We departed Munich at 10:15pm aboard the night train to Berlin. It was a 10 hour ride spanning across the majority of the German countryside. I was able to sleep most of the way and woke up in Berlin at 8am. Upon our arrival, we dropped our luggage at the hotel and set out on our first adventure. A couple of weeks ago, Crow told me of his time spent in Berlin 6 months ago. He mentioned that while here, he bought a bicycle that he left locked to a bike rack at a hotel. Though he didn't remember exactly where the hotel was, he remembered the general area of Berlin that it was in--- and he was determined to reclaim it if it were still there. Slim chance. We took a tram and two subways to the area where he thought it was. We walked in one direction for about 15 minutes before he realized we were going the wrong way. So we retraced our steps and started in a new direction for another 15 minutes. Lost and feeling as if he was never going to be reunited with his bike, we almost stopped searching. We decided to walk for five more minutes before throwing in the towel, which was a stretch considering how lost we felt. Then sure enough, he saw the hotel. As we approached, he could see he is bike in the same place he left it 6 months ago. COOKIES! We were so pumped.
Now that he had his bike, it was time for me to get my own set of wheels. We went to a bike shop near our hotel and I rented a bike so that we could navigate the city of Berlin without trying to read their German subway maps. With our bikes, we covered some serious ground. We rode all over the city-- stopping for pictures, a bratwurst, a beer. One of my favorite sites was the Brandenburger Tor in downtown Berlin. A very iconic symbol of Germany that partially survived WWII.
Another was the Berliner Dome. A beautiful cathedral in the heart of Berlin that dates back to the 16th century. The church itself was so beautiful from the outside, but the best part of it was the view from the top.
To finish off our Tour de Berlin, we stopped at a chocolatier called Fassbender and Rausch overlooking city square. The chocolate was delicious, but I was more impressed with their chocolate molds. Such as this mold of the Brandenburger Tor.
While riding back to our hotel, Crow spotted an advertisement claiming that the Berliner Philharmonic Orchestra had a show that evening. I'd never heard of them. He said it had always been one of his dreams to see them since they are one of the best orchestras in the entire world and they were playing Beethoven's 6th symphony, which he studied in a Classical music class in college. So we went! Ended up scalping tickets at the door since it was a sellout. And I gotta say, it was one of my favorite parts of my quest so far, especially knowing that I'll likely never hear as fine of an orchestra as the Berliner Philharmonic. We felt very cultured.
Enough with the culture, we were looking for some fun. After the show, we had some drinks and went to the most legendary club in Berlin. It's legendary because of its ominous look and the how difficult it is to get in. The Berghain. A five story warehouse, wrapped in scaffolding, door frames covered in razor wire and bouncers who look like the last person you would want to see alone in a dark alley. There's no list, there's no VIP favoritism, females have no advantage over males. You could be dressed like a skater, a frat star, or the President of the United States--- doesn't matter. The world's only bouncer who has an agent, Sven, decides if you get in. And he has no noticed criteria.
After reaching the front of the line to get into the legendary Berghain, Sven looked at us and said ever so eloquently, "Not tonight." And that was that. But I will get in there someday. I know it. We went to another club after that called Watergate where Crow was able to sweet talk the female German bouncer into letting us in. Her name was Helga, not quite as intimidating as Sven. The windows of the club looked across a river at the Universal Studios of Germany office. Though we didn't get into the Berghain, we still had a great time dancing to house music with the locals at Watergate.
The next day, we went for a bike ride and stopped at local outdoor market for lunch. I had some fresh fruit, curry wurst and some turkish quesadillas, for a lack of a more acceptable term.
That night, we planned on having dinner then going to the Berlin Wall Memorial. That was the plan until our waiter at dinner wrote us a letter to give to a bouncer at Kater Blau which was another local Berlin club. After having an -in at another club, we had to scrap our plans, momentarily, to see the Wall. We showed up not knowing what to expect and found that the club was built into the side of a bridge.
We made some German friends and ended up staying until about 4am. Then we had to make another bold choice, seeing that our train for Amsterdam left at 8am and we still wanted to see the wall, it was time for another ALL NIGHTER. We left Kater Blau, took a cab to our hotel, got on our bikes and rode to the Berlin Wall Memorial at 5am. Normally one of the most sought after tourist venues in Berlin, we were the only people at the Wall when we got there. Stayed just long enough to the sunrise. Bye bye Berlin!