Berlin, and where to next!

Good evening from Berlin! Day 3, really more like Day 2 since I got in around midnight on Day 1, but still… technically day 3.

It felt like a busy day, but in reality it wasn’t all that busy. I got up and wrote out my “list of things to do while in Berlin” list, and then decided to… you know… do some of them. I started with an easy one – one of the sites said there is an amazing burger place right around the corner, so I figured if a burger place makes a “best of Berlin” list, then I’ve got to try it.

Thus I started by mid-morning (11am) at Burgermeister! Cool little place – it’s on an island in between two streets (cement island, you know what I mean), and it was delicious! Some of the best fries I think I’ve ever had, and the burger was very good as well. And it was cheap, which doesn’t hurt (at all).

After that I decided to lazily return to my S station by taking the “U” instead of walking the 15 minutes back :p (hey it was kinda cold out), so I did that and then set out for the Berlin Friedrichstr station to visit “Museum Island”, about 5 stops away from my station (which is named Warschauer Straße, and sounds remarkably like “Strauss”!). From there I got off and started to wander – came across a huge construction site as they expand the underground train, which was pretty cool to see. I also came across a VERY COOL store by the name of “Strauss Innovation”!!!!! How cool is that? Doesn’t really matter what they sell :p

One little bit of Berlin trivia for you… as you walk around Berlin you see all these blue and purple pipes above ground – they’re everywhere. And it’s something I haven’t seen in cities before… so why, you may ask, do they exist as they do? When the Berlin Wall came down, there was an urgent need to transport vast amounts of clean and foul water, as well as electricity and gas throughout the city. They are actively working on burying these, and apparently the majority of them are buried now, but I thought that was very interesting!

Speaking of the wall, I went to see the DDR Museum today! A seriously cool museum, totally interactive, you can touch everything, open doors, sit in cars, pickup phones – the works. I was very impressed. But even more impressive was learning about the history of this “state” prior to the fall of the wall. It gave a really good idea of daily life in East Germany (or the GDR), the security forces there, the oppression of the people, the interesting economic factors… it was just really, really cool. There is some amazing history here – and it’s all so interesting!!!!

Before the DDR Museum, in the “museum island” I found an amazing cathedral, the Berliner Dom. It actually cost 7 euro to go in, which was a bit surprising – not used to paying to get in to churches, but apparently it’s all privately maintained with no state funding. I did some Googling to see if it was worth paying, and reviews said it was, so I did.

It was – very cool building, the interior is very nice. That in itself probably wouldn’t have been worth it, but the Crypt was interesting to see, and a little unique…. most of the crypts I’ve been to so far haven’t had coffins just laying out. Typically more of a mausoleum sort of thing, or headstones and underground burial… so that was interesting. The really cool thing was being able to go up to the top of the church, the dome, and walk around that with some amazing city views, and views of the church from above. So it was worth the 7 euro 🙂

I spent some more time wandering around “museum island” and looked at a few other museums I might visit tomorrow, found a little pick me up snack and returned to the hostel! Caught up on some work, grabbed dinner at the restaurant in the hostel (which was VERY GOOD), and here I am!!!!

Spent some time looking at the next stop… Budapest, Hungary! Heading there on March 4th… and that’s pretty easy, just looking around for a hostel, perhaps a single room… we’ll see how it goes. Seems pretty cheap there. The next stop had me poking around… I was thinking Prague or Vienna, but unfortunately both add complications, either leaving the Schengen area (and I’m not sure I want to go through the border control thing just as I’m wrapping up… apparently you’re supposed to have a ticket to go home, blah blah blah..), and Vienna looks great, but it’s a $300 flight to get to Amsterdam after, which is about 3x more than I’d like to pay :p and 3x more than I would to get there from Budapest! Actually more than 3x.

So unfortunately I think I’ll be skipping those two this time around – hey, gotta leave something for next time, right?

But that’s OK! After Budapest we still have 8 countries to hit, not including the one I’m quite familiar with – Canada. And if another country pops into my head as a good place to go along the way, it may just find it’s way into the itinerary. So I’m firming up the date to go to Amsterdam now, looking forward to seeing my cousin Laura (so great to have some family out here in Europe!!), and we’ll go from there!! I think it’ll be Oslo after Amsterdam.

So that… is where I’m at right now.

Tomorrow is more museums, more walking around, might go up one of the observation towers here. Not really sure if I’ll bother. We will see. Apparently there is a market on the weekend I must check out (says Chere), and I still have to visit the Wall, so lots left to do… but luckily, I’ve still got two full days to get it done.

And with that I’ll bid you adieu… that’s not German… but you get the idea. Whatever you’re up to, don’t forget to do something cool 😉 oh and go back a couple of posts if you want me to try to send you a postcard from somewhere.