Berlin, May 2018
I'm a bit late on this travel update as I'm in Mumbai (I know) for work.
Every year me and a group of friends from my hometown disappear to a European city to explore, drink, learn, drink, hang out and drink.
We've been to Porto, Munich, Bratislava and Riga so far, and Berlin was our fifth holiday. Everyone was extremely excited to visit a city so steeped in history.
We stayed at the Generator Hostel in Mitte, near Alexanderplatz. It pretty much trumped all other hostels we'd stayed in, mainly because it had a bar, decent beds and some pretty good showers.
Our first evening and night were spent merrymaking and drinking steins in the local restaurants. I introduced many of my friends to the magic of the pork knuckle - a kilo of meat and crackling that's as tasty as it looks.
The second day we decided to really go and take in the sights. We headed for the TV tower, and then decided the 4-hour queue wasn't worth it. Unperturbed, we made our merry way to the Brandenburg Gate, and stopped along the way to explore a Volkswagen showroom.
After the gate it was time for the Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. The road was horrendously busy, and I only just managed to snag a photo of the famous signs without including the rather intrusive KFC logo hanging above it. Afterwards, we enjoyed a Weissbeer-soaked evening at the Hopfbrau Haus.
Our second day saw the most ground covered. We took the U-Bahn to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was a striking, sombre place that, despite its controversial status, let us all in deep states of reflection. Though that wasn't helped by tourists climbing on the blocks for fun.
Our journey then took us to the Tiergarten, the Reichstag and the memorial to the Soviet dead at the Battle of Berlin. A few more beer gardens were visited before one of our party dragged us to a Hard Rock cafe deep into the western side of Berlin.
After some convincing, a helpful barmaid gave us a list of clubs to try in the eastern half of the city. We set off, eager to try out the famous Berlin nightlife, but were turned away after a few miles of walking (and copious offers of hard drugs). Sleepy and dejected, we headed back to the hostel.
On the final day, we managed to go up the TV tower, and spent the rest of our time munching on currywurst and schnitzel.
I love Germany. It was fantastic to visit the nation's capital, and it's a city which I would visit again in a heartbeat, not least because there's far too much to do in just one weekend. I even managed to practice my (awful) German skills on some confused - and very understanding - bar staff, as well as a Taxi driver who was very accommodating to my completely incorrect usage of the the term "how much is the fare?"
While I may be in Mumbai, I'm afraid there's little time for exploring. The next travel update will likely be when I visit Dublin, in just under a week's time. Until then!