Berlin, Berlin


Today is our last day in Berlin – we are currently in the train station having breakfast and a coffee waiting for our train to Dresden.

Berlin has been an experience! It's not quite what i expected as a city, but everything and more than I expected as an experience. The history here is so immense – and its not all to do with Nazi's and the Third Reich either – Berlin is so much more.

Our first day was a pretty slow one, getting in at about 3pm from the train, we made our way to our hostel – which we were surprised to find out didn't have kitchen or cooking facilities (which would have made eating heaps cheaper). The hostel was absolutely massive as well - not great for getting good night sleep as there is always someone carrying on out in the corridors. But we survived – live and learn – stick to the smaller hostels, and make sure they have kitchen facilities,

After settling in, we headed out to explore the local neighborhood – which seemed to be pretty alternative, laid back, and chilled out part of the city (reminded us a bit of Brunswick St in Melbourne – heaps of cafe's and restaurants, and cheapish food & drink).

We found ourselves a small pizza & pasta place where we could get a pizza for 2.50 Euros – bloody cheap compared to most eat out meals around. Beer was also at supermarket prices – 1.50 Euro for 500ml, compared to around 3.50 Euro elsewhere!

We soon discovered that Germany was playing Portugal – every cafe and restaurant had it on big screens out on the street. So we found a nice little cafe and settled in for the evening – enjoying the atmosphere, and the fire crackers that were let off in the street every time Germany scored. Germany ended up winning, which was probably a good thing considering how fanatical they are about the game over here.

The following day we headed into Berlin city to pick up a free bike tour around Berlin. The tour went for about 3.5 hours and took us to most of the main sights around the city – much better than walking, and the price was right! It was actually an excellent tour.

Later in the afternoon – both rather tired – we headed back to the hostel for a brief planning session, a few beers and a bit to eat before taking in some soccer on the big screen at the hostel and an early-ish night.

After enjoying the free bike tour so much, we decided to take up the Third Reich tour offered by the same tour group. This was a 3.5 hour walking tour around the main sights of Berlin that were associated with Hitler, the Nazi party, and the Third Reich in general. This was an absolutely fascinating tour, possibly one of the best we have done yet.

Following the tour we stumbled upon a Jewish history museum, which is actually located beneath the European Jewish Memorial – which we were surprised we hadn't seen on the previous day after spending some time at the memorial. This was a pretty good museum as well, and again it was at the right price.

After another full day – and with now reasonably weary legs – we headed back to our little pizza place for some cheap dinner and a beer.

After dinner, we went back to the hostel for another quick planning session, a beer or two, and to watch some more soccer (Russia v Netherlands).

So that brings us up to date – and a little closer to the departure time of our train.