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August 19, 2015


August 5 - August 8

The second part of our ten day journey was to Berlin, Germany. We arrived on Wednesday afternoon, tired from traveling all morning and ready to take a rest. We had to take two buses to get to the house we were staying in, which was a little difficult but we managed it.  We stayed with an awesome family who we met through a friend I have from school.  They moved to Berlin from the United States ten years ago to start a church there. It was nice to stay for a family for a change and to have a wonderful room in a nice house with air conditioning :)

We went to a popular part of Berlin on Wednesday afternoon called Alexanderplatz. It was very crowded there, and there seemed to be a festival of sorts going on in the middle of the square. There were stands everywhere selling beer, hot dogs, clothing, jewelry, and other goods. There were street performers and people walking around everywhere. While it sounds fun, it was very hot (in the 90's) and we were super tired and overwhelmed. This was the first country we had been to where we didn't speak the language, and not being able to read signs or understand what people were saying was hard. Luckily most people spoke English, but it was still a difficult challenge. We hung around Alexanderplatz for a little while, ate some dinner, and then headed  back home to rest.

Thursday morning we decided to do a free walking tour of Berlin.  This tour was awesome - it was technically no charge, but you tip the guide however much you think the tour was worth. It was a three hour tour around the center of Berlin, and we went to places like the Brandenburg gate, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, the location of Hitler's war bunker, a remaining part of the Berlin wall, and a few other beautiful places around Berlin.  One of the things that the guide said stood out to me - Berlin is not a beautiful city, but it is an incredible one. Having experienced some cities that people would consider "beautiful", I saw his statement to be very true. It was not a pretty nor a beautiful city in most aspects, but there is history everywhere which makes it quite interesting.

We went to a museum that afternoon about World War II, and then walked around town. We tried to go inside as much as possible as it was so hot out. We found a little jumble of food trucks and got some currywurst, which is well known in Berlin. It is basically hot dogs covered in tomato sauce and curry powder, served alongside french fries.  Later that night we found a funky biergarten, where we relaxed with a beer in the shade of some beautiful trees.

Friday morning we spent shopping around town. Erin and I both were in search of Birkenstocks because they are made in Germany and much cheaper there. We hit a few shoe stores, and I ended up finding a pair but Erin left empty handed. For lunch we head to the neighborhood of Kreuzberg. This place was a little more run down than the middle of Berlin, but it had some character as well. We got doner kebab for lunch, a popular food there that is similar to greek gyros. That afternoon we decided to go on a kayak tour down the river spree. This was a great idea because it was almost 100 degrees out, but felt much cooler on the river.  We kayaked for a few hours around Berlin. It was cool to be able to see the city from a different perspective.  That night we headed to a square in the center of the city and got pretzels and dinner, enjoying our last few hours in Berlin.

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