Day 9…backpacking in Berlin

19 05 2007

*my blog homepage comes up in a different language everytime I change countries. It’s funny trying to figure out what “Vorschau” means in German. AND the doggone keyboard in Germany in different so this is a struggle. The “Y” is on the bottom!*

This weekend was our free weekend. A few of us chose to go to Berlin. Some have gone to visit former concentration camps. Some folks went to Switzerland. Some to Barcelona. Some to Amsterdam (we think). I’m in the Big B…Berlin that is!

We had to get up CRAZY early after that interesting French party we went to last night. The bus was leaving at 6:45am. Those who were going to Berlin had an early flight to catch, and we didn’t know how busy the airport would be and what we’d have to deal with in customs. Come to find out, we didn’t have to deal with anything! The airport is really small…one of the ones that you have to take a bus to the plane on the tarmac (?). All we really had to wait on was the lines to open up at 8:15. No major waits at all. And by the way, if you ever need to fly in/through Berlin, fly Air Berlin. The seats were like business class seats on a normal plane, and there was much more leg room even though the plane was smaller. I digress…

So we made it safely to Berlin. We tried to find the place we’re staying at and had a bit of difficulty. It’s actually a hostel, Alcatraz Backpacker Hostel in Berlin. But before you think the wrong things, this isn’t a dirty grimey place. It’s very nice. The doors all have ‘graffiti’ of various images. If it were in Atlanta, it would be in East Atlanta or L5P. It’s pretty cool. Plus there are a lot of eateries and stores right out the door along with bus stops, subway stops and some interesting characters.

After we found it and discovered that we couldn’t check in until 3 (and it was 11), we left our stuff in their luggage room, grabbed some quick food and an introductory German lesson from the café owner, we went about to find a tour of the city. We found a nice double-decker bus tour and discovered Berlin. I saw where the wall once was, the differences between East and West then and now, Checkpoint Charlie, and I saw the remnants of the wall today. I cried without even realizing that I knew it affected me. It was a major thing to see that wall still standing.

But, basically, most of Berlin is brand new and you can tell. New shops, museums, cafés, roads…all because of that wall coming down.

I’m going to the Jewish Museum tomorrow and to the museum at Checkpoint Charlie. Will let you know how that goes. I don’t have my camera so I’ll add the pics a little later.

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