On our way to Poland to attend the wedding of Dale's friend David and his fiancee Dominika, we flew to Berlin and spent a few days here before continuing to Poland.
Our flight from JFK to Berlin was only 7 hours but felt longer after watching The Avengers Endgame on the flight. Passage through immigration was so fast and painless it felt criminal. Because we were driving to Poland, Hertz limited our car choices to economy, manual options. Hence, we drove a Ford Kuga (apparently it only dates younger models?) to our first hotel in Alexanderplatz in East Berlin. At least it wasn't a Trabant, the infamous East German car.
We wanted to adjust to Germany's time zone quickly so we joined a walking tour of the area the day we arrived. What a perfect introduction to the city. First, it was a sunny, hot day. Second, Dale was only 1 of 2 men on the tour: the other 12 tourists were young women dressed for a sunny, hot day. Lastly, the tour was fast-paced and fascinating, focusing on the city's recent (WW2+) history. (www.originalberlintours.com)
The next two days we stayed at the nHow hotel in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg District. We were located on the bank of the River Spree (remember that name, crossword fans) and a short distance from the "East Gallery," the part of the Berlin wall famous for its artistic graffiti.
This area of town caters to artists and musicians, and our hotel offers guests a free electric guitar or keyboard to use in their room. The lobby boasted a stage with a baby grand piano, drums and lighting and the hotel meeting rooms were rehearsal rooms. Pictures of musicians line the walls.
And everything is...pink. The furniture. The elevator. The phone in our room. The linens. The floor. The doors.
On our second day in Berlin, we walked to an abandoned amusement park that has become a tourist attraction.
Both of us could picture living here--its a vibrant city, bike-friendly (bicycles have their own traffic lights!), and not too expensive. However, Berlin restaurants are surprisingly credit card-averse, either preferring cash or refusing credit cards. We also learned that Berlin iced coffee (eiskaffe) is really a slurpee. After 2 failed attempts at ordering coffee with milk on ice, we drank the damn slurpees. We also realized a little too late to go easy on the beer and coffee when walking around town, because public restrooms are pay-only (except on this bridge, which we named the Pee Bridge for its tell-tale scent of human urine).