My Easyjet flight got me into Schonefeld in the late afternoon. It was the end of October so it was dark outside but the temperature was warmer than I had expected.
I sailed through passport control thanks to the typical German efficiency and jumped on the train to the city centre. In a little less than an hour since my wobbly flight touched down I was standing in the middle of Alexanderplatz looking at my map and wondering how to get to the place my friend had booked for us.
I asked a couple of very friendly girls what direction to go and they told me that it was too far to walk and that I should take the underground. I followed their advice only to discover that the line I wanted was out of service. I jumped on a special bus that had been laid on and I was soon making my way through the city on a bus that got busier and busier by stop as the Berliners came out of work and headed into the weekend.
I got off the bus at a stop I only half-guessed was the right one and then stopped the prettiest girl who got off at the same stop to ask whether I was close to the place on my map that I needed to go.
She replied by saying my name. I was too shocked to properly understand and so I just kept quiet and studied the map a little more.
‘I’m Tina, do you not remember me?’ She asked.
I looked at her properly and then remembered her as being a girl we had hung out with for a while in Barcelona. She had been seeing my friend who had booked the accommodation I was looking for now.
I laughed when her face clicked and so did she when I told her where I was going. She was a little hesitant about joining me to my meeting with the two friends who had already arrived but she didn’t need too much persuading and we were soon on our way to the bar where my friends were waiting.
The following three days seemed to follow this same, weird but fun pattern. Our apartment was huge and in the middle of a really cool neighbourhood, Prenzlauer Berg. It easily slept the six of us and we had a large living room and terrace. On the doorstep we had great places to eat and the neighbourhood was full of cool little bars.
On our first night we went out around Mitte. We moved from bar to bar in the buzzing atmosphere of a Friday night on the town, rubbing shoulders with the locals thanks to our very own local pointing us in the right direction. The drinks flowed and we somehow ended up in an underground party beneath the most innocuous looking block of flats. The party was in the basement of the building and full of freaks and quality music. It took us all back to our Barcelona glory days but we would have probably been more at home there a decade earlier.
The following day we walked down from our neighbourhood and into the the centre. The weather was incredibly mild for late Autumn and the sheer flatness of the city centre made getting around so easy, even with a hangover. We visited the Brandenburg Gate, looked up at the hotel window Michael Jackson had once hung his baby from, walked through the eerie beauty of the monolithic holocaust sculpture, and then headed home to chill out and get a shower before another night.
We ate a great steak not far from home in a really cool American themed restaurant and then took a taxi over to a house party in Friedrichshain where a friend of mine was living. The nicest part of this was how welcome all these strangers made us feel and it was like that wherever went in Berlin. The people are so open and friendly. A lot more drinks and singing and dancing later we somehow ended up back at our apartment, plus a few new friends.
The following day we got a little touristy and strolled along the longest remaining stretch of the old wall and took a few photos at Checkpoint Charlie. The weather was just right again and the mood simply perfect.
Berlin is the ideal place to party and enjoy life with a laid back, friendly and highly creative people. It was my second visit and completely different to the first that i’d spent there with my family doing all the touristy stuff, enjoying the sites and eating well. I enjoyed both trips equally because there is so much to do here and in whatever way you want to do it. It might not be the best place to head to during the freezing winter months but i’ve now been in spring and autumn. It was brilliant on each occasion and the locals say that summer is the month to be there. Right, it’s time to get those July flights booked.
Guest Post by Baltic Travel Company – Travel in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.