Berlin - A Recap Of My Stay…It's a Mouthful.
Leaving Spain, I could only think what’s next!? So far, no country I traveled to was anything like I expected and I had been pleasantly surprised by Morocco and Barcelona. At this point, I wondered what is Berlin really like? Unlike the first two countries this would be a little different. My friend Margarita who I mentioned in my previous blog post "A week with a "Stranger", Berlin in Brooklyn" would be hosting me in Berlin. I was excited to spend time with her and really get to see the city through a locals eyes! Not only did I get to do that but my time in Berlin was inspiring, nerve-wrecking and eyeopening. Here is a little recap of my adventure:
The Berlin Wall and Berlin Wall Exhibition
It was so beautiful to see the creativity and hope that manifested from such a horrific time period. The beautiful murals painted by artists all over the world were brought to life when placed on such a harsh canvas. The exhibition highlighted the lives of those living in the time of the divide, giving historical account of the personal stories of survivors and those who lost their lives trying to escape. Although walking along the wall I was saddened by what took place here almost 25 years ago, I was also hopeful for a better world not just now but in the future.
A symbol of the unification in Germany, these columns are beautiful, massive and statuesque. It is a positive reminder of Germany’s past which juxtaposes the dreariness of the morose city. Walking through the city of Berlin, I couldn't help but think of the countless lives lost in the city as there are signs of the city’s past throughout. This monument is truly a beam of light in the Dark Berlin.
Nerve Wrecking Moments:
After our 4th flight within 10 days my friend Alyssa, Margarita and myself thought it would be a great idea to spend our first full day in Berlin at the spa. The Thermen Spa is located in one of the city center’s malls and is similar to Spa Castle. (Spa Castle, is a general admission spa located in New York City, you pay a flat rate for the day for pools and saunas but can choose to pay additional for food, beverages and special spa services.)Here’s the catch, you have to be completely nude and its Co-ed. Lets just say i got a lot of stares from men who can tell i was American and didn't understand what they were saying and I also saw a lot of skin, shriveled saggy skin.It’s not fun getting hit on when your’e both naked. The spa itself was pleasant and relaxing (especially the lavender steam room) but the experience is not for the faint of heart!
Luckily, my city guide (Margarita) is fluent in English and in German but there were times Alyssa and I would explore the city ow our own and had to rely on maps and the subway system. Quite a bit of Berliners speak English but it was still a pain trying to pronounces the names of places when our pronunication was off! Lets just say metro station names started looking the same and we found ourselves lost a few times!
TIP- When traveling it is a great idea to download the app City Maps 2 Go. It’s a life saver, even when traveling with friends there is always the chance of getting split up and it marks your home location so you can find your way home. You download the map of the city you're in and you can use it without internet connection or data.
This was a tearjerker for me. I entered the artwork hoping to experience it but didn't realize how overwhelmed I felt leaving the piece. From the outside, the memorial ground is level and there are pillars of different heights extending from it but as you enter the maze you realize the ground below you is changing in level and before you know it you are buried alive. This is just a glimpse into the lives lost and is a heart-wrenching tribute to those in the Holocaust.
One of the hottest nightclubs in the world Berghain is infamous, even to a Berliner. Berghain is a club the size of a town which has numerous segments that open throughout the weekend. On Friday evening a small portion of the club is opened with the rest of the club opening Saturday afternoon and stays open until Sunday night. Clubbing here is a weekend getaway filled with drugs, lewd conduct (it is common to see people performing sexual acts or having sex) and alcohol. Because of the “activities” taking place within the building security is very selective of the crowd and phones are not allowed to be out in the club. its the epitome of Berlin club culture and only the most “chill” people get in here. Celebrities have been turned away from the door and anyone too dressed up! Completely opposite of the New York club scene I'm used to.
I was leaving on Saturday morning so I decided not to go to Berghain since Saturday afternoon evening is the best time to experience the place, so i decided to go to Margarita to a club called Arena. Unfortunately, the wait to get into clubs in Berlin can be from anywhere from 1-6 hours and after waiting for an hour and a half i decided to go home. Plus Margarita said it’s only fun in you are on E (as in ecstasy) which personally I wasn't interested in experimenting with in general and before a flight.
My favorite! The food in Berlin is delicious! I was surprised and expected everything to taste bland. Well, imagine my shock when I had Turkish breakfast, Vegan falafel and Currywurst. All full of flavor and mouth-watering!!! Margarita’s parents are Polish and we were treated often to home cooked meals! Between that and the drinks from the 24-hour Shishah spot down the block from her house I was in Food Porn Heaven, they made the best frozen drinks!
But I let the pictures speak for themselves….( Imma just leave these here;-))