After an unbelievable weekend in Munich, I returned to explore Berlin. My step-brother, Brock is an American expat now living in Berlin, so I was fortunate to be able to stay in his flat for the week. I was a bit rundown from the debauchery in Munich, my neglected jet lag, and the aggressive weather difference, so for the most part I took it easy.
I started off by walking through town to the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall completely dedicated to professional graffiti. I continued walking for hours exploring every corner of the city. I crossed under Bradenburg Gate, up to the Reichstag Building, through the Großer Tiergarten, and back down to the Holocaust Memorial. When you really think about it – it’s amazing how much Germany has changed in the past century. I spent hours at the Memorial, mourning the massacre of millions from just 70 years ago. I loved seeing the East Side Gallery as an inspirational attraction when just 25 years ago it was a symbol of division and hatred. It’s an emotional experience traveling through Germany. Fortunately, since then Berlin has dramatically transformed into a young and artistic city with something special to do around every corner.
The next day, I briefly met up with a friend in Charlottenburg for the best Döner Kebap in town (and yes, that is saying a lot for Berlin). We shopped along Kurfürstendamm and then I headed over to the Charlottenburg Palace. I strolled through the gardens and got lost trekking the massive, gorgeous estate. I eventually found my way back to Neukölln after stopping for a quick cappuccino and dessert at Katie’s Blue Cat. After previously living in Europe and experiencing the tragic news that peanut butter is borderline nonexistent, I was ecstatic to find a pastry with peanut butter and chocolate. The barista smiled and said, “It’s like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup,” …which I thought was quite a bold statement. I took a bite and slowly melted back in my chair with a smile from ear-to-ear savoring every bite. I sipped my cappuccino and watched the sunset through the rustic cafe window.
I spent most of the following day working, Brock was on a business trip so I caught up on some of my own work while he was gone. When he returned, we met up with some of his coworkers, and spent the weekend all over town. We grabbed an amazing brunch at Cabslam before walking up the spree to Böcklerpark along the Landwehrkanal. We went to Museum Island, explored the local art scene, and checked out some awesome street markets. Later that night, beers and peach o’s in hand, we met up with a few more friends, and headed to a wall-to-wall packed house party. There was a DJ, an absurd amount of homemade food, and a vacant couch where I quickly made friends sharing my peach o’s. On Sunday, we shopped at the famous flea market at Mauerpark, followed by a much needed, traditional German meal. Fat and happy, we went to a friends loft with a rooftop deck that overlooked the city. We sat up there and just talked for hours. It was surprisingly a low key week, but a much needed mellow trip.