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Expedition Edition 13: Berlin, Germany

Maggie and I took a ferry and four (!) trains to get from Ærøskøbing, Denmark to Berlin, Germany, but it was definitely worth it. I know I've been saying that I like a lot of the cities we've been staying in lately, but this time I really mean it. At some point, I want to put together a list of my favorite cities in Europe, and I can already safely say that Berlin is very high on that list.

The first thing I noticed about this once-divided city: the transit is amazing. The transit across many European cities is amazing, but frankly, Berlin is on a different level. The options are limitless. There are trams on most major arterials, subways, commuter trains, buses, and they're all interconnected well to take you anywhere at any time. We used them constantly, especially since there was a pretty affordable three-day pass that you could use on any mode of transportation in the city.

Berlin is a city that's fascinating more because of its relatively recent history, which may play a part in making it feel so alive. It's a city full of monuments to that recent history. It struck a powerful and sometimes somber tone to visit different stretches of what remains of the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial and Soviet War Memorial. Lighter museums, such as the DDR Museum and Espionage Museum (where I spectacularly failed to navigate a laser maze: were a welcome reprieve.

Somewhat surprisingly (to myself I guess), I found the Berlin Cathedral to be one of my favorite sites to visit. The church isn't particularly old, but both the exterior and interior are beautiful (with enormous organ pipes), and you can walk on the outside of the dome to get some spectacular views of the city. I may have enjoyed the views even more after finally ridding myself of the anxiety of making sure we successfully voted in the next election. Our votes are in the mail!

There's a lot to see in Berlin. It's a larger city than I realized, and though it lacks some of the architectural beauty of other European cities (due to extensive World War II bombing and Soviet-influenced housing in the subsequent 40+ years), it has more energy than maybe all of them. We witnessed a rally at the Brandenburg Gate, roaring break-dance enthusiasts at a flea market in Mauerpark, and a woman really giving it to a transit cop for a reason not obvious to me. I can't recommend this city enough!

We've just flown into Hong Kong (and boy are my arms tired) after a brief stop in Moscow. I also finally saw the latest Jurassic Park/World/Kingdom movie on the way over, and it was so bad I almost walked off the plane. These jokes are all public domain by now, right?

The photos are below as always! Enjoy!

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