I’ve always wanted to travel. I love exploring new cities, but I’ve always felt like I’ve relied on other people to come with me. I was stopping myself doing what I wanted because I was so reliant on other people, a trait I’m trying to get out of. Back in February, my best friend Georgia flew to Ottawa, Canada by herself after she felt a bit lost in the world from various life events and I was so proud of her. So in May I did the same – I booked flights to Berlin.
In my history lessons, I’d always completely be in love with learning about the world wars, all the way from primary into my GCSEs. I mean, I wasn’t particularly very good at writing analytic essays, but it was like story time for me. I was so interested in the rise of Nazi Germany and Communism, especially as my grandparents worked and fought during WW2. Berlin is a key city in all of this, especially with the Berlin Wall and other various landmarks which made poignant moments in history.
Back in February, I was so utterly depressed. My relationship had broke down, I felt like the loneliest person in the world and I could barely function as a human. I’ve slowly built myself back up, stronger if I do say so, so first of all, I want to point out how proud I am of myself. Travelling alone properly isn’t a big thing for many, but for me it was huge. I’d gone from a shattered, worn down body and mind and I’ve become so much stronger and happier.
Travelling alone was so refreshing. I thought I’d be totally anxiety filled at first, but as soon as I got on that plane, all my worries were left back in England. Whilst this is such a selfish reason to have enjoyed it so much, I didn’t have to worry about other people. Like I could do what I wanted to do, there was no itineraries, no arguments. I could take it easy. One day I was sooo tired from walking 25,000 steps that I simply decided to find an outdoor bar amongst the trees, ordered a stein and sat and read my book – it was absolute bliss.
Now I know when people travel they like to go out, party and meet people. I think if I’d have spent more time in Berlin this is something I definitely would do, but I didn’t want to waste my short time in the city being hungover. I wanted to walk all around Berlin so I could see everything and take in the culture. If I was hungover I’d have probably just sat down somewhere all day. But anyway, my hostel had a meet up every night where you could make new friends, which I thought was really cool. It even had a mini club downstairs which was completely random, but still! I instead decided to ready my book, have a few drinks and go take pictures on an evening, while settling for an early night.
The only downside to my adventure was sleeping in the hostel itself. Now the hostel had an amazing social area, was super clean and the communal showers were actually SO nice. But sleeping with strangers, that’s a tough one. I didn’t really know who to expect, but I think I just pulled the short straw on the first night: seven big beefy, drunken men who snored SO badly. I could barely sleep as I was so scared someone could just come up to me in my bed!! But luckily, they were just really drunk and noisy. Thankfully on the second night, I was put with a boy and two girls who were really quiet. Sadly, they didn’t speak English so I couldn’t really make friends! Again this is something I would have loved to done if I’d have got more time to spend in the city, as most locals were super friendly!
So, what did I get up to on my 48 hours in Berlin. Well, lots of food, beer and reading really, but I did see some wonderful German landmarks. On my arrival to Germany, I hopped on a super quick train into the city centre and made my way to the hostel. On the first day, I opted for a quieter start, where I just wanted to stay within the areas of Mitte and Alexanderplatz. For lunch, I opted for a traditional German lunch of Weisswurst (white sausage) and pretzel with 1l of beeeeer, which was super tasty! Later in the day, I simply just had a little walk around the area, checked into my room and then spent the evening out and about: DDR museum, Berlin Cathedral and a riverside dinner. The DDR museum was super interesting: life during Nazi Germany, housing, jobs, the army, life when Berlin was split. The museum was interactive and engaging and is definitely worth a visit! Berlin Cathedral was absolutely stunning and made some fabulous pics. I enjoyed a sunset dinner outside the cathedral by the river – it was so relaxing and beautiful.
My second day involved lots of walking. I adventured off to the south of the city to visit the Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery) which was incredible to see, not just because the art was fabulous, but the whole sight was breathtaking itself. The Berlin Wall made such a mark in history, with often devastating consequences so it was amazing to be finally able to visit. I mean, it wasn’t knocked down until 1989 – that’s only 29 years ago. Later in the day I went to the west side of the city to visit the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, which were pretty cool too. I decided to spend my afternoon outside the Reichstag in an idyllic little park cafe: I read my book and had a stein and simply just relaxed! My evening was spend relishing in the dregs of the warm summer evening eat currywurst, drinking red wine and reading. You could say I probably didn’t do much, but I can’t emphasise how nice it was to just take some time out for me and let the world pass by.
I am SO excited for the next new place to explore: whether that be alone or with friends. But one things for sure, I am definitely a much happier, confident being who craves to explore.