May 24th, 2014

My last few days in Berlin before I headed off to England where a mixture of wandering the streets, exploring neighborhoods, and trying to get a feel for slow life as it really is in Berlin. Maiya and I explored, she showed me a lot of things she hadn’t done before but also showing me things that were just everday components of life in Berlin.

We got a nice German breakfast at Mokka Bar, which was in an adorable little cafe with beautiful breakfast spreads of fruit, bread, meats, and cheeses. After a lot of luxurious relaxing we wandered about the streets taking in the sights.IMG_2358 IMG_2360 IMG_2361

We also wandered along the canal which had lots of beautiful buildings and green covered walkways below little tree canopies next to the river. IMG_2376 IMG_2371 IMG_2382

We also explored a beautifully green park that had an old bunker up on a hill. But first we enjoyed the outdoors and the wondrous greenery of the place. IMG_2386 IMG_2392 10333319_833581536656691_7993139673201255786_o

Frolicking around under the canopy of a willow tree, climbing hills, and wandering through pond areas with cute little bridges. 10321203_833581489990029_2921933749925878122_o

Awkwardly though, we climbed one hill to be directly faced with a couple very loudly having sex. Embarrassed and shocked at the public display and ran down the hill laughing in surprise. IMG_2401

After that and some cool graffiti we encountered we found a lovely little rose garden without any roses but lots of wisteria. We sat on the railing under the wisteria looking out through its branches onto the beautiful gardens just enjoying a quick moment of sunshine after several days of solid grey.

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Then we scaled upwards to the top of the bunker where we could see most of the city past the green tree tops of the gardens.IMG_2424 IMG_2418 IMG_2417 IMG_2430

The bunker area was very cool and the wind was blowing so strongly we could barely keep ourselves together. Through the mist of rain and the wind we explored the top of the bunker and then returned to where I had gotten coffee the previous day to get a Berlin tradition, curry wurst. 10321127_833581826656662_3951681140522276470_o

This funny tradition of sausage (maybe just a boiled hot dog?) with ketchup mixed with curry powder as well as a generous helping of french fries. IT is a funny dish that most Berliners affectionately say is something you really only get once but we went to one of the best places for it and it wasn’t too bad. Every city has its traditions I suppose, some more well loved than others. IMG_2438 IMG_2435 IMG_2442

The following day I began my day with an outing that was extremely relaxing but possibly  a bit morbid. Maiya told me about a wonderful little cafe, Cafe Strauss that is actually in an old cemetery. It was a lovely brick building with a porch lined with tables right inside of a cemetery. As strange of a setting as it was, it was very peaceful with the silence and stillness of it all only broken by the sound of birds singing. I sat there for a long time wrapped in a blanket, which is something cafes and restaurants in Berlin seems to do is put out blankets for every chair, writing while enjoying the peace.IMG_2445

After a relaxing morning of writing and drinking hot coffee we decided to go out and enjoy a food market extravaganza that was a huge market hall filled with food stands from all over the world. It was truly amazing, there were so many different types of food, so many smells wafting in the smoky air of the market halls high ceilings and after the semester in ITaly with only italian food in sight this was like my carnival. IMG_2448 IMG_2456

It was so hard to choose from all of the different types because everything looked so amazing but I decided to go for Thai food since it is my favorite and it did not disappoint. Also Maiya got some amazing wine mixed with wine saturated strawberries that was divine. I got to meet some of Maiya’s friends from her program and it was really great getting to know them even if it was just for a short little bit.

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This night was my last night in Berlin and it did not disappoint whatsoever. After the food market we went for a walk in the park where we got to see some cool animals, a lot of people enjoying the sunshine and a fair deal of drug dealers trying to sell me some cocaine, besides that and Maiya nearly getting pushed into the street during a sudden street fight near the U-Bahn station our evening was nice.

We then had plans o meet some of Maiya’s other friends who were from California as well at a wine tasting place that was truly wonderful. But before we settled in Maiya and I decided to wait in a little children’s park right next door that was the most amazing park ever. We had so much fun jumping on little trampolines, sitting in swings that were too small for us, and just acting like kids despite both of us being technically seniors in college now. After out dearly beloved trip to the park we went into the wine place that sells you a glass and you can get as many refills of wine as you like and taste as many different types of wine as you please as well. It was quite the concept and I deeply loved it, it reminded me of the Italian aperitivo without the food. So sitting in a luxurious couch in the crowded place we sipped many different kinds of wine and I got to meet Maiya’s friends who were really just wonderful.

It was a great night, full of good conversations and great wine. We took our friends back to the park but this time in the dark and really just had the best time. It was probably my favorite moment in Berlin, sitting under the stars, spinning around on the children’s play ground, singing songs together loudly in the park, and just enjoying life. I deeply loved it, never have I enjoyed a park that much and it made me very sad when I realized it was my final night in Berlin. I wish I had met them sooner because they were so much fun and I was going to miss my Roomie. Six days wasn’t enough. I wanted more but sadly the night had to end and we all piled in a taxi and headed home. I said goodbye to my new friends and went to sleep in Berlin for the last time.

My final morning in Berlin was a blur of packing, panicking, and then some good clean fun in an abandoned airport. Typical travel day.  This old abandoned airport has been transformed into a wonderful free space for everyone to enjoy the sun, the tall grasses, a space to run or bike, or fly kites. It really is a nice space for everyone to share. Maiya and I wandered around enjoying my last morning here and our last morning together for some time to come.IMG_2462 IMG_2464 IMG_2468 IMG_2470

There were even people skateboarding with attached kites and sails to drag them along down the long airport runways.

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It was a good end to my time  in Berlin and I was very pleased overall with the first leg of my journey. I had a new appreciation for Berlin and had enjoyed my time with an old friend. It was a perfect blend of the old and the new, historically and experientially. I was sad to leave but with England next on my list and the Netherlands after that, it was the end of one experience and the beginning of many more.

 

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