Saturday, 17 September 2016

Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2

Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |
In my second post about my interrailing adventure, I’m sharing some pictures about Berlin. If you haven’t already read my first post, A Postcard From Amsterdam, you can go read that here.

Berlin was our second planned city on our route through Europe and though I’ve already done a post on Berlin from a trip last year, I’m excited to share some photos from this visit.

Leaving Amsterdam at 7pm on a Friday, we arrived at the train station in plenty of time as we wanted to ensure we were getting the right train and with the Amsterdam to Berlin train, the train will divide into two so you need to make sure you board the right half.

Our connecting train was in Cologne and we had around an hour between trains, so we sat (on the floor - book seats on popular trains guys) and relaxed. But not for long.

This is where the story and train journey gets interesting. The train broke down. Our extremely overcrowded train. Right in the middle of the German countryside. Oh and the air con broke too.

For the first twenty minutes or so, we weren’t so worried, just very, very hot but as time went on and the train didn’t start moving, we started getting a little anxious. We weren’t the only ones in this position so we tried not to worry. As people on board started to melt and get angry at the lack of information and air con and space to move, and the departure time of our train, the only train, to Berlin went past, we started to consider our options for accommodation for the night (which weren't very many)

They fixed the train. We arrived in Cologne very late and we headed straight for the information desk to see what they suggest we do. As it turns out, they suggest we stay in the Marriott hotel across the road free of charge and board the first high speed train in the morning to Berlin, only arriving a couple of hours after we would have on the overnight and getting an extremely comfortable bed and a warm, clean shower as well.

Thank you Deutsche Bahn, you redeemed yourselves.

Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |

We arrived in Berlin the next morning feeling much more refreshed than we would’ve done had we have slept on a bunk on a noisy train. Last time I visited during February and it was feeeezing cold and very grey (more grey than Berlin usually is) so I was looking forward to seeing the city during the summer. The weekend was beautiful sunshine and almost too hot. After dropping our stuff off at the ComeBackpackers hostel, we headed to Alexanderplatz.

For lunch, we ate in Vapianos. It’s a well known Italian chain restaurant in Germany where your meal is cooked in front of you. It’s not too expensive either.

Tom and I assumed our roles as tour guides for the afternoon showing Ben and Ed the main sights including the Brandenburg Gate, German parliament, the Jewish memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, and some other buildings we’d learned about on our walking tour last year. It was Berlin Pride the weekend we were there which was fun to see, especially with the core of it being at the Brandenburg Gate.

Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |
Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |
Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |

We had already decided, weeks and weeks ago, that Berlin was going to be a place for a night out. Tom and I were keen to revisit Matrix as we’d had a couple of good nights out there so we headed to Rewe (a supermarket) for some pre drinks and then found a park near our hostel for some drinking games.

Matrix is a pretty big club with lots of different rooms not far from the East Side Gallery, I believe it is open every night of the week which is rare for a club in Berlin and has drinks deals during the week.

Bet you can’t guess how Sunday morning was spent. Yeah, not great. When we finally decided we felt human enough to leave the hostel, we headed to East Side Gallery to see the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately since last year they’ve put a fence up on parts of it in an attempt to preserve it, but there is still a section at one end and also on the Gallery river side where there is no fencing. It’s still worth seeing nonetheless, and the current exhibition looking into Syrian’s lives was really humbling.

Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |

For dinner we headed to a favourite from last year, the Berliner Republik. I’ve talked more about it in this post, but it’s a great choice if you want beer and German food.
Postcard from Berlin - Interrailing Part 2 |

We spent the evening at Tempelhof, an abandoned airport and now park. It’s a huge place so you might want to rent bikes to visit, and if you go during the day you can get a tour around the terminal, but we just went to play frisbee and cards and chill, which a lot of other people also seemed to be doing. There was a brief visit from a fire engine to put out a BBQ fire but it was a lovely way to spend our last few hours in Berlin.

Let me know if you liked this post, and I can't wait to share my pictures from our next city, beautiful Prague.

Hannah Lane

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