in Stuttgart, Germany) meet up with us in Berlin and the three of us spent our weekend soaking up all the history that the city had to offer. My only experience with Germany before this trip was from my trip to Munich back in October for Oktoberfest. I didn’t really see much of Munich but from what I could tell it was VERY clean and orderly and well met my expectations of Germany. Berlin on the other hand surprised me. I guess I should have half expected it, knowing that the city has had and continues to have many problems. However, I guess I still just figured it’s Germany and it should be like the rest of Germany. The city itself has undergone massive reconstruction and continues to to the day. The buildings are so much more modern than most European cities and it just doesn’t really have that “European” feel (at least not to me). Some parts of the city did and the more I walked around the more it did feel “European”. But aside from that, it’s dirty, lots of construction, and comes off as much poorer than other parts of Europe or Germany. This being said you probably get the impression that I didn’t really enjoy Berlin. That’s not at all the case. I really enjoyed my time in Berlin and really grew to like the city a lot.
Danielle and I took the night train leaving Paris on Friday night and arriving Saturday morning. That was 12 hours on the train, which wouldn’t have been too bad had we sprung for the beds. However, being the travelers that we are and having the mindset that if we go a little cheaper on this trip that’s money we could put towards another trip; so we opted to go with just the regular seats. We were a little concerned upon first boarding the train, but we surprisingly managed to get quite a bit of sleep on the train, although very restless sleep. But alas we made it to Berlin Saturday morning. We found the hostel, dropped our luggage off and went shopping, in their large new Mall/Sony Center, as Rogge wasn’t due to arrive until a few hours later. We had a fine hamburger for lunch in an American diner and then met Rogge at the hostel. So for some reason we started off our Berlin trip very American like. But that soon changed. After Rogge arrived, we went in search of the tourism office but never actually found it. We wound up just walking around for the rest of the day then went back to the hostel showered then went out for a real German meal and then some Berlin night life. Had a great night, but maybe too much fun as the next day we woke up quite early for our all day walking tour on the history of Berlin. We figured this would be a great way to see the city and learn the history and by all day they didn’t really mean ALL day, did they? Well apparently they did because it turned out to be a 9 hour walking tour. But I’d say well worth the 10 euros it cost. It was amazing to hear all the history behind this city, never really realized the extent of it all and seeing parts of the Berlin wall still erected gave an eerie feeling of what it must have been like to live back then with the wall. We all enjoyed ourselves and that night had a great German dinner.
The next day was beautiful but a bit of a bust as far as seeing stuff, for with the exception of one museum the others we wished to see were all closed due to it being Easter Monday (here in Europe they celebrate Easter Monday and not Good Friday like we do). Danielle and I desperate to still find an apple strudel (so far this whole weekend we had been “too late” for an apple strudel every time we tried to get one) marched all over the city in search of a place where we weren’t “too late” for the apple strudel. At last we finally found one, actually the same one we had come across on our first day there while shopping, and it was by far the best one we had ever seen. We purchased that and a pretzel, got our bags and boarded our train for the trip back to Paris. Again 12 hours on the train and this time we got to go to work when we arrived, after going back to the apartment and showering of course. All in all a great trip and it was great seeing Rogge again and getting to watch him use his German. So a big thanks to our translator!