The Wurst Country

Raven Hampton City, University of London


November 7, 2018

Are you interested in history? Specifically, World War 2? Then boy, oh boy, is Germany the place for you! I spent a weekend in Berlin, and it was arguably one of the most interesting places I have ever had the pleasure to visit. Don’t get me wrong, Greece was fascinating! But when it comes to more modern history, Berlin is definitely the place to go. I know to us young people the last World War happened forever ago, but there are still people alive today who lived through it. I’m sure some of your grandparents have some stories they could share. I mean it’s only been 100 years since the armistice was signed to end the first war, which for me really puts the second war in a bit more context. Anyways, let us discuss Berlin!

This trip was a little different because I took an afternoon flight, which meant that I didn’t have time to explore the area on Friday due to night falling so quickly. However, that didn’t stop me from trying something new! My adventure that night was of a culinary nature, a dish called eisbein. What is eisbein you ask? Well, it’s a boiled knuckle of pork. I had researched foods to try before I chose a place to eat dinner, and I decided that it was wacky enough to try. The restaurant I chose was located 1.5km from my hostel, The Heart of Gold Hostel, and the path there ran alongside the river, so it was actually quite nice. The restaurant was actually a brew house that had eisbein listed as their “permanent special”. The pork was served with potatoes, stewed peas, sauerkraut (which was actually okay), schnapps, and a half pint of what I’m assuming is their house-made beer. I polished off my meal and got some apple strudel for dessert, which was delicious! I left very full and very happy. When I got back to my hostel I had every intention of going to bed, but I ended up making friends with a couple of my roommates, so we went downstairs to get a couple of beers from the bar and ended up talking until 12:30am. Hostels are amazing ways to meet people from all over the world, so don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself to someone! Besides, if you embarrass yourself it won’t matter; because you’ll be gone in a couple of days anyway and you probably won’t see that person again. Of course, if you end up hitting it off, then you can exchange Instagram’s or numbers and keep in touch! There’s really no losing here!

I did slightly regret staying up late when I had to get up the next morning, but after some coffee, I really didn’t mind. By the way, if on the off chance you ever meet me, dear reader, and it’s early in the morning, please supply me with coffee. I swear I’ll love you forever if you do! But I digress. Keeping with my usual pattern, I had signed up for a walking tour, another Sandeman’s one. I found another solo traveler, and we ended up spending the day together. Her name is Devika, and she’s from India. Anyways, our tour took us all over the city. We saw memorials, the wall, a deceptively important parking lot, cult classic cars, and more. I don’t know if I will ever visit a place more apologetic than Germany. Many places were affected by the events of WW2, but Germany is unique because of their part in it all. The Germans have monuments, museums, and memorials everywhere because they fear the consequences of not learning from past mistakes. Take, for example, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This memorial is on some prime real estate, but instead of putting up a commercial building and making money, the city of Berlin chose to use the site to honor those who were cruelly and unfairly killed during Hitler’s reign. And underneath the memorial is a Holocaust museum that you really should visit. It’s free and very well done.

Not all of Berlin is dark though. There’s a really cool portion of the Berlin Wall that has been painted by various artists- a section known as the East Side Gallery, that you should try to check out. And plenty of food to try, like currywurst and schnitzel! And if you’re there on a Sunday, then you can go check out the flea market at Mauer Park! I’m not even a person who is normally interested in flea markets, but I still needed to get a painting from the trip and it actually ended up being a really cool place to check out. Your time in Berlin, should you choose to go, will definitely be significant.

The next stop for this girl is the City of Love! Yummy food and pretty lights, here I come!