ain't no party like an S-Bahn party.
So you're finally going to Berlin.
if you're under 35 your probably planning on getting past the infamous doormen at super-club, Berghain, drinking an inordinate amount of German beer, and visiting a few WWII sights and memorials so don't feel like a total dink.
While these are worthwhile endeavors themselves, In my opinion, the best way to spend time in berlin might just be getting a little lost.
After about my fourth attempt at locating a recommended hot spot one Friday night, a Berliner advised me to "blame Napoleon" for my difficulties. Apparantly the emperor thought it made sense to number buildings in opposite directions on each side of the street... I'm still trying to figure that one out.
While it was moderately frustrating to get lost nearly every day when i pride myself on my keen sense of direction, i eventually started to enjoy the whole routine. with a few new friends serving cameoing, and a fresh new berlin playlist on my itunes, my seemingly never-ending journeys on the S-Bahn (Berlin's metro train) became an unexpected delight.
Even when i'd find myself on the opposite side i had intended on arriving in, to there seemed to always be German pastries and ice cream near by to soothe the shame.
in between you own s-bahn adventures, here are a few spots worth finding:
- The Berlin Wall. This one may seem exceptionally obvious but apparently a lot of tourists overlook the various ways in which you can learn about, honour, and appreciate this super important part of our recent history. Head to the East Side Gallery and admire the longest remaining section of the wall and the 101 images that have transformed it's once gray facade into a now inspired becaon of hope, healing, and expression
- enjoy a pilsener in the park. One of my must-dos in any new city is finding a park to spend a relaxing afternoon in. Turns out Berliners like to do the same. On a sunny summer day, park lawns are where you can find them. Don't even try showing up without a bottle of suds in hand. Seriously. Do as the locals do, Always.
- Take a free walking tour. The educated folks that lead these tours will give you some wonderful insight into the history that's imbedded into this now re-imagined metropolis.
- Schnitzle, spatzle and sausage. you might have buy some new pants, friends. Germany is home to some of the most drool-worthy dishes in Europe. Indulge in warm apfelstrudel drizzled with creamy vanilla sauce after you devour a rich, savoury plate of sauerbraten. Worth every calorie, I assure you.
- Pay your deepest respects to the lost generations at The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold arranged 2,711 slabs on a sloping field to create an "uneasy, confusing atmosphere" which honours the history of Jewish holocaust victims. It's striking, cold, humbling, and heartbreaking - a place to mourn and remember.
- Party. Hard. If there's any city in Europe worthy of your bad behavior, it's the home of the hedonists. there's bar or nightclub fit for every one of your whims and desires, trust me. Start Friday night and be prepared to not let up until Sunday evening. No joke. Be sure to purchase your travel insurance before this trip. You're not in Kansas anymore. (A Pilot's Daughter always recommends you indulge responsibly. Safety first people.)