Saturday started off with me waking up at 8:30 am this morning, which is the best sleep I have had since arriving in Europe. #winning
Neele and I grabbed a bit of breakfast. Then, we hopped on the train to an area of Berlin where the classier shops are (Chanel, Fendi, Tesla, etc.) so Neele could get her hair cut. Since we were early, we walked up and down the street taking in all the shops and buildings.
After the mission “get Neele’s haircut” was complete, we hopped back on the train and then onto a bus to go and see the Berlin Victory Column and the President’s house thereafter. In my opinion, the German President’s house is MUCH more impressive than the White House.
Next, Neele and I hopped on the city bus again and got off at the nearest stop to find the Birkenstock’s store. We happened upon an area of the city we had not yet walked through. At the time, there was a market going with local artisans selling wares such as cashmere scarves, jewelry, and wooden bow ties. As Neele navigated us to the store, we stumbled upon an artsy alleyway containing the coolest murals and graffiti. Its the unexpected discoveries of beautiful city hideaways that make traveling so much fun!
Once we found the Birkenstock store and I made my purchase, we went on a hunt to the nearest Wonder Waffel – a restaurant where you can build the most decadent waffle with ice cream and candy. However, when Neele and I reached the restaurant, the line was obnoxiously long. Since we were both starved, we decided to select different food for lunch. I ended up with the traditional German currywurst with fries. Essentially, a sausage with a ketchup concoction with curry powder. Delicious!
The next item on Neele’s and my agenda did not start until 6:30 pm, so to kill time we just wandered around Berlin looking at shops and the architecture. We walked down a side street and stumbled upon the monument below. The statues are in memoriam of the 2,500 Jews that were buried in the mass grave behind the fence. I was shocked to knowing mere steps away 2,500 bodies were buried in the ground.
Neele and I then walked back up the side street and went to a cafe to grab some caffeine before taking the bus to our final destination: the Reichstag. I learned tipping is customary in Germany but is not based on a percentage. Neele informed me you typically just tack on a few Euros based on the service you received. Valuable information!
After she and I were caffeinated, we hopped on the bus only to find out a protest was occurring and the bus driver could not drive through the area which would take us where we needed to go. As a result, Neele and I hopped off the bus and walked for 30 minutes. The walking was peaceful and allowed us to see more of the city and some of the famous buildings, like the Berlin Cathedral, lit up at night.
Before heading the Reichstag, we walked over to the Holocaust memorial because I wanted to see the area at night. However, I thought the concrete blocks would be lit up, but that was simply not the case. In the picture taken at night, you are able to see the massive number of blocks representing the Jews who never received a proper burial. Unfortunately, the height of blocks is not captured in the photos nor how the ground is purposely made uneven between some rows. Truly, the Berlin Holocaust memorial is a sight to behold in person.
To finish off our evening, Neele and I went into the dome of the Reichstag. In order to do so, you must reserve your spot online and bring a valid ID with you. No entry fee is charged. Essentially, Neele and I were able to go into the building where the German government meets to vote. Any German citizen can sit in on the German voting process at any time because the government views the process as a right of Germans. We took an elevator up to the dome and walked up the spiraling ramp, which provided a fantastic, panoramic view of Berlin. Since there was no voting going on, we were unable to see the voting process occur.
Leave a positive impression,