Being almost a month since I took a trip outside the UK, I thought it was about time to write about a totally hectic trip! One which will be remembered for many years to come, with some amazing people from my university, as part of the #DMUGlobal scheme.
It was a rather short trip of 3 nights in Berlin, but definitely, a jam-packed one for sure. A budget-friendly city, perfect for students.
Itinerary (28th Feb- 3rd March)
This will be as much as I can remember, we packed so much in, it’s unbelievable (like the song by EMF, if you know that one).
We arrived early on Wednesday and headed to the hostel from the airport to drop our bags, get a bite to eat and then explore. Around the corner from Wombats, we found a small Vietnamese place and I tried PHO with chicken for the first time ever- I was surprised by the taste.
Then, we headed further into the city passing by the Fernsehturm (The TV Tower) hoping to catch a free walking tour- but we missed it by 10 minutes. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our afternoon looking at the Cathedral, taking a walk up to Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial (and the visitor centre). It was lovely to see all this despite the freezing temperatures, at points -15 Degrees Celsius, and to pay our respects to all these people and the culture of this historic city. Later on, we went to the East Side Gallery. If you visit this German city, you must visit the old wall, as it’s so cultural and the artwork is mesmerizing.
Breakfast at the Hostel on Thursday was only 4.50 Euros, which was all you can eat. From this, we headed on the U-Bahn towards Potsdamerplatz for our guided tour at the Berlin Haus der Abgeordneten (their regional parliament). This was really interesting as it was very different to devolved bodies in the UK, and we got to look in the chamber through the viewing gallery. Afterwards, we met with one of the regional MPs, Notker Schweikhardt, who is a member of the Greens.
Lunch was next, and whilst we were on the way to our next academic meeting all of us students went and had pizza together. It was lovely to talk to each other more and talk about our time so far in the city.
Next, we had a meeting with the European Council on Foreign Affairs. This was interesting to find out more about the work they do with European countries on a range of topics and they let us look at some of the projects that they had already carried out.
On Friday, we went to Humboldt University to hear about the Refugee Law Clinic and about the work they do to help these refugees gain status within Berlin. This links into the work which is being done as part of the UN’s/DMU’s Join Together campaign.
After a bite to eat, we made our way to the Reichstag for an audio-guided tour of the dome and roof terrace. This was a great opportunity to see so much of the city in one place. This was our last academic activity before the end of the trip and one which was worth visiting. If you’re ever in Berlin, make this one of the things you do- the amount of sights you’ll see as you walk around the dome is amazing.
We walked back to our accommodation and then had a bit of time to chill. I then met up with some others on the trip in Belushi’s to try Currywurst and it did not disappoint. After a few drinks, I headed back to Wombats to pack the rest of my stuff and get some sleep, ready for an early start.
Myself and another member of the group chose the cheapest flight, with RyanAir that we could find on our departure day- 28th February- which meant I had to wake up at 2.30am for a flight at 6.30am (bit early if I say so myself) but it did mean that we had a full day to look round before our academic activities commenced!
We did the same on the way back and there were very few trains to the station but got one at 4.30am Berlin time. Unfortunately, this train terminated at the next stop, so we had to get off and look for alternative transport. At this time in the morning, as you can imagine, this wasn’t the easiest time; no buses and very limited taxis- after 10 minutes or so, we found a taxi and made our way to the airport.
Where To Stay
We stayed at Wombats Hostel- which is really nice if you don’t mind staying in shared rooms with bunk beds and an ensuite. It has a lovely atmosphere and they have a rooftop bar too! But other friends I made on the trip stayed at Christophers Inn which is just around the corner from Wombats and has a lovely bar called Belushi’s.
Transportation in the city
If you want to venture out further to the likes of Kreuzberg etc, then it may be worth purchasing a ticket for the U-Bahn/S-Bahn, a day ticket is only 7.70 euros and you can get multiple day tickets too if you’re staying for a week or so. If you’re in the central part of Berlin, I’d say you can easily get around by walking and by doing this, you might discover some gems that you wouldn’t have if you went on public transport.
There’s plenty of cheap food places, it just depends on your preferences and whether you want to try out something new! I tried currywurst- this is basically a sausage with curry powder and ketchup, sounds interesting but it’s actually really nice.
In most European countries like Germany, this is the Euro, but it is always best to check before you travel just to be 100% sure! If you take cash, make sure you don’t just store it in one place that way at least you’ve got a backup if you lose it or it gets stolen
Pack smart (can you believe I was only allowed 10kg?!) If you think about it though, you don’t really need much especially for a short break like mine, so you can definitely pack the minimal. So think socks in shoes, and rolling up clothes is a good idea when you’ve only got enough space for hand luggage only (I will admit my mum reminded me of this one before I went!) If you’re planning on going away soon and you’re flying, make sure your liquids are 100ml or less and put them in a clear plastic bag ready for security.
Safe to say it was definitely a trip worth applying for; the balance of touristic and academic was awesome and I hope to apply to similar trips through my university in the future!
I’ve got a lot more to show you about my trip, so look out for my Berlin photo thread soon!
Until next time,