I can’t believe we’re already at the end of November. Where is this year going? And why is it moving so fast?!
Busy Holiday activities have kept me from updating this blog and letting you all know about my latest trip, and for that I do apologize.
But, I’m here now and I’m ready to talk about Berlin! My very first trip to Germany.
Last month, my bosses asked me if I was busy around November 6-8, to which I said no. They told me they were sending me off for a ‘work trip’ but didn’t say where. I figured I would be going to NYC, maybe Baltimore where our sister company is located— definitely somewhere east coast.
Imagine my surprise when the location was finally revealed and they said ‘we’re sending you to BERLIN.’
WHAT? I’m so happy I didn’t say I was busy!
Anyways, I was to jet off to Berlin about two weeks after the initial conversation. I had 2.5 days of work and 1.5 days all to myself to explore. So, I guess this blog post should be titled ‘How to Explore Berlin in 1.5 Days.’
I knew nothing about what to do or how to get around in Berlin. Zero. Zilch. I looked up a few activities to do, and came across a 4 hour walking tour with rave reviews. I booked it almost instantly.
I figured this was going to be the way I learn the most about a city that I don’t have a lot of time in, and I was right.
My tour guide, Barnaby, was amazing and full of knowledge about Berlin. He went into interesting detail about the history and the culture, and wasn’t afraid to dumb it down for us so it all made sense (even drawing out a map in the rocks about the dividing sections of the Berlin Wall). He was open to discuss where to eat and other nightlife activities in the city afterward. He was truly passionate about Berlin and it was evident.
Quite honestly, a walking tour is the best way to see a lot of Berlin a short amount of time. Now that I had such a good experience here, I know I’ll be looking for walking tours in other cities I haven’t been to yet.
Plus, it’s a great way to get your step count up!
While it did rain sporadically throughout the tour, it didn’t take away from the experience. I was so intrigued by what Barnaby had to say at every place we stopped.
We saw a lot of the major tourist attractions in Berlin, but also some hidden gems of the city. Places and things I would have never come across on my own. Like the parking lot that now sits on top of what used to be Hitler’s private bunker. Talk about an eerie experience.
Or the picture below, which shows the hotel where Michael Jackson held his baby over the balcony with a blanket over his head.
Barnaby also took us to the ‘Museum Island,’ which as you can probably guess is an island of museums. Up close on the pillars, you can see the bullet holes and other damages from the war.
We also learned a ton about the Berlin Wall, and saw the longest remaining piece. Behind the wall is the Topography of Terrors, which is a free museum I highly recommend if you’re ever in Berlin.
The tour guided us to the Holocaust Memorial, or Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is in the center of Berlin.
We ended at the beautiful Brandenburg Gate, where we went our separate ways and it was time for me to find something to do on my own.
It wasn’t hard to continue exploring Berlin by foot. But apparently, they have a super easy public transit system and Uber and taxis were readily available.
I didn’t have an agenda in mind, just walked aimlessly and found food and good places to people watch.
I was amazed at the street art and graffiti all over the city. It’s such a vibrant, fun, and diverse city. The bars are plentiful and the people are very friendly.
The Street Art
If you’re lucky enough to stumble into a German Christmas Market in early November like me, then definitely eat all the bratwursts you can get your hands on! The mulled wine is just fine, too.
The Christmas Market
Berlin seems like it would be a very easy place to live. While I loved the city, I don’t know that I’m ready to make that commitment. I would love to go back and see more of Berlin, and maybe add in a trip to Munich while I’m there.
Have you been to Berlin? What did you think?