Coming back into the Eurozone after Scandinavia, the price of food and lodging seemed super-reasonable. My train out of Copenhagen brought me to Hamburg where I had some time before the next leg of my journey to Berlin; I spent that time at a Christmas market eating Christmas-y snacks (assuming you count deep-fried dough covered in Nutella as a Christmas snack).
Arriving in Berlin in the middle of the night and too cheap for a cab, I walked from the Hauptbahnhof to the Heart of Gold Hostel. Little did I know, it was too late for check-in and no one would answer the frickin’ door.
Somehow, I wound up at the surprisingly cheap Meininger Hotel around the corner (I may have used the hostel’s Wi-Fi to look it up). After a shower, I ventured outside in search of nourishment. Being in the capital of Germany, I figured there’d be a bunch of late night places open.
I was wrong, at least with that particular neighborhood.
What Oranienburger Strasse lacked in food, it made up for with prostitutes. I had no idea I was in a sort of red light district for Berlin, nor did I learn that prostitution was legal in Berlin until after I’d left the country. Dodging woman after woman—many of whom were ridiculously good-looking, by the way—I eventually found a restaurant with an American 1960s diner theme. The place was aptly named, Sixties Diner.
The next day, I went on my first Sandeman’s Walking Tour. For those who don’t know (which, I assume are most of the random folks who might read this), Sandeman’s tours exist in a number of different major cities in Europe and they’re free. The guides, however, do ask for well-deserved tips (not being particularly well off, I tipped them 10 Euros). These guides seem to generally be young expats living in the city but are originally from elsewhere; they tend to be charismatic with a decent sense of humor, so the tours are entertaining (though I kind of wonder if all the stories they tell are true).
The Berlin tour started near Brandenburg Gate and brought us to a few places, including: Hotel Adlon (location of the late Michael Jackson’s baby-dangling incident); some government buildings (Deutscher Bundestag); the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; some spot that was supposedly over the bunker where Hitler killed himself; a former Nazi Airbase, remnants of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. Now, I’ll wrap up with photos of said places—