Wow what a place. I have been to Berlin before only for a really quick stint , so I don't feel I got to really enjoy it as much as I did this time.
Berlin was our first destination on the start of a two month journey around Europe .
We flew on Turkish airlines, which is actually a great airline. Nice flight attendants, good food, and there was plenty of room.decent flights! Aside from the baby who screamed for like 45 mins)
I have flown at least 20+ times, I really have no idea how many, and I still grip the sides of my seats in fear as any turbulence hits the plane. I keep a steady eye on the flight attendants, if I see them panic I'll panic. So many times have I said multiple prayers to the Lord, or written my final letters to my family convinced it was over. Yet still always land safely. So I go into the "convincing myself I'm paranoid, and stressing won't help blah blah "and eventually I calm down. This series on repeat for many hours. Lol
We finally arrive after almost 24 hours of travel to our hostel in Berlin called 36 Rooms. A hostel we later found out was in the center of everything. We drop off our stuff and decide to walk around. The first bar we see ,called " Travolta" cheep beer on tap. I pay 3 euros for a massive mug of beer and play foos ball for a while. Finding the river was our first task and we wandered for a long while tying to find it. Walking under a bridge once we hit the river , we see a big group of homeless people living there. Sleeping bag clad, the steady stench of BO rising from their Midsts. As we walked by ,we were surprised as no one hassled us for money. But happy none the less. Eventually we returnees to our hostel room, where we hardly slept.
We were finally here, in Europe. Rebecca and I have been friends for 20 years, she lived for two years in Europe and I never went to visit her. It always seemed so Impossible in my mind to be able to go there. I went for three months last year alone, and when I got the opportunity to come with Becca for 2 months I jumped at it.
Our second day was quite eventful, we swam at an indoor pool ( that even had a wave pool inside) as a lifeguard I was very stressed to see that Germany has VERY different pool rules then America. You are allowed to run , dive in the shallows and pretty much act like a maniac. As a lifeguard of 8 years I was wanted to yell ,"walk! No horseplay! "It kind of sucks when those things are bred into you. Berlin has many indoor pools, and a good swim culture I was very happy to hear.
After a good swimming, we headed back to lunch, then off to rent bikes. Templehofer airport is an abandoned airport that was built during Nazi Germany.
We went on a bike adventure to it, 3.5 miles later we were there. The airport is massive, and since its closing has been turned into a park. The park was full of cyclists , rollerbladers, runners, skaters, everyone just adventuring around the place. It was a delight spending hours riding not our bike there and eventually catching the sunset. I did however get a flat tire and had to try asking people if they had a bike pump! Impossible with the language barrier as they zoomed past us. Eventually we found one, and found my bike was unfixable so we rode 3.5 miles home on a flat tire. Back to Travolta for more mugs of beer. We met a couple of guys from Morocco and played foos ball with them. Eventually I met Carlo, and Italian from Naples of whom I spoke with at length about Jesus Christ our Lord and savior.
Rebecca and I went back to the dorm around 1am. We went to our respective beds and tried to sleep. Jet lag is usually pretty bad the first few days, and you can't really sleep the first few nights. So we both laid in our beds in our phone, eventually started To text each other. We were sharing rooms with 6 other people, so we had to be quiet. In the quiet of the room, I accidentally farted. We both were trying to silently laugh so hard, but we were in tears laughing. Via text we decide to get up and walk around some more.
Wandering around Berlin at night is quite a delight. In our wanderings we hear some bass / house music playing. Using our ears, we hunt down the music. We find a little underground club and ask if we can go in. Three euros later were in a little room listening to some of the best tech house I've heard. People stared at us as we danced our assess off, to them this music I assume is normal. For us it was a tasty treat and we couldn't get enough! Around 3 or something we decide to go back to our hostel and knock out.
