After 8 long hours on the bus we made it to Berlin around 11pm. Unfortunately we hadn’t a clue how far the bus station was from our hostel. Luckily we had met a nice guy on the bus, Aydin, who happened to be from Berlin. He had just been to Oktoberfest for the first time as well and we were able to bond over shared stories. He told us his mom was giving him a lift from the train station and offered us a ride to our hostel, giant bags and all. Such a sweet gesture, and a nice welcoming to Berlin. On the way we got to meet his mom who was trying to practice her English while giving us a somewhat night tour of the city through the window. She told us she had done a similar trip as ours when she was a young girl with her friends and shared with us some of the cool places they had gone. We thanked Aydin for the ride and exchanged numbers with him telling him we would buy him lunch or dinner one night to say thank you.
The next day we switched hostels to be closer to East Berlin, the more happening side. We walked alongside the walls of the Eastside Gallery where the Berlin Wall once stood admiring the various works of art sprawled across it. This was definitely one of my favorite things, and we made a point to pass it almost everyday. That day our friends Byron and Dane, two Aussies we had met through Contiki at Oktoberfest, arrived in Berlin as well and ended up staying at our hostel. We had now gained 2 more members to our crew as we all got to explore the city for the first time together.
The following day we rented bikes and met up with Aydin for a personal bike tour of the city! He showed us the important historic sites, memorials,churches, parliament buildings, and even the best burger joint. But the best part was when we all took a break on a giant grassy lawn and just got to relax and talk. I asked him why he has chosen to take us here and around the city and he said “I have traveled like you guys before so I know how it feels to be constantly on the go, always having to figure out your next move. Sometimes it’s nice to just have someone do the thinking for you and be able to show you around so you can just relax your mind and enjoy it.” Such a rad guy. We all had a really fun time that day and called ourselves the Berlin Biker Crew haha. We ended the night with some drinks at a hipster art bar. The bar was located in an abandoned lot amongst other bars and clubs with paintings and graffiti everywhere. In the bar there was a band playing, a disco ball hanging, and a piece of wood set up in the corner as a designated painting area. Apparently you are supposed to drink and paint as you wish. So hip. So of course we contributed to this smorgasbord of random art with flowers, a giraffe snail, and the only thing Dane apparently knows how to paint, ‘dick cat’? Haha
He next day we spent sometime in hip Vegan cafe trying to figure out our next move in London. Everything we found was super pricey so we ended up deciding to rent an air bnb in zone 2 just outside the city. Still expensive but we would now be splitting it between the 5 of us. We had formed a little travel family and it was “heaps” of fun learning the Australian slang terms that have somehow stuck in my vocabulary.
Berlin was a really cool, happening place. Unfortunately we didn’t get to experience it’s “party” scene that it is known for to the fullest because we weren’t there on a weekend. However, we were able to appreciate the art and were there long enough to realize the young generation of Berliners were not your typical Germans at all. They were a breed of their own: hip, vegan, stick it to the man teens, trying to carve their own name into this booming city one piece of graffiti at a time.