After a long delayed flight, I made it into Berlin at half past midnight. I’d called the hostel and asked for some advice, and they told me the trains should still run until 1. I made it within 1 connection to my hostel stop before I encountered locked doors at the train station I wanted to be inside. That left me with a hike with my 30+ pound pack through the city at 1:30. Needless to say, I slept late the next day.
A few people told me that Berlin was their favorite city, and I know one guy who has been at least 3 times during his study abroad. My hopes were high for a city with so much history. Unfortunately, my hostel map was about 8X6 inches, they didn’t know where I could get a better one, and the Berlin tourist information website was crashed. That left me with very little idea of what to see or where to go. I did make it to the Berlin Wall remnants, which ended up being my favorite sight of the whole city.

By the end of my 4.5 days in Berlin, I realized that I had probably approached the city all wrong, because it was different than most of the others I’d visited. With over 3 million residents, the city is not walkable. It doesn’t have a real center to see all of the major sights, so I ended up walking miles a day just to see a couple of things. I didn’t particularly get into most of the attractions, either. Alexanderplatz, which is ranked high on many lists, is a TV tower with an expensive (11 Euro?) panoramic view. The bottom line is that, for me, Berlin wasn’t a sight-seeing city, but one with a cool atmosphere. It has an anything-goes attitude and lots of young people and immigrants and the mixed culture that comes with them.

This is one city that I think would be better to do with friends (they are called the electronic music capital and have ample clubs) or with a local or someone who knew the place. I can recommend Kreuzberg as a city district that is eclectic and exciting, but I don’t recommend trying to tackle this entire sprawling metropolitan on foot without a plan- you’ll just end up dead tired and ready to leave.

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