The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Sunday, 19 April 2015

First Weeks in Berlin

I have now been in Berlin for just over two weeks for my second study abroad placement. I'm still homeless and living between a friend's couch and a hostel, still can't for the life of me remember how to speak German and am lamenting the fact that as I am no longer able to drink alcohol, I can't taste the beauty that is German beer. Aside from the slight downsides and the fact that an old lady confronted me in the street the other day calling me 'common' because I'm English, I have been able to have at least a little bit of fun, plus I suppose alcohol-free beer isn't allllllll that bad.

On my first night in the city my lovely friend Imogen came to meet me for a pizza and a beer in Friedrichsschain. It was an absolute lifesaver because after a 12 hour flight followed by a quick 24 hour pit stop in London, which was crazy-busy full of catching up with and seeing friends, I was pretty exhausted and disorientated. Not to mention the jet lag which hit me harder than it ever has done before! Even without alcohol, my first German beer was glorious and after almost a year of sleeping on a mattress on the floor, my comfy hostel bed was pretty darn luxurious. I'm staying in a hostel called Plus Hostel Berlin, which I would highly recommend - it's cheap, well located AND it even has a pool!

As I have been to Berlin before (see posts Berlin Meat Sweats and East Side Gallery), I've already done a lot of the main tourist sights. However, when I came last year I fell down some stairs in a club and messed up my ankle (I can thank my old friend Paul for that one), so couldn't walk very far on the last day and missed a couple of key things.

EMILY AND GREG WERE REUNITED (he's doing his study abroad here!) at Checkpoint Charlie, which I'm sorry to say was kind of cool but a little underwhelming... I have, however, heard good things about the museum which I am yet to venture into, so I'll update on that when I finally get around to it.

I finally saw some real life Trabis which were THE car of East Germany before the reunification (I say THE car but in fact it was THE only car you could have... communism and all that) Anyway, I think they're cute but we couldn't go into the museum because Greg is a boring sod and wanted a beer, plus I'm super poor right now, so I probably couldn't have afforded it anyways. Also, I should probably note that they weren't this colour in the DDR...

We also made it to Potsdamer Platz, which is famous for some reason that I can't remember because I am an awful German student, so I have been super kind and linked Wikipedia for you, in case you are interested. The area isn't particularly special; lots of tall office buildings makes it feel a bit like the City of London but I took a photo nonetheless because it makes a good touristy Instagram shot.

I was also lucky enough to receive a visit from my mum and step-dad on my first weekend here (which is another reason why I haven't starved yet. Did I mention how poor I am?) Neither of them have ever visited the city, so we tried to fit in as much sight seeing as we could into two days, wandering from Alexanderplatz, past Humboldt, down Unter den Linden to the Brandenburger Tor, then to the Jewish Memorial and the Reichstag. We also managed to fit in another visit round to Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz, so most of the big sights in one day IS possible, it's just a fair bit of walking.

The Jewish Memorial

One of many beer stops a long the way!

Some Berlin graffiti which I love and is everywhere. Expect more pictures like this in future posts.

On the last night they took me out for a traditional German meal of dumplings and sauerkraut and goulash (I know goulash is Hungarian but it was in a traditional German restaurant so it's nearly legit)

Unfortunately because of my pobreza and the fact that I'm not very well at the moment, I haven't been able to go out at all yet. Mostly I've just been going to University, which so far I have thoroughly enjoyed, and have been meeting up with old King's friends. Seeing my pals has probably been the highlight of the move so far; the stories of the past year's adventures in various parts of the world and the old 'in' jokes have made me feel a lot more at ease in a strange and new place.

So here's to another week of 'can you repeat that please?' and insults from random strangers on my lack of class. I move back to the hostel tomorrow for eleven days, before a weekend at home for my beautiful sister Siobhan's hen do (SO EXCITED!!), and fingers crossed I will return to my own place.