Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Break 2016 Travel Diary: Berlin

Berlin was freakin' BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING and DELICIOUS. I really didn't expect to like Berlin as much as I did- I mean I figured I'd try some schnitzel and get a photo in front of the East Side Gallery and then just hang around until flying to the place I really wanted to go: Italy. Instead, I found myself surrounded by pastel rows of rainbow houses and enjoying some of the best food I've had since studying abroad (sorry @London). I spent my spring break traveling with a lovely Kappa sister and friend, Niyousha, and we later met up with other Kappas in Florence and Nice. Berlin was really only on our itinerary for visa reasons but ended up being one of my favorite cities in Europe. 

The people were almost excessively friendly and we had a relatively easy time navigating the cobblestoned streets. And the food, my God, it was all so cheap and delicious! It's no secret that London is pricey and while I'm not super picky about what I eat, let's just say the food in London has had me forgetting that flavor exists. We had two amazing brunches in addition to multiple trips to Scheers Schnitzel (thank you Liza for telling us to get schnitzel with mushroom sauce, THE MUSHROOM SAUCE IS MY LIFE), I loved the brunch spots in Berlin so much there'll be separate posts covering them both. I really felt like we got to explore our corner of Berlin thoroughly- we had no schedule or plans, we would basically pick a place to eat and see what we would run into during our journey to food. A few of my favorite sights included this river we randomly found and ended up walking along both before and after we ate- just look at those colors, ugh.

I think I thought Berlin would be a lot grittier and darker than it actually turned out to be. Everything was surprisingly bright and even delicate- there was a lot of graffiti and wall art but most of the ones we found were the eye-catching kind Instagram addicts in New York flock to take photos in front of (we were no exception in Berlin). I'm pretty sure we took more photos in Berlin than anywhere else we travelled to during Spring Break. Our catch phrase in Berlin was 'soft grunge' because for us, nothing captured Berlin more thoroughly than those two words. It was also fun to say.

I'm still obsessed with the colorful buildings dotting the streets of Berlin. Full disclosure, I'm probably going to be instagramming my photos from Berlin/ spring break in general for the rest of the semester, THERE'S TOO MANY GOOD ONES I AM SORRY. 

Another place we accidentally stumbled upon in Berlin was an open market set up in what we swear was an abandoned lot just 2 hours ago when we first walked by. I think it was called Urban Spree, there were a few signs hanging around the area. The stalls had your typical flea market wares as well as some cool jewelry stands. I loved these wooden plates displaying delicate rings placed in white grains of rice- I was tempted to pick up a few trinkets for friends but was worried about running out of Euros before I was even halfway through spring break (sorry friends). 

I think my favorite memory from Berlin aside from the two amazing brunches Niyousha and i enjoyed was having a glass of wine on a boat. While heading to the East Side Gallery, we were checking out the water when we realized there was a bar located on a boat right in front of us. After ordering a drink each, we found seats next to the railing and in the sunlight. I love rivers and oceans and any form of water, really, so drinking next to the sparkling river was something I really enjoyed. A friend from home recently asked me how my spring break was, and after joking that "it was great, I never want to do it again" (traveling is tiring yo), I talked a lot about how I felt more grounded. Okay, okay I know the whole 'traveling to find yourself' is a an overplayed cliche but honestly, these past 10 days had me feeling a lot more like my old self, a self that was at peace and trusted that everything would always work out. Leaving for London and being away has had me feeling unbelievably happy and spring break was both a reminder of how much I've grown as well as a realization of how much longer I've got to go.

(I made a new friend in Berlin)

I've been avoiding using the phrase "I'm having the time of my life" because that definitely doesn't accurately depict my experience of studying abroad in London. When it comes to spring break though, it's the first thing that comes to mind. Don't get me wrong- spring break wasn't always perfect or mind blowing every second of every day. It was stressful keeping track of flights/train schedules and exhausting waking up early, I've also become (or maybe I've always been) the type of person who likes to do most things alone so it was tough to try to balance that desire to be alone with traveling with a friend as best as I could. For me, spring break was equally challenging and enjoyable. Most importantly, my travels were unbelievably full of moments that took my breath away and instilled an absolute sense of gratitude for being alive and being able to experience everything I was. There's a quote I love, "Do you ever realize how badly you're going to miss a moment while you're living it? Like wow, these are the good days. I am here and I am happy and I feel alive", I'm not sure who the author is, I've just seen it floating around on Tumblr, but it essentially sums up how I felt during spring break, beginning in Berlin. If you've read this far down, thank you for letting my share my thoughts with you- I think this is one of my lengthiest posts. Alright, I'm going to get started on writing those brunch posts I keep promising are on their way. Happy hump day and Auf Wiedersehen!

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!