I am finally settled in at home (my Virginia home, that is). My study abroad trip has ended and while I miss Praha terribly, I am so happy to be in my own space and closer to my family. I will write a reflective/wrap-up post about Prague soon, but for now, I want to talk about my experience in Berlin!
We took a class trip to Berlin during our second weekend abroad. We took the train on Friday afternoon, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful! I was glad we traveled during the day so we could see everything.
Once we got to Berlin, we checked into our hostel. We stayed at the Metropol Hostel. This is extremely cheesy, but I was really excited to stay there and get the real hostel experience since the last place we stayed at was more like an apartment.
Boy, were their employees nice and accommodating! They provided small towels for us and even asked if I needed stamps when I purchased a few postcards. There were seven girls in my room, and we had an extra bed. The pillows were super fluffy and huge, and the blankets were comfortable too, although the first night it was too hot to use the blanket. The room was extremely hot, so we slept with the windows open.
I’m no hostel expert, but between staying in the apartment in Budapest and staying at the Metropol Hostel, I’ve learned a thing or two about what to bring.
Things to know or do if you’re staying at a hostel:
- Bring your own towel (or two) because the ones they usually provide you with are small.
- The showers are tiny (the one in the apartment and the one at Metropol were pretty much the same size).
- The showers don’t “close.” They just have shower liners around them, so the floor gets soaked. You’ll need an extra towel or two to clean that up.
I take it you all didn’t come here to read about pillows, blankets, and showers though, right?
Once we checked in, we split up to grab dinner. My roommates and I went to Steakhaus & Pizzeria Angus, where you can get pizza, crêpes, beer, wings, and the like. I ordered a crêpe and water. The crêpe was delicious, but unfortunately my waiter brought out sparkling water instead of still water, and I didn’t realize this until I opened it.
Note for devout water-drinkers visiting Europe:
- Be sure to ask for “still” water, or else you may get sparkling water instead.
- Sometimes water costs more than beer. I don’t really care about the cost of water so I’m fine ordering still, but a few of my classmates discovered that you can request tap water instead.
We actually went back to this restaurant before we left. I was glad because I really wanted to try the wings. They were okay. They looked better than they tasted, and probably would’ve been better with ranch. I sort of wished I had ordered a pizza, but I didn’t want to because I had already had a salmon and spinach pizza from Vapiano’s. Everyone who got pizza from Angus Steakhouse seemed pleased though!
We also did karaoke at Kim’s Karaoke (which is conveniently located right behind the hostel). There was a fee to get in, but I can’t remember how much it was. I had a blast though! Anyone who knows me knows I am the queen of karaoke! I sang a few songs (a solo and one with my classmates). It took a while for the song rotation to reach us. Apparently if you have a large group, they play one from your list for every seventh song.
Our getaway in Berlin also included a tour of the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen, or the site of the former Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camp. Our professor, Dr. Ann Hollifield, acted as our tour guide. Walking around the grounds and seeing the infirmaries where people were “treated” and experimented on was both eerie, sad, and infuriating, but an experience I’m grateful to have had.
I had a pretty scary experience there though. As my professor talked to us, I received a phone call from a number not saved in my phone. I ignored it, then they called again. I ignored that call and they rang me once more. I picked up and a woman asked “Is this Saleen?” I said yes. She said she received complaints that I had yelled at and harrassed visitors at the museum, and that I needed to leave. Baffled, I immediately gave the phone to my professor.
Let me tell you, Dr. Hollifield is a beast.
She told the woman on the phone “I’ve been with her and that hasn’t occurred.” Other things were said (that I can’t remember, unfortunately), and then she asked the woman how she got my contact information. The next thing I knew, she had ended the call and told me to turn my phone off.
“If they want us to leave, they can come and talk to me,” she said.
She thought it was some sort of scam, and what gave it away was the person saying she got my information when I came into the country. I have no idea how they got my phone number, but I suspect they knew I was there because I checked in on Yelp and Twitter (and possibly Facebook). I was shaken up for a bit, but I felt a lot better once my professor intervened.
We continued our tour and that was it.
We stayed for at least another hour or so, then we ate and headed back towards the hostel. We ate at a few more restaurants that weekend, went to the parliament building to sit outside, drink and play some games, did another hop on/hop off tour, and then headed back to Prague later on Monday.
Before leaving, we tried some of the kebaps from the stand directly in front of the hostel: Mustafas Gemüse Kebap.
Some say it was delicious. Some say it’s good for a one-time visit, but they aren’t in a hurry to eat it again.
What do I say? It was perfect. Just perfect. It wasn’t spicy, it was filling, and their employees were super nice too. A classmate wanted to photograph one of their employees making her kebap, so he put on his best smile and struck a pose.
I enjoyed the trip a lot, and I really liked the fact that we did it together as a class.
As usual, I’ve attached some photos from our visit!
Enjoy and thanks for reading!