Where does one even start with this magical, cultural-filled place? Berlin is a city for lovers, for dreamers and for passionate people. Little did I know prior to visiting just how much history the city itself holds, and how much the people of the city take pride in where they live. Megan, Jonah, Allie and I spent 5 whole days in Berlin, so we had a ton of time to explore and to experience the true lifestyle of a Berliner.
What exactly does "the lifestyle of a true Berliner" mean, you ask? Berlin is the capital of House and Techno music in the world, and getting the opportunity to experience underground, exclusive nightclubs that thrive on this was something I will never forget. If you know me, you know that I love electronic music, so getting to experience this was something of my wildest dreams. The people of Berlin don't go out until 2 AM, and stay out dancing until 8 AM the next morning, some even later. Some nightclubs are open for 72 hours straight, allowing people to dance throughout the entire weekend. The thing about Berlin nightclubs is that they are super exclusive, and very strict about their door policy. At home, girls dress to the nines to go out (heels, dresses, dolled up makeup), but here they want you to stay casually dressed. Most girls wear T-shirts, jeans and sneakers. You can wait for a few minutes all the way up to 3 hours in line and still get denied at the door (luckily we did not). You are not allowed to use your phones in lines at clubs, or even use them in the clubs at all. When I asked why, a local responded that "The people of Berlin want to preserve and respect the thing that makes them special. By having Americans and other foreigners coming in and taking pictures, Snapchats and boasting it all over social media- this exclusivity and special experience becomes lost." I couldn't help but to completely respect and understand this (although I won't lie, I tried to sneak a few videos to capture for my sister). Sometimes we get so caught up in our phones and documenting everything that we forget to live in the moment. I'll admit that I am often guilty of this myself, but being here made me really realize to soak up as much culture as I can and to physically be present in these moments. The nightclubs of Berlin were unlike anything I've ever fathomed or dreamed of, and you can only go see for yourself to understand what I mean.
As as far as the history of Berlin, we visited the Jewish Holocaust Museum of Berlin, and the Holocaust Memorial. Both were extremely fascinating and filled with a rich history on an important topic. I've visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C. before, but to receive the privilege to learn about the history of Jews in Germany first hand made it all the more worthwhile. We visited several other historical monuments and buildings including the Brandenburg Gate (where Obama spoke while we were there), the Reichstag Dome, the Berlin Cathedral and the Berlin Wall Eastside Gallery. The city itself was filled with beautiful architecture, but was also very different and more modern than Prague was.
As I lay here writing this, I am waiting to start the rest of my trip with EF in the Dublin, Ireland National Airport. It is currently 3 AM and I've barely slept in days due to the night-filled lifestyle of Berlin, but I cannot stress how worth it it was. When you're traveling, it's important to live like a local. To get the experience of the culture of the place that you're visiting, and not just see what Trip Advisor tells you to. We met a group of Australians and danced into the sunrise from a penthouse overlooking all of Berlin. The spontaneity of traveling is sometimes and most often the best part of the experience. It creates memories and crazy stories that you will never forget. Of course, be smart always. But never forget to make the most of your experience.
Thank you Berlin, for one of the best weekends of my life! I can't believe it's only been ONE week of traveling and I've already created so many memories. I can't wait for the rest of this trip and to see all that Dublin has to offer. Stay tuned :)