So last Thursday Sam and I headed off on our Spring break which we have given the title and the hashtag #blondesonbreak. After a bus from Lille to Paris, a tram and then a bus from Paris to the airport and then a flight (where i had three seats to myself woohoo) and a cab ride we finally got to the beautiful city of Berlin. We woke up early the first morning and had breakfast at the hostel which was surprisingly good. Then we walked to the Reichstag which is the German parliament building. I had made an appointment to go up the building where the glass dome is which not only has great views but you can learn a lot about the government which was awesome. And it’s free! Super glad we had that planned as it was a great way to spend the morning and brush up on my German politics. From there we went to Starbucks to get a quick snack. I have really been loving how no one can spell my name in Europe. In berlin I got: Ameulie.
From there we headed to the Holocaust memorial which is the square with all of the black blocks you all may have seen before. It looks super abstract but once you walk through the blocks the ground kind of dips up and down. It almost swallows you up. Someone told me that this must have been what the Holocaust was like- from the outside it just looked like an abstract, chaotic mess. But persecution is nothing new to the Jewish population and so it may have not seemed so different than past problems. However once you were IN it, it took you down a whole other path and swallowed you up whole. You lost your sense of self and your surroundings. I found that description of it all really haunting. Underneath it is a little museum about it all and it dedicated a lot of focus to personal stories to the lives of those who may otherwise be forgotten. They also have a database where you can look up those affected. There were A LOT of Zupniks. I’ve never seen that before ( I’ve never seen another Zupnik before ever) and for me that was when a whole new range of emotions came on.
That afternoon we got on a hop on hop off bus tour. Berlin is so big I was glad to see lots of it this way. We also learned a lot which great- for instance did you know Berlin is one of the greenest cities in the world with over 1/3 of it being covered in green space? Or that it has one if the oldest undergrounds in the world. Bet ya didn’t. We naturally stopped midway in the shopping area to go in forever 21 (France doesn’t have one). All I can say is now I am traveling with a backpack and a whole other bag. After we finished the bus tour around 6 we grabbed a quick bite in a food court at the train station and walked home ( I led the way and didn’t get lost!). We spent that night in the hostel bar enjoying some German pilsner until I found out they had Strongbow and I started enjoying that instead.
Day two in Berlin was spent exploring the city some more. We went to the Topographies of Terrors which is located on the grounds where the Getaspo prison and headquarters was located during the war. Lots more learning was done there. Outside the museum is a long stretch of the Berlin Wall that was left as is which was so neat to see. I can’t even imagine a city being separated in the way that Berlin was. So surreal that after all of the destruction that Berlin experienced during WWII the Cold War came and ravaged the city even more. In the afternoon we headed over to East Berlin to check out the East Side Gallery. This is about a mile long stretch of the wall on the edge of the river which has been decorated by artists from all over. Such cool artwork and messages that we couldn’t help but take our time and take about 1,000000 pictures. That night we had planned to go out and experience the infamous Berlin nightlife but were maybe to ambitious and confident in our directional/German skills and so we ended up getting lost. We ended up hanging at the hostel bar with our favourite hostel bartender Rob who is from Australia and we had nicknamed hipster Rob.
Our last morning in Berlin we decided to grab some food and bring it to the lawn in front of the Reichstag where we just lounged and people watched, all while enjoying the beautiful sun and Germany’s beautiful people (seriously hottest boys in Europe this far).
Overall I loved Berlin. Such a hipster vibe which constantly made me want to be trendier. I really loved the mix of the old and new that you find there as well. There is a huge presence of old neo- classical architecture but there is just as much modern architecture which makes for a really cool city landscape. I had previously loved Munich and now after visiting Berlin I think Germany would be the European country I’d most like to live in.
Saturday afternoon we caught our bus to Prague or as it’s known in Czech: Praha. There were only about six people on the bus so we were able to lounge and spread out quite a bit. Once we got to Prague I was immediately struck by the beauty of it all. After finding our hostel (literally the most central place if anyone is going to Prague stay at Prague Square Hostel) we met up with my long lost roomie Rhea who was just finishing up her Spring Break with her friend Julia who is studying in Amsterdam. We met some Spanish guys in our hostel and after having a few drinks there with them we headed out to explore a bar rhea had found. The bar was basically a labyrinth of connected tunnels that looked like caves. Very cool and very laid back. Sam and I were exhausted at this point after a long day of traveling so we headed back to the hostel for a much needed sleep!
Lots of love to you all!