After only five days back at the villa after our group trip, I travelled to Berlin with a few of classmates. Our journey was somewhat uneventful, minus a terrifying landing in Tegel airport and an interesting time at buying bus tickets (we probably should have learned some basic German before coming). Despite all the scares and confusion, we arrived at our hostel late Friday night. We had planned to go on a bike tour Saturday morning, but public transportation had other plans for us. So after lunch we regrouped we were off to see the city.
We started off by visiting the Berlin Cathedral and climbing to the top of the dome. We ate huge heart-shaped soft pretzels for Valentine’s Day while we were on the way to Checkpoint Charlie. While we were walking we passed the bike tour we tried to join in the morning, and they looked miserable because it was starting to rain. So it seemed like we made the better choice. The we walked to the Topography of Terror and saw on of the remaining portions of the Berlin Wall. Then we made a stop for currywurst, which is a Berlin creation consisting of pork sausage covered in a spicy ketchup-it was so good! Just like the fries and waffles in Brussels, we ate them more often in two days than we’d care to admit. After our snack we went to the Peter Eisenman Memorial to the murdered Jews. This was definitely my favorite part of Berlin. We ended the day with a visit to the Brandenburg Gate just as the sun was setting.
After dinner, by demand of Brianne, we went on a bar crawl. It was actually really fun! In our favorite bar of the night, ‘Silberfisch’ (open till 8am!), Brianne made friends with the dj and requested Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen be played. Needless to say she probably hated us, but we sure had a great time! Apparently Berlin has a local version of Red Bull called Club Mate. One of the drink specials at a bar on our crawl was a Vodka Mate so we all tried it. It wasn’t bad, but definitely not what I was expecting – it tasted like raisins!
On day two we were up and out of the hostel pretty early considering the events of the night before. We first went to Museum Island, where we walked around but didn’t go inside any of the museums. We then went to see the German parliament building- The Reichstag, the Bauhaus Archives and the Olympic Stadium.
On the way to the Olympic stadium we realized there were a lot of people getting on the metro wearing jerseys and scarves. We had no idea that soccer games were held inside the Olympic stadium so you can imagine our surprise when we got off the metro and there was a sea of people headed towards the stadium for the game. We decided that if tickets were under 20 Euro we would go to the game – they were 19.50 so we all grabbed some team scarves and headed into the stadium for the game. It was quite the experience for all of us – none of us had ever been to a professional soccer game before. The home team was Hertha BSC and they were playing Wolfsburg. ‘Our team’ ended up losing 1-2, but we had a great time anyway.
Monday morning were up at 3 am to start our 9 hour trek back to Genoa. Our flight left at 6 am for Milan. Somehow there is no train to Genoa during the 10 am hour, so we had to wait until 11 since we would have missed the 9 am train. Looking like the living dead, we arrived at the villa right at lunch time. It was a very fun yet exhausting weekend. Luckily we have some time to recover before the Villa Party this Friday and our independent travel the following Friday.