After a hectic semester immediately followed by running around the country, holidays, and adventure, it was very nice to take a breather in Berlin, staying at my former host mother, Vera’s house. I got there on New Years Eve (which I wrote a separate post about) and after that crazy night, I’ve mostly been taking it easy. Even then there’s still plenty from the week to talk about.
Vera left for a friends house on New Years Day leaving her flat at my disposal in exchange for dog sitting her lovely Australian Shepard, Jiska. We had lots of fun taking walks through the snow and making our morning stop at the bakery. Vera was gone for four days so Jiska and I really got to spend some quality time together.
In general, I prefer shopping in America to shopping in Germany. Everyone is a lot friendlier, customer service is more helpful, and clothing is organized most of the time by size on the rack. That said, the one area where Germany blows American retailers out of the water is sales. In America, it’s rare that you see something on sale for more than 30-50% off. At the end of the year, a store might have a clearance event but it’s really just symbolic and in my experience, they’re no different than any regular sale.
In Germany, it seems that most stores purge their shelfs for the new year. H&M, Mango and The Body Shop had over half their store set up with sales racks and from what I saw, the sales were significant. One can find some really good deals with a bit of patience. That said, I am on a very tight budget so I only picked up a few sweaters, some skincare from Muji, and a small order at LUSH. FYI, I’m really loving their shampoo bar and would highly recommend giving it a go.
Finally, I usually don’t mention movies on my blog because they’re really not unique to travel but I thought that I would give a quick shoutout to Arrival. I saw it in the Sony Center and it’s an incredible movie that I would recommend to most anyone.
Being in Berlin, every trip out the door is a sight seeing adventure. This city is ever changing with new street art and construction around every corner. Even after living in Berlin for 3 months in 2015, theres still so much I’ve never seen. This is pretty easy to understand when one considers that it’s the second largest city in the European Union and covers over 890 square kilometers. With over 175 museums, 300 movie theaters, and 190 clubs, theres no shortage on things to do and see.
I got a huge chunk of the “must see” items off my list when I lived in Berlin but there’s still so much I haven’t seen. Despite feeling a bit lazy, I wandered through the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and peeked in on the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted Under the National Socialist Regime. Both memorials are very effective with their messages and since they’re both quick, free, and easy to find, I think they should be on every visitors to do list.
And that was my lazy week in Berlin! Next week I will be headed home but first, a day detour through the town of Kassel! It just happened to work out that the cheapest ticket out of Berlin was to Kassel which is within Hesse where my student ID lets me travel for free so I decided to take advantage of the situation and spend a day wandering though the giant gardens there.
As always, I’ll keep you all updated next Sunday. Until then, enjoy your winter weather!