So our first day of taking it easy, ended up being a pretty full day even though we didn’t go into anywhere, we just wandered and saw the sites. We saw a lot and didn’t spend a penny. We discovered that the Donar was supposedly invented in Berlin as well as the Curry Wurst. So naturally we had to try them here. We grabbed some Donars and some pastries on the way to see the Berlin Wall Memorial. Our hostel is only about a 20 minutes away so we walked. After we grabbed the train back down to Brandenburg Gate and walked the 2 blocks down to the Holocaust Memorial, or The Memorial for Murdered Jews in Europe. This is a beautifully eyrie monument; a couple thousand concrete blocks on a sloping field in the center of the city.
At this point we were torn, explore the abandoned amusement park, or the abandoned spy station. 🙂 Hmm, decisions decisions. The amusement park is on the east side of the city and the spy station is on the west. The monument we were at was directly in the middle. Apparently there are a lot of things you can explore in Berlin that are abandoned 🙂 We chose the amusement park, but when we got there, it was all fenced off, there were dogs and a guard. So that was a fail. Either way, I would come back and explore Berlin again. There are too many things to do here.
After that we decided it was time for more burgers :). This time we went to a place called The Bird. When we got there, the entire place was completely full. On our way in Kristin overheard the hostess talking to someone about reservations. The earliest they had were over a month out! This was not something we expected from a burger joint. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, my recommendation would be to try the bar. Never apart of the reservations issue nor do you usually have to wait to be seated. It is usually first come first serve. In this case, nothing special, we elbowed past the indecisive couple in front of us and grabbled two seats at the bar before they were gone. Ok, Burgermeister was good, but greasy spoon, hole in the wall, made by a very large man on the verge of cardiac arrest sort of good. The bird was equally delicious, but on the completely other end of the spectrum. Gourmet hand formed beef imported from the states, and served with homemade fries. You could choose between a flat top grill or an open grill. And holy schnikey, I was in hot sauce heaven also. They carried a number of brands, but one line that I absolutely loved was called Suicide Sauces. The company that does the distribution of sauces for The Bird started making their own. If your a hot sauce nut, I believe you can buy them from their site. The company is called Pfeffer Haus. I particularly loved the Mango Fire and the Habanero BBQ.
After Dinner it was still a little early and on a friends recommendation we should go check out a bar called Salon Wilde Renate. It has its own labyrinth, need I say more. I thought it was a lot of fun and very fascinating. It forces you to explore with your ears and touch instead of sight. Kristin walked straight through and didn’t particularly care for it. They didn’t let us go in together, unfortunately, and we never found each other inside. I would recommend checking this out. The beers were cheap and the music was interesting too. This place is stuck somewhere between creepy and fascinating. They also have a large outdoor area, but that was closed when we were there. I bet the parties here would be absolutely amazing. Walking down the street you could see piles of confetti that built up from the wind blowing them together.
We walked back to the hostel in the rain and hung out for the evening. We planned to camp near some old spy satellites, but it was raining all night so we just hung out with some people in the commons area for the rest of the night. I am really sad I missed those. They are a cold war relic that were built on top of a nazi college that couldn’t be destroyed after WWII. Apparently the building was so strongly built it was impossible to destroy, so instead they buried it under the rubble of all the buildings that were destroyed during the war. After which during the cold war the US built a spy station on top of the rubble. It is abandoned now. Damn, that would have been cool to explore.
The hostel we stayed at was called The Heart of Gold Hostel, for the most part it was fine. The dorm was comfortable and quite, all the normal amenities were just fine, but it had one major downfall that would make me never stay here again. The entry to the hostel is down a long covered walkway to a courtyard. This is where all the smokers hung out. Every time you leave the building you have to walk through it. Every time you go to the dorms, you have to walk through it. It was a gauntlet of disgusting. I feel like everyone here smokes.
We didn’t need to catch our ride out of Berlin until 6 pm, so we spent the day exploring Sanssouci gardens in a neighboring town called Potsdam. This was the summer palace for Frederick the Great. It was disgustingly beautiful. I felt like I walked into the set of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately we only had about 1.5 hours to spend there, but it is definitely a place I would like to come back to. Seems like everywhere we have gone has something amazing we missed out on or need to come back and check out again. We caught the train back into Berlin to get our stuff from the hostel and headed down to meet our ride out of town.
We needed to catch a flight early on sunday morning out of Frankfurt, but we still had a few days before then so we chose to spend one of them in a Kassel, a city between Frankfurt and Berlin. We didn’t intend to go to the city, but just to the west of it is a park called Bergpark Wilhelmshoehe. It is the largest park in Europe and the second largest mountain park in the world. It is home to a palace, an aqueduct, a castle and and a cascading falls that runs the entire length of the park naturally powering a large fountain in the pond at the bottom near the palace. We got to the park around 10 pm and hiked to the north side where we set up tent and camped in a forested area. It was cold, but quiet and comfortable. We felt like we didn’t get enough time to explore Sanssouci, so we got up early that next morning to have more time. We didn’t have our a place to stash our packs and didn’t want to leave them where they were since we were so far north, so we decided to just haul them around with us the entire day. We spent the entire day hiking the grounds exploring. At 6pm we made our way back into town and met up with another person to get our ride down to Frankfurt. I learned something new about how you can offer a service on Blablacar. The person we met had a 5 person regional pass and had that for us to take. So instead of driving we took the train. I swear I love this site. And since we were traveling beyond Frankfurt on to Mainz we got to keep the pass afterwards and continue on with it.