Our Berlin visit was a little heavy, both in the caloric intake from the food and the emotional weight from being in the places we have read about for years. Tom and I both grew up with a particular interest in 20th century history, especially WWI and WWII, and Berlin was the epicenter of so many things we learned about in the past.
- Berlin is an interesting place. Now free from the persecutions of WWII and Soviet occupations, it is definitely a quirky city. Graffiti, tattoos, interesting haircuts and clothes - Berlin has it all.
- Berlin has a lot of random protests and concerts that the police help protect. We saw elementary school students shut down a road protesting plastic bags and a random pop-up concert at a train station with a pretty terrible cover band. Police were present at both (they were even singing along to the songs at the concert!).
- Paris and Berlin were striking opposites. Paris is really good at fixing old buildings, whereas Berlin is pretty good at making new buildings look older (as most of the city was destroyed in the 40s). It gave a really strange feeling to the city for us, after seeing other parts of Europe already.
- Speaking of buildings, seeing the remnants of the war are everywhere. Old remnants of the Berlin Wall and bullet holes/damage on buildings. We saw some of this in St. Petersburg, but so much more in Berlin. It was everywhere.
- Beer. So much beer. Legal to drink anywhere, anytime. Our first evening exploring, we felt like tourists because we didn't have a beer in our hand while on the tram. Tom's new saying (instead of "It's 5 o'clock somewhere") is "someone is drinking in Berlin".
- The food totally did not disappoint. Good coffee, pretzels, currywurst (see photos), schnitzel, beer - you name it. My goal has been to get sick of the food prior to leaving a city, and we didn't get there in Berlin...