As I really get settled in to my temporary life in Berlin, I’ve experienced a few things that are a must if you are ever to make it here yourself. Most are free or only cost a few euro and are well worth the time and money – you won’t regret it!
The Berliner Dom (or cathedral) is a must see and I highly suggest you purchase the audio tour version, which is just a headset you rent that accompanies you for only 3 euro extra. The architecture and history of the Dom are amazing and it is in the heart of Berlin’s Museum Island, so it doesn’t have to be your only stop!
Other than the main room of worship, there are multiple other floors you can access along with the crypt in the basement and a 360 degree walkway around the top of the Dom which comes with unbelievable views!
Another must-see in Berlin on Sundays is the flea market in Mauer Park. It has a little bit of everything for everybody with street music, food, and knickknacks galore. I sipped on some fresh squeezed orange juice while walking around, looking at the many interesting things different people had to offer. One of my favorite booths had boxes and boxes full of the neatest doorknobs. Odd find, but I’m sure they would give flare to any welcoming door.
The doorknobs and OJ were just a drop in the bucket of what this flea market had to offer. I went back last week just to watch the people and get more juice!
If you’ve done all these things in one day, odds are you are ready for some food! A Turkish-German staple here in Berlin is the Döner. It comes in many variations depending on where you get it, but always has meat, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and an array of sauces, if you so choose. It is comparable to a Greek gyro, but is really in its own category.
I’ve had several since I’ve been here and I haven’t had a bad one yet. I can already tell I’m going to miss them when I’m back home. A few more weeks to go, but I’m loving it here!
Many emotions are coursing through me as I await my first flight, with my final destination in Berlin, Germany for the next 4 weeks; excited for the experiences ahead, sad to say goodbye to my family for a while, and anxious for the traveling process to get underway.
If you are anything like me, you have over-prepared (and probably over-packed) for the next few weeks ahead. There are many things that are essential to overseas travel like your passport, phone, money, etc., but there are also several things that are necessary that might not be as apparent to you unless you ask or are a seasoned world-traveler yourself!
Converters: European electric outlets are different from those in the United States and without your converters (I purchased mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond) you are sure to melt your cords and ruin your possessions. I also purchased a converter specifically for my phone from my cellphone provider.
Camera: This is a more of a personal preference item, but I have considered it a necessity for my trip. My iPhone camera would probably suffice, but I convinced my sister to let me borrow her Nikon D3100 with a 18-70mm lens. I can candidly say that I have no idea what those numbers mean, but I wanted to be able to capture all the things I will see with the best equipment!
Some of the necessities: passport, camera, backpack, jacket!
An Open Mind: This should be a day-to-day necessity, in my opinion, but it is especially needed when traveling to a new place with 10 other people that I have never met. I’m (somewhat) prepared for the culture shock and possible homesickness that I might face after a few days in Germany, but I can also say that I plan to combat that by remembering why I chose to come to Berlin in the first place. I really wanted to be immersed in the city that I have previously learned so much about in my courses at IU and learn about how the city and the culture has changed and how the people have adapted to that change.
I am thoroughly excited to be in Berlin and start this adventure!