Third day in Berlin was all about museums and checking out what was left of the Berlin Wall. We went to the Jewish museums and a few other spots . There is SO much about the holocaust that I had no idea about. Sadly the parts I didn't know was pretty much many of the people involved in the holocaust got away with their crimes . In facta big portion of Germany at the time wanted to go on as if nothing happened and stop talking about it, so many knew about the deaths and no one did a thing. It was 15 years later when the trials began against the various labor camps.
There were so many witnesses and yet the guilt could only be pinned on a few. The hate of the Jews has gone on long before the holocaust and mostly for religious reasons, one of them being the Christians accusing Jews of killing babies during Passover. Anyways there was a lot to be learned about the history of Germany and the wall that was built and then torn down pretty surreal all around. It was an emotionally draining day, but cool still to seent all. Later in the evening we visited an American friend Nathanial ( my music partner David Alexander's brother) who lives in Berlin. We had some beers at different bars, and adventures around a little bit. It was fun, but an early night.
We switched hostels and got closer to our favorite bridge and river. We rented bikes again and adventures off to spree park. A theme park that was closed down in the 90s right after the Berlin Wall came down. There are still rides, and portions of the park left. Bicycling around it was a highlight of the trip. There is even a Ferris wheel there still that still moves and makes an creepy sound as it goes round. Hours were spent riding our bikes in the luscious Berlin forest. The weather was so prefect the whole time we we're there I was even able to wear shorts!!
I wandered to a park and played some ukulele there, some small children danced to my music with massive smiles. An old man came up and sang along to my music and gave me some cough drops as a payment lol
The night came around and we decided to wander around some more our favorite. As we walked we heard live music. We walked down stairs into a big open area. There was a group of guys and a Dj playing music. ( in German ofc) they were rapping and singing and playing guitar. I asked them if I might play a few songs. They let me!! I played guitar and sang two and found a great enjoyment watching the smiling faces and bodies as they rocked back and forth to my tunes. It was such a big delightful high! Continuing on we found a whole long street of clubs. Everywhere you looked there was tagging or street art I'm not sure what people from Germany call it. But it was everywhere and it was glorious. Everywhere we went was another club with an interesting entrance, and tagging painted all on the outside . People were everywhere going to the various places, drinking and being loud. We did this for a while then eventually headed back to our hostel.
In Berlin there are picnic tables am outside of every store and most hostels. People just sit outside ( weather permitting) and drink beer, talking each other. I notice people aren't obsessed and all up in their cell phones. Instead they enjoy the company of one another it is a delight. Siting outside there for a while seems fun, and that's just what we did. Minutes later 4 people came to sit with us. Their were two girls from Dresden and a two men one cross dresser and another dude who I'm not sure what his story was. For hours we sat there talking about life, and our different cultures. There was so much laughing that night . More and more people came by our picnic table, talked and sat with us for a while and then left . It was probably the best night I felt we had in Berlin.
Marathon day!! Rebecca ran the Berlin marathon in representation of The Farm sanctuary. A sanctuary that rescues animals from factories and give them a good life. She raised a bunch of funds for them and was pretty much the whole basis of why we went to Europe. Waking up at 5am was pretty easy this day, we hopped on a Train and went to the start line. Rebecca ran the race while I cheered. There was sooo much support from Berlin. So many people were cheering along the whole entire race. Seeing so much support was truly amazing and moved me to tears multiple times.
I felt bad no cheering at times, but I was like "hey! I'm pride crying for you" ha!
After the race was finished , we wandered around Berlin some more. Found a place where they have a swimming pool right next to the river. I went for a swim and to my disappointment found it was freaking freezing!! Watching the sunset from poolside was however a delight. As I watched the sun go down I couldn't believe it was almost a week since we got to Europe. The next day we would be leaving to Amsterdam and off to much more adventure. I smiled as the sunset and closed my eyes swaying to the music playing off in a distance. Eight weeks left and nine more countries to visit. I want to cherish every single day and moment as best I can.