The next morning, we got up and got ready, packed, gave the key back to Antje, and took our stuff to the hostel to store for the day. They locked it in a room for us, we got lunch, and then I believe the first thing we did was hop on a tour bus (it’s only been like a week and a half and I’m already forgetting what we did when! This is why I’m keeping a blog!). The tour bus was really cool- it was one of those double-decker ones that you can get on and off however much you want for 24 hours with your ticket. We rode it for just a few minutes, then decided to get off at the Jewish Memorial. It was a bunch of pillars increasing in size, meant to symbolize headstones for all those killed in the Holocaust who don’t have graves.
Right across the street from the Jewish Memorial is the American embassy! MY PEOPLE!
I know we went somewhere else before we got back on the bus, because we had to sprint back for it! Maybe this was when we saw the Gypsy Memorial (gosh my memory is bad about this day!!).
We ran back to get on the bus and got on a different one- this one had headphones you could plug into the seat in front of you to hear a recording in whatever language you chose about the buildings and such we were passing by. I thought it was really cool and I took a fair amount of pics, but it was hard for me to remember what everything was, so I won’t include all those pictures here! Claus, however, was not as impressed:
I do remember that this was the Saudi Arabian embassy; I thought it looked pretty cool!
This was the main train station in Berlin. It was HUGE and made mostly of glass.
This building is a center for non-European art; the Germans nicknamed it the “Pregnant Oyster.”
The Berliner Dom, a large cathedral.
We got off the bus here, at Potsdamer Platz. It looked like Christmas!
There was even a big hill to go sledding on!
We walked around a bit, got a drink (espresso for Claus, hot chocolate for me), and then I decided I wanted to go up in a building that advertised a 360 degree panorama from its roof. I love looking down on cities from way up high, especially at night!
While we were in the elevator, some people were speaking French- it made me so happy! It really frustrated me to be in a country where I didn’t speak the language AT ALL, even though a lot of people did speak English. They were talking about how high the building was and I asked the woman next to me (in French) if she was scared of heights! She said yes but that it was going to be worth it because the view was going to be so pretty.
When we got to the top, I started looking and taking pics. This is the Sony Center, which we went into next.
Way zoomed in on the Fernsehturm.
This is the Berliner Funkturm, which I never got the chance to see close-up.
And the Berlin Victory Column- I think we went by this on the tour bus, but it was on the other side so I didn’t get to take a picture.
I instructed Claus to get a picture of me with the Fernsehturm in the background between the bars!
The city seemed to go on forever. It was beautiful.
For some reason, there was a big red bear up on the roof. It was wet from the rain, but of course I had to take a picture with it…
After that, we went into the Sony center, which was a big colored roof over an open-air area with stores all around the outside. A picture of Claus there (ignore the blurry people on the right, that was because of the camera setting I used!):
There is a big Sony store there (of course) so walked around inside a bit, and I felt awkward having my Canon camera out so I put it away, but not before snapping this pic:
We headed back to the hostel, but on the way, we stopped by the East Side Gallery, which is a nearly-mile-long segment of the Berlin wall. It is divided into about 20 foot wide chunks and painted with different pictures relating to freedom. It was only about a 10 minute walk from our hostel!
I took pictures of my favorite murals.
We didn’t walk the whole thing, but at the end closest to our hostel there was a painting advertising a Cool Runnings bar. I LOVE Cool Runnings so I had to take a pic! Hey Sanka, you dead yet?
We then went back to the hostel, got our stuff, and checked into our room. This was my first hostel experience, and I was excited! We considered staying at Antje’s for another night, but the hostel was slightly cheaper (19 euros a night each!) and I wanted to have stayed in a hostel at least once before my parents came to visit, so that I knew a little bit better what I was doing when we try to find hostels to stay in while traveling. It was way nicer than I expected! We checked in and got our key cards, and Claus gave them the ticket they had given him when he reserved the room so that we could get our bed linens. We had to use our key cards to get to the hallway where our room was, and then again to get into the room.
The room had 3 bunk beds in it and a small connected bathroom with a toilet, shower, and sink. Two Austrian girls were there when we checked in, and they were both really nice. Each bed had a pillow and comforter, and we were each given a pillow case, duvet cover, and fitted sheet for our beds. There were also six little cubbies with metal parts for a lock, if you wanted to lock up any of your stuff, or there was also a safe at the front desk. Next time I’ll bring a lock! I made my bed, got ready for the evening, and then went to sit in the lobby to use the free WiFi (you had to pay to get it in your room) until Claus was ready to go. We then went and met Julian at this little bar, where we just sat and talked and had a few drinks. The bar allowed smoking though so by the time I left I reeked like smoke. That was unusual!
When we got back to the room, the Austrian girls were gone- I guess they had told Claus in German that they were going to a club that night, and then when we woke up in the morning, they were gone, and two beds had stayed empty all night! Claus said the girls had requested to have only four people in the room; I’m not sure if they had to pay more for that or not, but they also said there were two empty beds the night before too… the night we were turned away because there was no room in the inn. Hmph. Oh well, it was nice to get ready in the morning and not have to share the room with anyone else.
Whoops, I’m getting into the next day, and this post is supercrazylong already. I’ll end it with a photo of me and one of my favorite animals outside the Sony Center!