Berlin is one of those cities everyone has heard of; it’s full of culture and history with its own unique edge. We had just under 24 hours in Berlin and had considered all the possibilities for what could be accomplished in this time. We thought we could cram a fair bit into our day as long as we checked in right away and got started. And then our train arrived in Berlin, and it was freezing cold and raining. I think I could have dealt with the cold (with my recently purchased jacket and hat) but rain, really? We started by finding our hostel which turned out to be the strangest place ever and I would definitely not recommend staying there during the winter.
We usually go with Airbnbs but we thought it might be nice to change it up and stay in a hostel since it was only one night in Berlin. Our hostel, Berlin Cube Lodges, was located in the Mitte neighbourhood (close to the train station and the Berlin Wall exhibition) and was one of the cheaper places we could find. We got a deal on booking.com where we paid 43 EUR for the two of us in a private “cube.”I guess you get what you pay for?
We were completely unaware of the small fact that we had booked a cube at a Berlin (fake) Beach Resort. That’s right, the property tried to recreate a beach party scene in the middle of the city. There were fake beaches and bars and firepits and lawn chairs and all the rest. Our cube was off to the side but would have been extremely noisy had the place not been completely dead. I see the potential for parties here in the summer but definitely not a winter place.
Our cube was also so incredibly small our luggage barely fit standing up, let alone opened. Meaning we had to open them on the bed to access our things which was a problem given they were soaking wet. On top of that, our cube was freezing and took 9 hours to warm up (thankfully we got there early and it was warm my evening) and we had to go outside to reach the washrooms (through the rain) and came back with wet sandy feet.
Needless to say, we barely did any of the things we wanted to do in Berlin and we spent more than half our time awake in coffee shops warming up and using the internet (another thing our hostel lacked). For such an advanced country, Germany is seriously behind on free WiFi spots. In North America (and most of Latin America and all of Asia) it’s pretty standard to assume that a decent sized, modern-looking coffee shop will have internet available to customers; not so in Berlin. Free WiFi wasn’t easy to find and the one coffee shop we did find with it gave out a one hour ticket with your purchase only good for one device. And then there was the issue with credit cards in Germany; we assumed we could use credit cards in any supermarket, pharmacy, coffee shop, etc.… and barely ever could. Supermarkets (even major ones that had a “VISA” sign) didn’t accept them and nor did any coffee shops or small restaurants. Catch up to the times Germany!
The one thing we couldn’t leave Berlin without seeing was, of course, the Berlin Wall. We walked to the closest section of the wall to where we were staying right next to the free Berlin Wall Exhibition. I was incredibly impressed with the exhibition both in that it was free and how well presented and informative it was.
Although we didn’t get to see much this trip, we will definitely be back to Berlin another time to see more!