Where: Berlin, Germany
When: 31/12/2014 – 03/01/2015
I will live in Berlin one day.
It is in my top three favourite cities that I’ve ever been to, along with London and Washington D.C. It’s not just that it is large, diverse, and beautiful (though it is all three). The fact that I speak some German is a minor, not a major factor. There is something intangible about it that I’m drawn to. It just seems like it would be a fantastic place to live. It has endless activities, from parks to museums to travel possibilities. It has a great public transport system, which is good since I hate driving. It has a fascinating history, visible in each distinct neighbourhood I visited, be it East or West Berlin. And it has of the best citizens; not exactly the nicest, but the real-est. Berliners may exchange less pleasantries than others, but they are always willing to help, and you always know where you stand with them.
Last time I was in Berlin (for Eurotrip after high school graduation), I only had time for some minor sightseeing. This time, I made sure to really absorb as much as possible, and I feel I succeeded. I spent New Years Eve at Brandenburg Tor (although I had to sneak in because they said it was ‘full’), saw four different Berlin Wall memorials, the Reichstag, the Fernseher Tower… It would take too long to list all I did. What boggles my mind is there is a longer list of things I didn’t get around to doing.
Berlin was a great way to end the tourist-y half of my winter break with my sister. Despite a hellish train ride getting here, and battling terrible jet lag throughout, I had an absolute blast.
(More backstory on New Years Eve: We had left to go to Brandenburg Tor at 21.30ish or so, and got there about 45 minutes later. We were waiting in line with a huge mass of people, as security was checking everyone for alcohol and fireworks. After getting jostled around for another 45 minutes and almost suffocating from lack of space, the security guards tell us the Tor is ‘closed’ because there are too many people, even though there was a whole kilometre of zero people. But, as we were leaving around the side, an Aussie we had befriended in line noticed an opening in the fence, and we ducked through it, and ended up inside. The fireworks were meh, but it was cool to be with at least 100k other people to ring in the New Year.)