A Quick Guide to Berlin
If someone told me that I’d be going on a Eurotrip twice in 2 years, I wouldn’t have believed them.
Then again, I never really thought I’d be married to someone in the Military service anyway.
When my husband was stationed in Rota, Spain for 3 years, we did what any travel-hungry couple would do — we saved up (A LOT) and took trips around Europe to see all that it could offer. During our first trip, we ate paella and drank wine in Spain, went on a gondola ride in Italy, and saw the Eiffel Tower’s lights glimmer in person.
On our second Europe trip, we went to a total of 5 countries in 2 weeks — pretty crazy if you ask me, but I’ll save that story for a different post.
After heading to Amsterdam, we took a trip to Berlin, Germany. Since I didn’t want us to be running around like chickens (anymore) trying to do EVERYTHING in our itinerary, I decided to give us a free afternoon to do anything that we wanted in the city. And I guess moving forward, that’s something we should do more as well.
Where to Stay in Berlin:
We used Booking.com to get a room at AMADEUS am Kurfürstendamm.
One of the things I’ve learned when traveling in Europe is to stay at a place with subway access. A 5-10 minute walk to the subway access is fine as well, just as long as you’re sure the neighborhood is safe. I mean, you wouldn’t want to be walking back to your hotel clutching your bag in dark alleyways, right?
We stayed in the area of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, where there were a ton of restaurants all around, so that was always a plus.
Total cost: $104 for 2 nights. Pretty affordable.
How to Get Around Berlin:
Some people like to travel around Europe with a rental car. And I honestly think that’s an awesome way to go about it.
If however, you’re taking a trip to multiple countries of Europe, I would suggest living like the locals and take their public transportation instead. Germany’s trains run like clockwork — when they say they depart at 9:15 am, they really do leave at 9:15 am — so you better make sure you don’t hit on that snooze button unless you want to catch the next train.
Get the Berlin Welcome Card if you’re planning to visit the major tourist spots of the city. The card includes free public transportation to the city's major areas, free entrance to 30 city attractions, and also provides you with a booklet of over 200 discount offers.
What to do in Berlin:
Holocaust Memorial and Museum:
I feel like there’s no way to talk about the Holocaust Memorial and Museum in a lighthearted way — for lack of a better word — because the events that happened are just too tragic and unreal. Our second Eurotrip had us moving back time and getting a glimpse of what happened. Since we already visited Anne Frank’s Secret Annex over in Amsterdam, we decided we’d go to the Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Berlin.
The Holocaust Memorial was eerie at best. The whole thing had me thinking about coffins and I couldn’t help but say a prayer for those that left the world in such an unjust and horrible manner.
After walking in between the paths of the Memorial, we decided to head into the Museum to find out even more. We got an audio guide in English and went through the dimly lit rooms, reading facts and stories about the victims. It was all pretty surreal because everything felt like such a huge nightmare. How could people possibly do such things…? What happened to a sense of conscience, guilt, and just ultimate goodness?
All those horrible acts were done to real people. They had their own lives, their own stories, and their own relationships. It didn’t even matter if they were affluent or not. They were all just branded as a Jew.
And that was all it took to determine whether they'd be dead or alive.
The Museum left me feeling so overwhelmed that I couldn’t finish the whole thing. I think we were only about halfway or more into the museum when I grabbed Vergs and told him I couldn’t bear it anymore. It was just. Too much.
If you’re planning a visit, please pay your respects and do not climb on top of the fixtures of the Holocaust Memorial.
Btw, if you’re easily overwhelmed like me, the Mall of Berlin is just a 5-minute walk away. It’ll help you slowly remind yourself of how we’re living in a different time now.
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Auschwitz is one of the more known concentration camps, but since we weren’t planning a trip to Poland, we decided to book a tour with a camp in Germany instead.
One of the main differences between the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and the Auschwitz one is that the former was primarily a labor camp. Since death wasn’t the priority in Sachsenhausen, they put a majority of the prisoners to work instead. That being said, however, the death toll for the Sachsenhausen camp was still shocking at 50,000 deaths.
I’m not exactly one to favor tour guides everywhere I go, BUT I would seriously recommend booking a tour for any concentration camp just because a huge meat of the information will come from the tour guides themselves. Audio guides and books are amazing, sure. But tour guides have a way of telling you things you would’ve never known via the internet or an audio guide.
This monument has served as a symbol of both Germany’s division and unification.
There’s not much I can say about this honestly because we really only took photos. But we did see a couple celebrating their marriage in the area.
The Reichstag building was introduced to me by way of an unanswered scandal. It’s said that a fire was purposely done on the parliament building for the Nazis to pave their way into a dictatorship. The Nazis blamed the fire on the Communists and basically suspended the right to many constitutional protections. This then gave the Nazi leadership superiority and allowed them to overrule any state and local laws they wished.
What to eat in Berlin:
You guys, if there’s one thing you should never pass up on eating when in the city of Berlin, or just Germany for that matter, it is currywurst.
Trust me on this one. I’m not a big sausage lover, but their currywurst is so good that I still dream about it until this day.
We had currywurst every day that we were in Berlin, but the best one that we tried has to be the one from Curry 36. I don’t even think I could do justice at describing it. IT’S JUST TOO DARN GOOD.
And as most things, I think this is where I’ll end the post: on a good note with a memory of amazing food that I only wish I could still have until this day.
P.S. If anyone could tell me where I could get currywurst in San Diego, that would be amazing!