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Travelogue: See you soon, Berlin

Posted on Friday, April 26, 2013

I'm going to Germany for exchange next semester! It seems only appropriate to be writing about Berlin now, since I'll most definitely be going back real soon :)

Justin and I arrived in Berlin at a funny time. It was New Year's Eve, the last day of 2012, and with the usual struggle whenever we arrive in a new city, we had to find our apartment in the dark. It was only 6 o'clock, but you know how early the sun goes during winter, and all of a sudden while we were walking along the road, something explodes with a bang, just 3 meters away from us.

Haha, being a Singaporean, the concept of consumer fireworks is completely unfamiliar to us. It was the least to say, terrifying, walking in the dark streets, pulling our luggage, and not knowing whether something will explode on top of our heads because someone didn't check before they set off their firework from their balcony.

But of course, watching it in the safety of our apartment itself was pretty exciting! Definitely not something that you would experience in Singapore. While I'm definitely glad our law forbids it, it was a interesting experience to watch - it was like the the whole of Berlin was on fire.

The fireworks went on and on till the wee hours in the morning! It really was quite a way to welcome in the new year. And then the next day when we woke up, this was what we saw:

Haha what a mess. It was all over Berlin. No doubt the Singapore government would freak out.

Like most people who come to Berlin, the Berlin Wall is a definite stop by for us. We get off the S-bahn (German's MRT) at Bernauer Stra├če to start our journey! The good thing about Berlin is that even though nothing is open on New Year's Day, they have self-guided tours, kind of like a museum, there are information boards along the path describing the history and events that happened right here, because of the Berlin wall.
There's nothing like standing there, reading the stories of families torn apart and desperate escapes and people being reunited. It was pretty easy to imagine what Berlin might have felt like back then, because that day the city was eerily silent and closed down because everyone was still sleeping in from their New Year's Eve partying, AND every now and then a random firework would be set off, sounding like a small explosion in the distance all over town.

FML hahahha.

Helloooo Brandenburg Gate! Just the night before we watched on our TV a zillion Germans partying it up and welcoming in the New Year right in this field. What a mess it is now! But looks like it was a hell of a party!

We walk so far that day - nearly 10km, which we measured when we went back to our apartment! But it's fun exploring the city, hand in hand with your favourite person on earth :)

I must say the highlight of the trip was getting our photos taken with the awesomely hipster Photoautomat - definitely a very Berliner thing to do! I spent so much time researching on where exactly to find them, since they don't exaclty have their own addresses! The one we found was at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, but here is a super useful and up-to-date site that I used to find the machines!

Oh, and just down the road from this machine, we had some amazing Vietnamese Pho. I know, we never ate German food when we came to Germany - but it really was quite amazing! No pictures cause my camera lens fogged up because it was so balmy and warm inside the restaurant, but you should definitely try it if you're in the area! It's the best Vietnamese food in Berlin ;)

And that more or less sums it up for Berlin! Fell sick on the second day, and I felt like I never really got to see the cool, hip side of the city because of the time that we arrived, but I'll most definitely, 100% be back again by the end of the year!

Monsieur Vuong
Alte Schonhauser Str. 46
Berlin-Mitte, 10119 Berlin, Germany