The GoGlobal Blog

Reiseziel: Berlin

Reiseziel: Berlin

Sometimes I don’t believe that Google translate is correct. Do you ever wonder what would happen if you were so sure you were saying something correctly in a foreign language but it actually means something entirely different? Luckily my friend and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that most people in Berlin do in fact speak English-which saved a lot of effort on our part when we both felt painfully disrespectful when even trying to pronounce the simplest of words. No matter, Welcome! to Berlin, Germany that is.

25 January marked the first weekend of travel freedom for the JFRC students. Being in the heart of Europe, it’s hard not to want to visit every possible country in this beautiful hemisphere of the world. Sitting in the coffee lounge after dinner hours you can hear the excitement as friends book their travel plans and the pitter patter of keys on a laptop as they fill out their itineraries. Though I try my best to be as put together and pre-planned as possible, this trip was a spur of the moment/ “wow flights are cheap on a Monday prior to the weekend we want to travel” kind of thing.

I never thought I would actually have the opportunity to travel to any of the places I have saved underneath my “Places to go” notes tab on my phone; let alone look at any of my saved Pinterest pins for traveling, but now I have 14 weekends to do so. The first trip I planned was Berlin, Germany- a 2 hour flight and polar opposite culture than Rome. Small difference include the language (English, German, French, Hindi, and so many others), the FOOD (different cultures=variety of delicious food!), and the scenery (no mountains?!).

Some bigger, more noticeable differences were the transit systems, which were very similar to that of Chicago or any largely populated city. Berlin had an above and underground rail system, buses, and a dart train-wow! It was surprising that still many people owned cars in a city so public transit friendly. The fast pace of the transit made me miss Chicago and the 147 outer drive express bus and dare I say even the L.

Another huge difference was the graffiti! Tags, paste-ups, wall art, murals, you name it! Walls of the most elegant buildings were juxtaposed with the signage on ground level. No matter what part of the city we traveled to, there was bound to be graffiti on every corner. Being the photo fanatics that we are, my friend and I decided to go on a graffiti tour to (1) discover the underlying stories about Berlin’s graffiti scene and (2) take some amazing photos of some of the rarest graffiti pieces. During our tour, we learned about the stories of famous artists who travel around Europe to display their art, Berlin being one of the most famous stops for most because of the inspiring culture. We found out that most Germans or people who live within the graffiti-stricken city find the art to be super cool! Artists often work together on pieces and most walls are dedicated to activism- which makes for a good explanation as to why Berlin seems like a really up-and-coming, proactive city. Most people would rather display the artwork done by others rather than spend lots of money to cover it up, which also explains why many new building are covered in art months after the build is finished–a new canvas! Despite what many may think of graffiti, having the opportunity to learn more about what some artists try to portray in their pieces was something I’ll always remember.

We also made a trip to see the ruins of the Berlin Wall along the East Side Gallery, where the most well preserved portion of the wall still stands and displays famous murals done by artists. It was a moving experience getting to see the wall that divided and conquered so many lives. Seeing the artists portrayal of the shared feelings among the world during that time brings about many parallels to our own society today. Though the wall is among the most visited tourist destinations in Germany, it was difficult not to understand what the wall once stood for. Pictures and trinkets do no justice to seeing the wall for yourself.

Besides the incredible art, Berlin also has some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had! From American inspired burgers, to traditional Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, should you ever find yourself in Berlin, here’s a couple places you MUST (trust me, and if you don’t, trust Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp which all helped us find these places) go try.

Roamer’s Coffee and Booze- A folky, Pacific North West inspired cafe that curated the most amazing homemade breakfast dishes. When I say “you could taste the love in each bite” I do not kid. From freshly squeezed juices, to mint infused–free– water (which they don’t have anywhere else in Germany!), to scratch made walnut apple cinnamon rolls, this cafe did every possible things to win my heart a thousand times over. We found ourselves grabbing the menu after finishing the last bite of what we had just before, because everything was worth trying. Fair warning that the restaurant storefront was quite small, but place is well worth a wait.

The Bird- American inspired (do you sense a theme here?) burgers with a German twist! Actually, Germany is known for their burgers and fries (maybe Americans are just copying them????) The meat was so tender and delicious, fries seasoned to your heart’s desires, and the nicest wait staff who couldn’t help but strike up a conversation with us, English speakers. The entire menu ranged from the most homegrown veggie burgers, to the juiciest bacon, ham, and meaty-meat burgers. I won’t forget to mention the delicious barbecue sauce at every table- the way to any Kansas City girl’s heart.

Though we stumbled on The Bird restaurant looking specifically for a burger, I would keep in mind that if meat isn’t for you, there were quite a few (or a lot of) options for vegans or vegetarian diets around Berlin. Signs that read “bio” (which meant organic) almost always corresponded with “vegan” which made me happy for my vegan friends back at home who would love to hear about the wide array of options they would have if I ever took them across the world for lunch. I may have even found a cute Vegan dessert spot: (Keep reading… I always promise donuts!)

Brammibals Doughnuts- Donuts in a foreign country? Wacky flavors? (This was a smoked coconut and maple donut…yum) I’m all for it. This small donut lounge was adorned with shabby decorations, and neon lights- one’s that I just wish I could have taken a photo of, but neon lights aren’t photogenic in broad daylight… The hipster vibe was the perfect destination for a quick coffee stop during our weekend exploration. Pop in for a delicious donut and sip on the most fabulous almond milk chai latte like the one I had- you won’t regret it OR the sticker you can grab on the way out with a cute pink donut on it.

Enjoy the art, enjoy the food, but most of all, enjoy Berlin and all that it has to offer.

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