4 Days in Berlin + 1 in Dresden – A Review

Before I continue I would like to correct a mistake in my previous post; I mistakingly wrote that Copenhagen Central was the biggest train station in Europe. It isn’t. That honour goes to Gare du Nord in Paris (at least in terms of number of railway passengers). I horribly misread wikipedia and apologize.

Wow, Berlin, where to start…I stimultanesouly feel as if I did a lot, and nothing at all. Berlin is huge, with no true city centre. While I hit all the sites I wanted to see, there were some cafes and small sites I never got to visit, and a daytrip to Potsdam wasn’t something I managed to fit into my schedule.

Oh well, reasons to go back!

I had decided to bus from Copenhagen to Berlin. It was the same travel time (7 hours) but less than half the price, so my decision was easy.

How naive I was.

I arrived into the  Berlin bus station at 10:45pm on a Thursday evening…and we were supposed to arrive at 9:30pm. I can handle 3.5 hours on a bus (as we took a ferry from 5-7pm and I got the chance to stretch my legs). However, when you’re in a cramped, full bus that has apparently air conditioning but none that you can feel, and everyone surrounding you is starting to smell BO heavy…get me off. Plus my back ached and I was tired and hungry.

When we arrived I didn’t have the energy to figure out the 40 minute metro ride to my hotel. I took a cab. No regrets. Sometimes you just need to get where you’re going, NOW.

The next morning I met up with an SFU classmate and we got to talk about her time in the city and my plans, which was a welcome way to begin my exploration of the vast city. Afterwards I attempted to find my way to Museum Island…and got hopelessly lost. I gave up, went for lunch, and by that time it was HOT. I was sweating as I ate and as I made my way back to the hotel. Not wanting to feel like I wasted a day, and also remembering that I needed to look up timeslots to walk around the Reichstag, I took an easy afternoon. I got one of the only remaining slots to the Reichstag during the week I was in Berlin, and after confirming my booking I spent a leisurely two hours planning out the 3 other days I’d have in the city.

That evening, it thunderstormed. Apparently this was the most rain Berlin had seen in over 100 years. Thankfully it let up after about 20minutes, leaving my views from the Reichstag calm and cool as I overlooked the city.

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The next day I was up early to catch my bus to Dresden (thankfully not as painful as the one from Copenhagen). I was excited as the city had held my fascination for 10 years, ever since playing a concert band piece that recreated the bombing of the city. I did a 2 hour walking tour and then had time to explore myself. It was a surreal feeling to walk the ground where nothing but the shells of buildings once stood.

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The next 3 days I took easy. I made to Museum Island, East Side Gallery, the market at Mauerpark, Nikolaiviertel, and met with a longtime friend after 8 years apart.

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Unfortuantely, my low blood pressure acted up on my final two days.

I iron pills with mw, but because I had felt fine for the first few weeks I was only taking them every 4/5 days. This resulted in my getting dizzy quite easily when standing up, or laying down. The worst sympton is my lack of energy…Monday I didn’t start my day until about 11am which was fine, but Tuesday I couldn’t even bring myself to leave my room until 3pm, I felt so exhausted. I’ve stocked up on more pills and will be  taking them more frequently.

I feel as if my exhaustion was a combination of things. My low iron for sure was a large factor. Another is that, right now, I’ve been travelling for 1 month. While I had more time in England, and thus more time to relax, it’s been a bit more rushed getting to everywhere else, planning my days, packing, repacking, and repeat. The next few legs of my journey will be a bit more relaxed, which I’m looking forward too!

The last reason, I suspect, was the amount of transit I was taking while in the city. Remember how I said Berlin is huge? Well to quantify, everything I wanted to do/see in the city was at least a 30minute transit ride, usually with transfers. That place in turn could be anywhere from 10-30 min to the next place I wanted to see. It may not sound that bad in practice, but when you’re spending a good 1-2 hours on 3-6 transit trips in one day, it really takes a toll. And it’s very hard to walk, given the size of Berlin, so transitting is really the only way to go.

Were I to revisit, I’d make it out to Potsdam, take an alternative art tour, and find 1 or 2 cafes to relax at during the afternoon. And take iron pills more frequently.

Until next time!

Next up, Zürich!

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