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Berlin

After 5 months of being in Germany, I still hadn’t made it to the capital city – and I wasn’t sure if I’d have the chance to, but I’m so happy I did. I’m still on the bus back from Berlin like I said in my previous post (it’s a really long ride).

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So the boy I picked up from the Stuttgart hauptbanhof 5 months ago aka Chris and I took a bus that left Stuttgart at 7:15am on Wednesday morning and made it to Berlin at 3:30 after sleeping almost the entire way there. The day before was the only day we had between France and Berlin, so we were already exhausted from driving back from France and finishing the last project we all had to do together. We made it to Berlin and went to our hostel (the Circus Hostel), which was probably the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed at. We relaxed for a bit and planned out our next few days and then went out to dinner at an English pub famous for their burgers. They were delicious, as was the Berliner Pilsner that I tried. After dinner, we headed back to our hostel for a drink before going out to one of the bars nearby.

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We woke up the next morning for a tour of the World War II bunkers that are in the now existing U-Bahn (subway) stations. The time we wanted was already sold out, so we bought tickets for later and headed back out to see the Brandenburger Tor and the Tier Garten. Chris had already been to Berlin twice, so he was a pretty good tour guide. We went back for our tour in the bunkers, which was extremely interesting. Our Canadian (called it from the start) tour guide was very enthusiastic and clearly loves history, so that helped. We weren’t allowed to take photos for copyright reasons, but throughout the bunkers, the walls were painted with glow and the dark paint to help if the power ever went out. Our tour guide took a picture of one of the guys on the tour with his arms out to his side in the pitch black, with the flash on. When we turned the lights back on, the outline of the guy was still there. A picture would have done my explanation justice but yeah it was very cool.

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After the tour we headed over to Mustafa’s Gemuses (vegetables in German) Kebab, which Chris and the other boys have raved about for months. It was apparently the first döner place in all of Europe and is still just as famous. We waited in a line for an hour and 15 minutes, which sounds ridiculous, but it went by fast with 2 radlers for each of us, and each other as company. Despite being attacked by hornets the entire time (idk what’s up with Berlin and hornets), it was absolutely worth it. I can admittedly say that it has to be the best döner in Europe and it exceeded my expectations. After we cherished every moment of our döners, we went to the Hamburger Banhof museum, which is a modern art museum in a beautiful old train station. Some of the artwork was really cool, like Andy Warhol’s (duh) and other artists whose names escape me, and others were just so out there that we were bewildered and confused. After spending an adequate amount of time there, we went back to our hostel, relaxed, and went out to a dinner to a tapas-style Asian-fusion restaurant. Each bowl was 3 euros and all of them were delicious (it was called Transit if you’re wondering). Afterwards we went back to our hostel again, got ready and went out to Watergate, one of Berlin’s most famous clubs, also famous for turning people away. Groups of people were waiting outside who I guess got turned away, including a group of young French girls in front of us, but we managed to get in probably because Chris speaks enough German and I had been 21 for about 45 minutes. I started my 21st birthday there, where we sat on the patio on the river and met some really nice German girls that recognized us from the bus ride. It was kind of quiet since it was a Thursday night (apparently not a big night for Berlin), but nonetheless a great way to start my 21st birthday.

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In the morning I was woken up by an early alarm. Chris rolled over, extremely excited with a huge smile on his face, to tell me to pack up my stuff because we would be staying at the Marriott that night, which was by far the nicest Marriott I’ve ever stayed at and way up there with the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. I was extremely excited, woke up and packed my things, and ate our free breakfast at the hostel that the front desk gave us for my birthday. We went to Alexanderplatz to meet for the bike tour with the same company (Fat Tire) I had done in Barcelona and Paris as well. It was a really good tour, which was no surprise, since the tours in the other cities were great too. We saw all of Berlin’s main sites and got a really good history lesson about all of them. We also rode through a good majority of the Tiergarten and had lunch at a really nice biergarten. I tried kindl weiß for the first time, which is beer mixed with raspberry (I think) or a green juice, which our tour guide couldn’t really explain the flavor but it was delicious.

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The bike tour lasted almost 5 hours and afterward we picked up our stuff from our hostel and checked into our hotel !! It was beyond perfect and one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. The room was enormous, even with a king-size bed in the middle. We got ready and went to dinner at a restaurant called Heising, which was probably the most perfect dining experience I’ve ever had. The restaurant is owned by a family (who I’m assuming are the Heisings): an elderly father, mother, and daughter. The chef is from France and I believe the family is as well, and I don’t think I even have any words for the food. We each got the 4-course meal, and I had: 1. Foie gras, 2. snails, 3. veal, and a 4. plate of cheese with figs and a gif spread. Chris had 1. frog legs, 2. poached quail eggs in some mysterious green soup that was delicious, 3. duck, and 4. crême brulée. We could tell immediately that the family’s focus was on making a pleasant experience for their customers and making sure they get the most out of what they’re paying for; not something you really see in Canada or the US. Usually servers are trying to get you out of there as fast as possible with a fake smile on their face, which I’m not excited to go back to. If you ever find yourself in Berlin, I strongly recommend this restaurant.

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After savoring every moment of our dinner, we went back to our hotel and enjoyed the time we had there after I put my rose Mr. Heising gave me in an empty apfelschorle bottle (carbonated apple juice – extremely delicious and very common in Germany). This king size bed gave us the best sleeps ever and we woke up the next morning incredibly rested, considering our check out time wasn’t until noon. After we checked out, we went to a mediocre restaurant nearby since we were in Potsdamer Platz, a more touristy area. After that, we went to the Tiergarten and laid there until it was time to take our bus back to Stuttgart. It was the first trip Chris and did on our own, which was appropriately our last and beyond perfect.

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