Sunday, January 8, 2012

Holiday Trip '11-'12: Berlin

*Disclaimer: These recap posts will probably be my longest ever! Read on at your own risk.

I'm finally back from my trip and slept for about a full day. It's crazy how much I needed to relax after my "vacation". We kept ourselves pretty busy seeing sights, museums, free tours, walking walking walking walking walking... and more walking. Besides almost all of us completely demolishing our shoes (since we only had room to pack one pair each) we had such a fantastic time! I'll never forget this time I had traveling Europe and becoming closer to the friends who took the trip with me. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

First stop, Berlin! The pictures above are all from my one-day layover in Berlin, as I will call it. I mentioned before that Kaitlin and her parents invited us to Berlin to meet up with them. After some amazing Indian food (the first I've had in Europe, yummy!), we all sort of went our separate ways. I stayed with a friend of my roommate's, Ana! She is such a doll and we had a really good time staying up late, drinking champagne and talking in her kitchen.

The next day she had to go to work so I set out in the city on my own to explore. The weather was beautiful in the morning but it took a quick turn in the afternoon, so I sat in a Starbucks in Pariser Platz, got myself a hot cocoa (to pair with my home-roasted pumpkin seeds) and people-watched in front of Brandenburger Tor. It was nice to relax and be still for a moment.. I don't seem to get much of that time here in Europe because there's just too much to see! It wasn't long before the man sitting next to me at Starbucks struck up a conversation. Luckily he was very interesting and I learned about his life in Dubai.

With just a little time left to kill while I waited for my friend Ali to come so we could go to the airport, I popped into the Kennedy Museum that happens to be next door to Starbucks. It was filled with Kennedy family memorabilia and I learned way more about the iconic family. Jackie is my favorite, of course. They had a little movie room inside so I sat and watched President Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech ("I am a Berliner"). Little did he know that a Berliner is not only someone from Berlin, but also a jelly doughnut. His German accent is downright terrible, because I know you were dying to know.

Ali and Hossein arrived, and Hossein showed off his Coldplay ticket; totally not fair. Ali and I decided we'd go with him to the arena and see if we could buy some last minute tickets from a scalper, thinking if we waited until the concert started the prices would go down. However, things didn't go according to plan when there were 20 people looking and only 2 old sketchy guys selling. So it wasn't our fate to meet Chris Martin.. but we did manage to meet a guy from Berkeley who was also looking and unsuccessful, and he took us to a bar to hang out until it was airport time.

A couple beers and one very expensive taxi ride later, Ali and I were at the airport! After a few uncomfortable hours trying to sleep on airport benches, we were departed for Amsterdam...

Prost, for now!

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