December 30th: We flew from Athens to Berlin. This was our first RyanAir flight! They are all about being cheap and cheap they are. But we arrived safely and bused to the Air BnB we would share with Roben and Tracy. They arrived shortly after and we were so happy to see them 🙂
December 31th: It was chilly outside but not raining so we headed out to see the things!
We went to our first genuine German Christmas Market! There was live music, glühwein, tasty food, toys, crafts, more glühwein, clothing – it had everything! We absolutely loved it!
For New Years Eve celebrations, the city of Berlin shut down the roads surrounding Brandenburg Gate and turned it into an outdoor concert with a Ferris wheel, food stalls, and more glühwein. We were there around 5pm and knew we weren’t going to last until midnight. Luckily Roben and Tracy are also old (or maybe just jet-lagged…) and we left well before midnight.
January 1st: Roben and Tracy went to the zoo while Les and I stayed home to sort some things out. We decided to downsize to carry-on luggage (20L!) and had some tough decisions to make.
Later that night, we all went to a drag show at Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke Bar. It was entertaining! But we hit a wall around midnight and had to leave before the second half of the show started.
January 2nd: We had super delicious burgers at Burgermeister, a tiny burger stand under the train tracks. Apparently it used to be a public restroom. It is far tastier in it’s current form (I am assuming).
With bellies full, we walked to the East Side Gallery. It’s an open-air gallery that spans a 1.3km section of the old wall.
Les and I went off on our own to go buy new (smaller) backpacks! Exciting!
We met back up and stopped in for some sausages (and to warm up) at Hofbräuhaus. Roben and Tracy bought some sweet outfits from the attached store: lederhosen and a drindl. I had some envy – they looked awesome!
We wrapped up our day by perching up at HERMAN Belgian Bar (I don’t know why “HERMAN” is capitalized). This was Roben and Tracy’s idea and it was a good one. We got to try a bunch of new beers, including a Trappist beer that I’ve wanted to try for years.
January 3rd: We took the morning/early afternoon to pack up our new bags and sent home a package of the things we no longer had room for.
We met up with Roben and Tracy later that afternoon at Brandenburg Gate.
We went to a show that we’d read about in the Lonely Planet: Monster Kabinett. It was super cool! We were lead into a basement with fog machines, flashing lights, loud music and industrial sounds to view artistic robotic creations. Neato!!
We ended our day at Mikkeller for some Danish beers 🙂
January 4th: We all got up early to get to the Reichstag Building for our 8am reservation to go up to the dome on top of the building. It offers panoramic views of Berlin on sunny days – this was a very low cloud and rainy day. It was still cool to see.
After checking out a games store (and buying a card game!), Les and I set out to the Kaiser Wilhelm Church.
And that was it for Berlin! We woke up early the next morning to catch our 6:30am flight back to Athens.