I have to admit after camping for 3-days in the rain in Munich it was also nice to board our train to Berlin. After finding out that the trip would normally cost 260 Euro for the both of us we were quite happy indeed with the investment we made through Eurail, it will definitely pay itself off. The train journey was about 6 hours and since we are too cheap to pay 10 Euros to reserve seats it ended up being 6 hours of playing musical seats. The fun and games ended up with us camping out between two carriages. Private room, ensuite, window views in abundance – we may as well of been in first class!
We arrived in Berlin in the early evening to the main station and easily found our way to the S-Bahn, which is also included in our tickets so we didn’t have to pay a cent. We made our way to the Charlottenburg station and from here we followed the hostels directions – which I have to say were spot on and made our lives so much easier. It was a good start to our stay at Hostel Die Etage.
The hostel was nice, especially for a private double room for under 50 Euro a night. Our room was huge, beds were comfy and the lady at the reception equipped us with a map and all the important relevant info for our sightseeing adventures in Berlin. So the next stop was dinner, which was also from a recommendation by the hostel. Curry Mit Biss, is a small roadside food stall on the main road in Charlottenburg and as you can guess they do the famous Berlin curry wurst (sausage). So for about 5 Euros each we got a plate full of curry wurst and chips with a bottle of Berliner Pils on the side. I have to admit I have had curry wurst twice in my life now and it’s not a favourite. Think of a sausage in sweet tomato ketchup with curry powder mixed in. Tiredness had set in at this stage and we hit the sack to rejuvenate for the next day.
Our first full day in Berlin started off with a delicious hotdog with crispy fried onions on brought at a stall out in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Delicious yes, but 3 euros each – not that great! It was here at 11am we meet up with the Sandeman’s New Berlin crew to partake in the “Free Walking Tour” – which by the way is free if you can be hard-arsed however they like to mention that they ‘work for tips alone’. They may as well advertise that all the tour guides are orphans too. Or quite rightly charge 2-3 Euros per person and leave out the guilt. Ok enough about that, it is an awesome service and now the second one we have done (the previous was in Madrid).
The tour is 3 and a half hours and you are in groups of about 30 people. The tour is very informative and you actually get quite engrossed in the German history. Not being a history buff I have to admit I learnt a lot and was hugely surprised at how recently a lot of major events in German history happened. For instance the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 and the country finally being put back together. You also have to remember that Berlin was heavily bombed in WWII so a lot of the buildings are quite new. The tour takes you to various sites including; the Holocaust Memorial, Check Point Charlie, the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag (impressive parliament building), the site of the book burning’s (Bebelplatz) and you get to stand over top of Hitler’s bunker (sorry folks no one is allowed to go in it sadly!).
A must that is not included in the tour, simply because it would make it an awfully long walking tour is the East Side Gallery. So we hopped on the S-Bahn and made our way further into East Berlin. The gallery is awesome; it is about 1kms of the Wall, which has some of the most amazing graffiti/murals on it. Morgan’s favourite part of course came at the end when we stumbled across a Lowenbrau beer garden. Convenient! So we were able to sit in the garden alongside the river with our 1l beers and contemplate all we had seen that day. By the way if you go to the beer garden between 3pm-7pm it’s happy hour, 1l Oktoberfest beer = 5 euro, bargain!
That night we went back to our old ways of a supermarket dinner, which consisted of noodles, tuna and of course the Milka-Daim chocolate and some Trolli lollies. Not to mention the 1.70 Euro Romanian rosé that went down like a treat.
Day two was rather laxed, it’s a day that I like to have in every place where you just wander and see what you come across. This for us included; noodles in a box by the riverside watching all the boats (we even saw one named Capt. Morgan!), wandering the East Berlin streets, testing out the famous Weissbier– wheat beer (there is a super place just under the TierGarten S-bahn station) and then getting stuck into another supermarket dinner but this time accompanied by not 1 but 4 bottles of wine!
Yes you can imagine what my head is like this morning. However we have made it to our train after a delicious pizza bread for breakie and we have thanked our un-stingy asses that we actually reserved seats this time for the 5-hour journey to our next destination. So we are settling in to watch the movie “Downfall” – about Hitler’s last days before he offed himself and Germany lost WWII.
On a long summer’s evening, on a train bound for…