Before coming to Europe, one of my goals for the winter season was to visit the Christmas markets in Germany. Luckily, I discovered that one of my friends in Rome felt the same. Since we live in a Catholic country, we get vacation time for several religious holidays throughout the year. One of these is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, in which most workplaces are closed on December 8th and often the 7th as well. For me, this meant that I had no school on Monday and Tuesday, so we decided to take advantage of the long weekend with a trip to Germany and Poland. Neither of us had ever been to Germany before, so we decided to go straight to the capital.
Berlin. Such a strange yet amazing city. I say strange because of its hipster vibe and the prevalence of drugs, and amazing because I kinda loved it. The Christmas markets were awesome, the people were interesting, and the transportation system was super confusing. I arrived on Friday and checked into a hostel in an ethnic neighborhood near the center. The super hilarious hostel employee and I chatted for a good hour before I
dropped off my stuff and hit the streets to explore. Craving food from home, I grabbed a subpar falafel sandwich for dinner. The highlight was that I struck up conversation with a German guy whose sister lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and he gave me recommendations for spots around the city. I dropped by a couple Christmas markets before turning in at the hostel for a late-night hangout/social in the lobby.
My friend Kat arrived to join me on Saturday, and we relocated to another hostel closer to the center. We hit up the Christmas markets together, toured around the city a bit, then hung out with a crazy group German guys who scooped us up on the street. Yeah… that was interesting.
Sunday was a day full of exploring: Checkpoint Charlie, Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery… etc. If we learned anything about the Germans, it’s that they love to eat meat. Since Kat and I don’t exactly feel the same, we chowed down on soup and steamed kale at the markets. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but they were both exotic and delicious.
After we had had our fill of glühwein and candied nuts in Germany, it was time to grab our bags and head to Poland. The adventures only got better…