Our day started in Brussels, where we woke up early and started our day before the sun was up. We needed to book hostels in both Berlin and Prague, so we wanted to borrow one of the computers to do this. Both were in use, one simply by someone who was sleeping so we woke that person and tried to use it first, but the internet access seemed broken. We asked the other guy, who said he would just be a moment – he had his wallet stolen including all his money and credit cards. Seems like the warnings in the train station were worth their weight! We weren’t able to book anything for Berlin because they needed to be booked further in advance, but we got the names of the hostels and headed on our way.
We arrived at the train station with time to spare, we we wanted to buy some souvenir chocolate but the stores were closed. We found where our train was supposed to be and waited. When it arrived, we still had 10 minutes, and Desi thought we should have some food for the train. A great idea, so she ran off to buy some sandwiches and left the bags with me so she could hurry. It turns out the chocolate shop opened at 7, and it was now 7:05 so she was able to grab some chocolates on her way back and we got on the train with time to spare. So far, the morning was going well! Five hours until we would be in Berlin.
The trip was uneventful but beautiful, and when we arrived we completed our “standard routine” of finding maps and postcards. Once that was out of the way, we grabbed brochures for different hostels we narrowed them down by price and I started calling. We found one that was fairly close and at a good price, so we set off to check in. We ended up walking in circles for about a half hour (a very long half hour with all our bags), but finally found the bridge we were looking for:
We checked in and were given some direction for a few landmarks, the closest of which was the Berlin Wall. The area of the city was a little run-down, and there were some very poor areas that looked almost like gutted buildings with seemingly homeless people spending time there. Still, I think we felt much safer than Brussels. The wall was actually right near the train station and easy to find:
Parts of the wall looked like this, full of graffiti and vandalism. Some sections were fenced off and given to artists to show their art or messages, and was quite colourful:
We continued from here to the Alexanderplatz station, which was close to more landmarks:
The church you see there is the Berlin Cathedral, which we arrived moments too late to enter. I asked politely a few times but was returned with a strict “no entry, come back tomorrow”. Tomorrow wasn’t an option, so we moved on. We did get a passerby to take a photo of the two of us in the area though which I think turned out great:
We headed in the direction of another interesting building, which looked historical. On our way there through an alleyway we encountered a booth for admission – apparently there was an event happening. Music, beer vendors and street food vendors which we decided to check out. I tried a beer here but we wanted something more substantial for dinner so we didn’t stay long. The beer I had was supposed to have two refills, but I instead asked to keep the glass. When I said we were visiting from Canada, the owner came and brought us two more glasses to take home as souvenirs. We were somewhat shocked at the generousity and politeness – a welcome surprise!
On our way to find a restaurant we found a rose garden along the riverside, where we found this little guy:
We ate dinner at a small restaurant with a great outdoor patio and atmosphere. The food was delicious and we left completely full. On our way home the sun had set, and here is a photo from near the restaurant as we departed:
We took the train to the nearest station to our hostel and crossed the same bridge we started on:
We walked a little faster through the poor areas near our hostel as the streets weren’t well lit, but there was no worry. We arrived at the hostel and were both quite tired once again. We settled in for a good night of sleep with our minds reflecting on today and looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure in Prague.