On the 9th of October, a group of people from my school and I went to Berlin for 4 days: SUCH a gorgeous city to say the least. Full of art, culture and a broad history consisting of terrible but somehow quite interesting things. We went to museums, walked a lot, slept very little and made memories.
Day 1: The first day was simple but long, we had to be ready at 7am to get on the bus for like 9-10 hours, which I didn’t mind. I had fun people around me and I had some good conversations, it kind of felt like 4 hours to me. We took a few small stops to stretch & go to the toilet and we also took 2 longer stops: one at the former DDR border crossing point (Helmstedt-Marienborn), and one at the Olympiastadium. Unfortunately we didn’t get to look inside the stadium.
Once we arrived at the hostel we were going to be staying in, it was around 6pm already. We went to our rooms; Rafaela (my best friend) and I shared a room with 4 others, most of the rooms were for 6 people. We made our beds, unpacked a little and then met everyone downstairs to go out for dinner at 7pm. We went to Alexanderplatz, it’s full of food places based on different cultures, so you’ll always find something you like. Since it’s October and it’s already dark outside at 7pm, it was extra cosy, but also extra cold. I immediately noticed how stylish and different everyone was in Berlin, most people stood out and looked like they weren’t afraid to wear what they want to wear, which I loved.
We were free to go until 9:30pm, so we could also have a look around after dinner. After nosing about for a bit my friends and I all agreed on eating Turkish food. Later that evening we also went to look at the Berlin Festival of Lights at the Fernsehturm (television tower), it was amazing! The outside of the tower changed every 10 seconds or so and it looked so real and cool. We arrived back at the hostel around 11:30pm and I fell asleep pretty fast since it was such a long day.
Day 2: The alarm went off too early, everyone was really sleepy. We had breakfast in the hostel around 7am and then met everyone again downstairs to get on the bus. The bus took us to a former Stasi prison called ‘Gedänkstatte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen’. I find going to these things really interesting and confronting, especially when there are still leftovers. Things don’t feel so real until you actually see them. I didn’t take any pictures here as you would probably expect if you’ve read my ‘A Week Away‘ blog post (I didn’t take any pictures at Kamp Westerbork in The Netherlands either).
Around midday we went to Brandenburger Tor to eat lunch. This was one of my favourite parts of the day: the sun came out, I took a lot of pictures, my friends and I laughed a lot and the monument and place itself were just gorgeous.
We spent time at Brandenburger Tor until 1:30pm, then we took a long walk through East-Berlin. We walked through some sort of maze for about 20 minutes (the Holocaust Memorial), passed the place where Hitler committed suicide (the Führerbunker) and then headed towards Ritter Sport, a massive chocolate store. You can even create your own chocolate bar there, which Rafaela did. It takes about 30 minutes and we obviously used that waiting time productively by looking at all the different kinds of chocolate.
After finishing our walk through East-Berlin it was time for us to go to the Reichstag Building, the German parliament. We got a guided tour there and when we eventually arrived on the roof, I knew we couldn’t have got there at a better time: the sunset and view looked amazing. I think that made me fall in love with Berlin even more.
My friends and I had pizza for dinner at a small restaurant/cafe, I don’t know what to call it. Later that evening we all went bowling, which was a lot of fun. We didn’t have a winner because the scores got messed up, but that’s not what it was about (I got 3 strikes though, I’m proud of myself).
Day 3: Our last full day in Berlin, I had been excited for this day ever since we received a paper at school with what we’d be going to do each day. We started off at the East Side Gallery (the Berlin Wall) – yay! I love art and the stories behind it, so I was pretty sure I’d love the East Side Gallery. And I did. It also made me realise how close the fall of the Berlin Wall actually is, although it seems long ago, it’s really not.
Then we got a boat tour on Spree river which I was SO excited for. Luckily we were allowed to sit inside instead of on the roof of the boat because it was freezing outside. I loved everything we came past and we had a lot of fun inside the boat. This was definitely one of my favourite activities of our trip. After our boat tour we went to the DDR Museum, which is full of things related to daily life in East-Berlin during World War II. This was interesting as well. And thennn… we went to KaDeWe, a super big warehouse in West-Berlin, which obviously meant shopping. I didn’t buy anything because it was pretty expensive, but I definitely enjoyed looking around. It’s one of those places you can have a good time at, even if you don’t have any money to spend.
Around 7pm we went out for dinner again, our last dinner here. My friends and I went to a fast food cafe and we all got some kind of chicken and fries menu. I could eat that again right now… anyways, we went back to the hostel around 9pm, earlier than the rest of the group because there was no point in just staying outside without having anything to do. The rest of the evening was pretty relaxed, we just laughed and joked around a lot.
Day 4: Breakfast, finishing packing our suitcases… not fun at all. We then went for our last activity: we visited Sachsenhausen, a former concentration camp. Which was really confronting as well, just like the prison we went to. All the guided tours we got in Berlin during these 4 days were all given in German and I could understand all of it, I think that’s what made it even more interesting to me. After this we left Berlin and went back home.
4 days spent with loads of nice people, thanks to everyone who came along, aaand a big thank you to Rafaela, Senn, Syb & Jochem for the awesome memories & moral support because I happened to feel pretty homesick. I would definitely recommend going to Berlin, it’s such a beautiful city.
Rafaela vlogged all of this, it’d be great if you checked out her channel!
Day 3: keep your eyes peeled for this one, it’s coming soon!