Winter Break: Berlin

After Amsterdam, it was time to fit in some personal travel time, so I traveled solo to Berlin and Prague.  When I first traveled by myself this past fall to Zagreb and Venice, I was pretty nervous. This time was different – I was looking forward to getting a chance to clear my head. I honestly can’t say whether I prefer traveling with people or solo; they both have their merits. But what I do love about going solo is the freedom that comes with it. I don’t have to agree on plans with anyone, I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and I really love that I am free to take pictures to my heart’s content. I’ll often just stop in my tracks as I’m walking along if I see something that I want to photograph, and that’s much easier to do when I’m alone.

Back to Berlin. I will say, I had a little bit of trouble getting into a groove in Berlin. It was difficult to strike a balance between doing schoolwork and exploring the city. I just had this feeling as I left that I hadn’t seen everything I could have. Sure, I checked off all the big sites – the famous sightseeing musts – but I have the impression of Berlin as being kind of artsy and a bit hipster, meaning there would be a lot of hidden places to discover. I easily could have spent more time there.

Here’s a gallery of some of the aforementioned well-known sites and the city itself…

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One definite highlight of Berlin was that I had some incredible meals. I usually use TripAdvisor when traveling to find restaurants that are highly rated but not expensive, and so far it hasn’t failed me. There were two meals in particular that were amazing. They were both American meals, which may have contributed to my love for them because I was definitely craving food that I don’t really get in Europe. The first meal was brunch at a place called California Breakfast Slam: homemade tortillas covered with black beans, two eggs, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. Yummm… Just writing that out makes me hungry again. I didn’t know how much I loved Mexican food until I left the US, so this definitely filled a hole in my heart.

The second meal was at a restaurant called The Bird, and it was truly the best burger and fries I’ve had since this past July. As cliche as that sounds, the American eating a burger, I can explain it. I don’t even eat burgers all that often back home, but in Europe it is so hard to find a good burger. Americans in particular will understand what I mean by this; I’m not talking about something just thrown together, or something of questionable origins like McDonalds, I’m talking about going to Annie’s in Dinkytown or Snuffy’s malt shop on Fairview and getting a real, well prepared burger with some specially seasoned fries on the side. It’s not healthy and it’s not meant to be, it’s just delicious. And that’s what my burger at The Bird was. It was so perfect.

the best burger and fries I've had in 6 months. [restuarant: The Bird]

Yes, I know neither of my favorite meals that I had in Germany were German… It’s been five and a half months since I’ve been stateside, I have no shame.

Overall, Berlin was disappointing because I wanted to love it so much more than I did. And the only reason I couldn’t enjoy it fully was because of all my deadlines that were in the middle of Winter Break. But you don’t always get what you want, and I was happy to even be there to start with, so there’s not much I can complain about.

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waiting for the U-Bahn

Before I knew it, it was time to catch my train to Prague.

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