To answer the question I’m sure everyone is asking, yes I did eat bratwurst in Berlin, but no this ex-vegetarian did not really like it. Turns out if you don’t eat meat for close to a decade you don’t really like fatty meat, elk on the other hand is amazing, thanks Sweden! Aside from my dietary adventures Berlin has been a treat. I got in late Friday night, after a long day of traveling that took me through three countries, and had a beer with Karen to catch up before falling asleep, utterly exhausted. Saturday was spent going to the Neues Museum in the morning then over to Berlin Pride in the afternoon. Pride was everything I wanted it to be with even more rainbow dressed drag queens than I could have imagined. Seriously though they walked the entire parade in some impressively high rainbow heels. I would have broken my ankle, broken someone else’s ankle, or just given up long before I completed that parade in those heels. The best part was the American float that was clearly made prior to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, because it was a giant wedding cake decorated with stars that said each state’s name and when/if it had legalized gay marriage. To update the float they tapped over the stars that, prior to Thursday, said gay marriage was illegal with these wonderful bright red stickers that said, “NOW LEGAL!”. I finally felt proud to be an American.
After Pride we walked home on very sore feet, due to the fact that Berlin is a large city and we are poor so we are walking everywhere. However, since it was Saturday night and I’ve heard insane things about Berlin’s nightlife I felt the need to try to check out some of the bars. That pipe dream lasted about half an hour after hearing that Berlin’s clubs were a 15 minute train ride away from the hostel and that people don’t start going to them until 6 am! Apparently the clubs open around 2am and don’t really get moving until the sun is coming up. Then they party until mid afternoon Sunday and proceed to sleep through Monday, or so I assume. That is utter crazy talk to a laid back Californian who is used to bars closing at 2 am so I quickly said screw that and stayed in the hostel to chat with other travelers. Karen and I ended up meeting some very nice people from England and Ireland. When I went to bed at 2 am, before people had left mind you, I was a bit worried I might regret it, but waking up not hungover and actually rested was the best thing I could have done. Berlin you can have your forgotten nights out, I think I’ll take my Sunday morning runs in the park instead.
Today was a 5 mile run through the Tiergarten, a huge park in the heart of Berlin, and a giant flea market with karaoke at Mauer Park. With the theme of the day being wandering through parks and stopping at lovely little cafes to eat lunch while being serenaded by live Latin music I was happy as a clam. I got to move all day, be it walking or running, and explore the hippie side of Berlin, complete with thrift store jackets, patchouli, and cheap beer. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Berlin until today (it was a bit wet and grungy in the rain), but with the sunshine and getting out of the heart of the city I really enjoyed it. As with all cities there are nice parts and not so nice parts, you just have to find the ones you like and today I did. Tomorrow will be our last day in Berlin and I plan to spend it doing a walking tour and heading over to the East Gallery to understand better where this city has come from historically. But as for tonight I’ll be curled up in bed nice and early, I just can’t keep up with these crazy Berliners.