It is a long weekend and I have been pondering the idea of going outside the Baden-Wuttermberg region. Berlin or Munich were both high on my list, as I was beginning to ache for some art and culture. Being so close to the date, neither German Wings, nor the Air Berlin had any good deals for flights. The only option left was the Deutsche Bahn, or the Damn Bahn, as I prefer to call it. I mentioned earlier my complete disillusionment with the "speed and comfort" I seemed to remember from some travel show I watched about Europe back in Canada. The trains are expensive, slow and often not air-conditioned.
Not having any other option, I looked into the cheapest way of getting to Berlin from Tuebingen. The funny thing is, if you are a "youth" (under 26) it is often cheaper to get a 2-3-4 day pass than paying the last-minute fare one way (which, in my case, was 148 euros for 2nd class. No, thanks, DB!)
And so with the German Rail youth pass I went...8 hrs on the train! Amazingly enough, it wasn't too tiring. It was actually a good time to relax and reflect. I listened to Deva Premal the whole way there and I arrived in a very peaceful, accepting state. And I am sure this was a big part of why everything went fantastic. The hotel was great (booked on hotels.ca) and Berlin itself was very interesting to see. The metro system was surprisingly easy to figure out, while the trams-not so much. At one point I started walking in what I thought was the hotels' direction, based on the posted house numbers (they are usually at every intersection), which turned out to be exactly the opposite. However, I wasn't about to take my chance with the trams, that seemed to go every way but straight. Well, that's just me.
I took a bus tour for most of one day and walked around on the other two. Parts of the city reminded me of Moscow, parts were just like in the tourist book and others were just surreal pieces of history that could be felt very strongly....I am talking about the Berlin wall, of course. What an experience to walk where it all happened, to read the timeline posters that were put up with great care in order to fill the tourists in on the timeline (let me summarize: the Russians are to blame. Germany wanted nothing but peace, of course. Ha ha ha)
It is one of those cities where you just like to wander, eat food from the street vendors, take lots of bad pictures and blend in with the crowd. It was equally as exciting to explore the sights during the day and at night, when the shop windows became lit in all colours of the rainbow.
First impression of Hauptbanhoff was the surreal, 5-story design with trains going on the top floor (!) and the shops on the lower ones. Then, stumbling upon a swanky but unexpectedly cheap wine bar in the same central train station, I knew I wasn't in Tuebingen anymore. A pleasant change from donairs to curry wursts was also quite welcome. The Zoo square, in particular, caught my attention. It had food booths from every international food group imaginable. You could have fish and chips with a noodle box and shashlik without walking as much as 50 steps. Oh, Berlin, a food lover's paradise! I am quite happy to say with selection like this, I never once made it to a restaurant in 3 days. Unfortunately, I also did not make it to a contemporary art museum, as most art destinations were outside of the city centre and frankly, I was too lazy to figure out how to get there on transit. Partly, my laziness was due to knowing that soon enough, I will be back for more.
|Charlottenburg palace. I never made it inside, the only time I had to see it was at night. It 's prettier this way anyways.|