We had a slight dilemma this morning as we forgot that the mobiles hadn’t changed to the Berlin timezone. This meant we only had ten minuted for us both to be washed, dressed and present for breakfast. Safe to say I was a tad late but I didn’t miss much with the buffet breakfast – all I had was two bread buns, a slice of cheese and some cake. Super healthy but when on holiday! I needed the sugar energy though as we have done a great deal of walking today, nearly nine miles according to my fitbit.
We started off on the Berliner Stadtbahn (urban rail) and then we caught the number 100 bus to Brandenburg Gate. The 100 bus does a similar route to the official tour buses, but its at least ten euros cheaper. It doesn’t have a tour guide on it, but if you just want to see the sites of Berlin I’d recommend this bus as you can buy an all day ticket which can be used on the buses and rail services for no more than five euros. I think we got off a bit too early for the gate, but we went into a Nivea shop (one of three in the world) as another guider had recommended the toilets there. I got a lovely gift for my mum there, as for an extra forty cents you could get your photo (taken there and then) and select one of their messages put on the lid of the moisturiser. The other leader was right, the toilets were very posh in comparison to most restrooms and naturally the hygiene products were all Nivea.
From the shop we walked to the gate, got a few photos and continued onto the Reichstag building. Now as a history student who’s spent at least three years studying various elements of modern German history, it was good to be able to put an image to the knowledge. We hope to book a tour of the glass dome bit before we go, but it depends on the weather because it’s not something I’d fancy doing in 35° heat (expected on Sunday) as we were all melting in today’s 30°. It would be much worse inside a glass dome! We wandered down to the river Spree and left the girls watching the boats while we tried to locate a place to book for a river cruise. After about twenty minutes of walking we eventually found one so wandered back as we are going to complete prices tonight. When we returned to the guides, they all showed me pictures they’d taken of a boat with my name on it (spelt correctly too!). We then jumped on the U-Bahn (metro) but we had to get off and walk a bit as part of the purple line wasn’t working.
For lunch we stopped off at McDonald’s next to Checkpoint Charlie and we then went and did the touristy bit of taking photos without having to pay for the privilege. Mind we got swindled a bit in Mccies as the cleaner heard us chatting in English and made us pay fifty cents to pee! I have to say I was a little disappointed in Checkpoint Charlie as it wasn’t as rustic as I’d imagined it, nor how I remember it looking in textbooks. The art work decorating slabs of the Berlin Wall were eye-catching and made up for the disappointment of Charlie. We’ve also spent the day playing spot the guide units. We are quite obvious with our neckers!
From there we walked back up to the chocolate shop, Ritter Sport, as the guides were booked in for a chocolate workshop. If you have kids, again I’d highly recommend this as an activity, as we paid six euros per guide and they were taken downstairs for nearly two hours making two bars of their own chocolate and decorating the boxes. I know it probably doesn’t sound that impressive but all the guides thoroughly enjoyed it and we paid nearly four euros to make one slab of chocolate. We simply picked what went in the bar, whereas the guides melted the chocolate, mixed it all up individually and then got it out the moulds. It looked like great fun and we really wanted to have a go! Instead we went to the shop cafe and I had a mini ice cream sundae which came in a fun face bowl. I made a white chocolate bar with rhubarb, rose pepper and biscuit pieces in. I’m going to save mine for when I go home as I know my mum will try some.
It was a short walk to the urban rail and once we were back at the hostel, we had tea once more in the restaurant on site as we were in time for the happy hour deal – drink, pizza and dessert for ten euros – so some girls shared a pizza and a portion of chips. I went dead boring and had a tomato spaghetti dish but it was delicious. Once our tea had settled we went into the pool but it was freezing! The sauna was refreshing though.
It’s another early morning tomorrow as we are participating in the county wide game across Berlin. I’m really looking forward to that activity and we are breakfasting out so I may even try a proper pretzel. It’s set to be another scorcher of a day – 33° and quite a high humidity.