What I Did: Berlin
Sigh. Alright. I'm sure you've figured out by this point that I have fallen completely in love with the city of Berlin. Truly a place where I felt connected to it mind, body, and soul. It sounds incredibly corny, but I'm telling you the truth. I could dedicate a post entirely to it. But as far as what I got up to while I was there, I would say this was probably my least pre-planned trip as of late. But I would say my most successful and memorable trip:)
Honestly my #1 favorite thing to do when I travel. Walking. the freak. around. It's so fulfilling and stimulating and opportunistic and it costs nothing. I've found places to eat from walking around. Fantastic little shops from walking around. Bumped into interesting, amazing people from walking around. And dogs. This is how you see the dogs.
I had an experience once when I took a weekend trip within a trip with a friend and her husband. I could tell there was tension and maybe/*definitely a difference in travel style but he critiqued my method of seeing a city as essentially "pointless and wandering like a chicken with its head cut off." To each their own.
I find walking around a city you haven't been to before (but also even ones you have for that matter) as one of the best ways to just get amongst it and feel it. You're not rushing around trying to tick off all the "Must-See" things on a time schedule. It allows you the opportunity to stop when you want and go when you want and eat when you want and do what you want. To me, this is how you travel. You live in the present and you experience the city as it unfolds itself to you.
Ran into this river on my first night in Kreuzberg. It was after 9pm when I took this photo which is wild. It stays very light out very late. I was trying to stay awake and adjust to the time. I'm so so glad that I took that walk because looking back it was one of the top highlights of the trip.
Seeing people enjoy themselves outside and their friends and the weather and just sit by the river was just so amazing to see. It actually made me happy. To see other people so happy. Some were with their friends, some with their family, lover, some alone. Everyone was just LIVING. I felt that. Eating their food, drinking their drinks, smoking their cigarettes, listening to their music. Beautiful. Magical.
The architecture here varies so much. The colors, the style, the textures. There are so many trees. So much green. Some neighborhoods are so lush with foliage. It's incredible.
Talked to people
Forgot to mention this spot in my "Where I Ate: Berlin" post. (If you haven't already, go check that one out :) ) but when I went to this spot, Roamers, I ended up chatting with this super cool girl from Canada who now lives in Berlin. She was eating with her sister not too far from me. I did what I kind of advise against, which is eating with headphones on. It quite literally blocks out people from talking to you. I know, I know, sometimes that is the point. But that day in particular I was in the mood to talk to people.
Lucky enough for me, she came up to me when I was getting ready to leave and just struck up a conversation by asking me where I got my outfit. Lol. I love being a girl. We stayed and chatted for a good 20-30 minutes and talked about where we've traveled and just our experiences on navigating the world as women in our late 20's. It was really cool. Especially because it changed my viewpoint of her from my assumption that she was a brat. I'm sorry, sometimes I'm wrong about people and I'm glad I was . She was really cool and I walked away feeling really inspired by our conversation. Never be quick to assume, people.
shopped in Mitte
Ok, so. I love to shop. But I don't usually do it hardly at all on trips.....in America. But in Europe, I get buck. Haha. the style there is just....SO GOOD. I hit up Neue Schönhauser Str. and popped into all my favorite high street shops. I say if you can't get it where you live then get it where you are. No RA-GERTS.
One of those palm to forehead moments. I took a picture of this place real quick because I'm a libra and there's my sign. Come to find out once back in the states this was a vintage shop that charged by the kilo. By. the. kilo. wow. Next time.
In case you didn't know, I work for Urban Outfitters. So it was cool checking out the shop in Berlin. First of all, if you ignore the conversion rate it seems like it's not that expensive haha jk. Plus the employee discount helps. But I find the selection is sooo much better in Europe. I first realized that when I was living in London. The stuff in Europe > American stuff. If I could have style in the world, the Berlin girl, to me has the coolest style ever.
(If you want you can say a prayer, cross your fingers, make a wish, whatever you want.....to send any positive influence to the universe that my application to work at the store in Berlin goes through somehow. A snowball's chance but still. I applied for my same position I have now (Receiver) at the shop in Berlin. It would be a dream come true to be able to move there with a job. Sigh.)
