If there was one key lesson that my friend Emma and I learned from our traveling adventures, it was: if you think a destination is in a certain direction, turn around and walk the other way. . .Let’s just say having a good sense of direction is not our strong suit but sometimes it makes visiting different places more interesting! This was a pretty consistent theme with our trip which I will explain later on, but let’s just get on with our stay in Berlin shall we? Hopping on the train to Germany went very smoothly and overall we had a lovely ride over to Berlin with only a minor delay at one of the stations where we had to transfer trains, but unfortunately due to the delay we arrived to the station in Berlin a lot later than we had expected which made it a bit tricky to figure out how to get to the apartment that we had booked to stay in since it was in a neighborhood a bit out of the city centre. I felt really guilty for making the apartment owner stay up waiting for the two of us to arrive and check-in, but I suppose there are some things you just can’t control. Of course knowing our issues with direction, we made sure to carefully follow the directions the owner had given us, but somewhere along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up walking ten minutes in the opposite direction.
Let’s just say I don’t think I’ll be signing up for the Amazing Race anytime soon haha. . .I actually ended up asking someone walking down the street if they knew how to get to the address we had been given and they we extremely friendly and were able to tell us how to get there! I think it is safe to say that Emma and I were both extremely exhausted from a full day of travel and were very relieved to finally make it to the lovely apartment to just sit back and relax for a bit. Similarly to the other hostels that we reserved, we booked the apartment on hostelworld and I would definitely recommend it to future travelers as the owner was very helpful and friendly and staying in an apartment gave us the feel that we were residents of the city even if it was only for a couple of days.Here is the room that we stayed in. It also had a private bathroom off to the right which was a luxury for us to have for a couple of nights.Here is a photo of the bathroom. I felt so lucky to have our own bathroom for a couple of nights!The shared living room space. It was really lovely during the day as well with all of the natural light beaming through the windows.I loved how the walls had a slightly unfinished look to them. You can kind of see the hallway through the entrance to the living room which led to the shared kitchen.
Since we were only in Berlin for a few days, we wanted to make the most of our brief stay so we spent most of the evening planning out what sights we wanted to see and areas of the city we should explore. Berlin is such a big city packed with tons of history revealed through the many monuments and surviving architecture. The first full day that we had in the city, we decided to visit the film museum and take a walk around the prominent Tiergarten park which is home to many historical monuments including the famous Brandenburg Gate. Unfortunately, the weather was being a bit fickle and we had little time to enjoy the sunshine. I suppose the rain just decided it had to follow us all the way from the notoriously rainy Seattle, but we came prepared with our rain coats at the ready. I was so excited to view the film museum not only because I study theatre at Uni, but growing up I have always had a passion for watching films so it is really interesting to see where a big part of the film industry really took off and developed in to the art form it is today. Now we think of Hollywood as being the main centre of film and television, but quite a few early motion pictures were created in Germany including The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis both well known and highly regarded movies. If you enjoy any form of film and television at all (which, let’s be honest who doesn’t enjoy settling down to watch an entertaining movie every once in a while?) then this museum is a must see! Not only does it incorporate the history of the German film industry, but it has quite a few artifacts, set models, props and costumes some even worn by well known film stars including Marlene Dietrich for visitor viewing. I have to say in addition to the subject matter that the museum focused on, it also did an incredible job of presenting all of the information in an engaging way regardless of if you are invested in film and cinema! I wish that I could have taken some photos to give you all a sense of what I’m talking about, but unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed in the museum so I guess now you have an excuse to visit!This was the only photo I was allowed to take at this museum, but I suppose it keeps the mystery alive for new visitors.There were so many different monuments and memorials dispersed throughout the park to look at which kept our afternoon stroll interesting.
Tiergarten park was lovely and I can only imagine on a sunny beautiful afternoon taking a leisurely walk and sipping some iced tea; however, as I said the weather had other plans in store for us so we took a quick stroll along the park pathways bundled up in the few layers of clothing we had. It is always nice to have peaceful green areas in major metropolitan cities and this was no exception. If you ever find yourself in Berlin, this park is a must see not only for the vegetation but also for the many monuments integrated throughout.
On day two of our Berlin adventure, call us crazy, but we decided to do a six hour walking tour of the city. I know SIX hours sounds insane, but it was actually a really great way to see all of the sights in the city unique to Berlin while gaining background information as well. We were lucky to have such a wonderful tour guide, Espin, who was not only knowledgeable but was funny and engaging. By the end of it, although our feet definitely felt the aftermath of walking all day, the tour itself didn’t feel super long. I would definitely recommend checking out the Berlin walking tours if you are around the city for a short amount of time but still want to see everything! And if you don’t feel like shelling out 12 to 15 euros on a walking tour, there are always free tours available that usually last about two hours if you fancy a brief and comprehensive walk around Berlin. Overall Berlin was a great city to visit on our trip and we both learned a lot about its history. Now on to Prague, or the city that looks like it was taken straight out of a fairytale!