Learned About the City
If possible see if you can get a charming German man to take you around on a personal walking tour of the city. He most likely won't get your American humor and you'll have to explain a lot of your jokes but he will pronounce pizza "pit-za" and you won't really mind.
went Up the Fernsehturm at Sunset
This was a spur of the moment decision to go up the "TV Tower". But how could I not? I had to pass by it everyday that I was staying in Mitte and could see it from the flat. I paid like €15 I believe to take an elevator ride up to the top. It is the tallest building in Germany (1200ft or 365M). Sweeping 360º views of the most beautiful city. Built in the 1960's it was a symbol of progress in East Germany and after reunification, it was adopted as an iconic symbol of the united city.
went To the holocaust memorial
I wanted to visit the Holocaust Memorial. I will admit, I mainly wanted to see the stunning stone monuments and I hadn't really planned on going to the museum beneath it (it is literally underground below the installment) but I am really glad I did. For only €3 you can get an audio guided tour of a modern designed compilation of real photographs, artifacts and accounts of Holocaust survivors and their families. Without even realizing it, I spent about 2.5 hours walking around and listening to insanely emotional, riveting, and devastating accounts from people that survived one of the greatest tragedies the world has known. It was really well done. I definitely recommend. (Saturdays the tours are free)
Walked the East Side Gallery
This particular mural section was the one I wanted to see the most. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised it was the most visited. There were masses of people all posing or waiting for their turn to take a photo with it. I finished walking the wall and got one real quick on my way back. There were a bunch of people queing up to take a photo after me when I was taking this. (For the couple of you that asked, I had a tripod and took it on my DSLR on a timer)
The coolest, cutest, tiny cars all over this city.
I've gotten all my tattoos either when I lived abroad or on trips. I actually only have one from the states and I got it in Brooklyn on the way to the airport. I think if you're going to be traveling to a city and know you'd like to get something done I would do your research if you hadn't already had a particular shop or artist in mind. I follow different accounts on instagram that I follow even though they are literally thousands of miles away because you never know if they might guest spot somewhere near you or if you'll be going to their city.
I found this shop through a couple people's suggestions and through instagram and emailed the artist I liked directly. I can almost always tell European artists apart from American ones. Their style is so unique. If you like black tattoos and designs you've never seen before I would check out the guy I went to: @dirt.merchant.
I let him know the dates I would be in town and we had one day that overlapped and worked for both of us. Now. I will say this. I've always gotten tattoo'd at the end of the trip. Sometimes the day before I leave sometimes the day of. Makes for easy healing and recovery. You can keep it clean and wrapped and you're sitting on a plane. I've bought my own cling film on trips and I've brought it with me before in my suitcase. This trip. Oy vey. I did neither. I got my tattoo smack dab in the middle of my trip. Lots of sweat. The elements. 7 hour train ride. Stress. Just everything combined to irritate the shit out of it and really jack the healing process. I was constantly worried about it. I wouldn't do that again I don't think. Just my two cents. Or if I was going to do it again in the middle of the trip I would have come better prepared like I usually do with cling film, aquaphor, and ibuprofen.
Yeahhhh I really blew it on the focus but the tiny little yellow sign reads: Precious things are very few. Could not agree more.
went clubbing...sort of.
Hopefully you've already read the insta post associated with this photo so you know the whole story behind the "sort of." Dude, going clubbing in Berlin was the only thing I wanted to do that I didn't get too. DAMNIT. Before you start thinking its weird, it's not. The clubs there are NOT anything even remotely like the clubs in the states. I mean, not that I am the most qualified person to speak on the matter haha but just trust me. I was informed you wear all black. It's more laid back. Just be cool. Look cool.
I also, um got invited to...the Kit Kat club. Lol. Google it. I didn't end up going in the end because I had a 6 in the morning train I needed to catch to Amsterdam and I also didn't want to put my newly opened tattoo wound in that type of...environment. C'est la vie tho. Next time.
Anways guys. Hope that was fun to read. It was most certainly fun and emotional to write. Seeing the photos and thinking of the experiences I wrote about brought me back a whole two weeks haha. Seriously though, at the risk of sounding like a psychotic obsessed broken record. I FREAKING LOVE BERLIN. I will live there someday. Mark my words. I love it. I admire it. I'm inspired by it. I'm energized by it. I'm obsessed.