(Caitlin) At the end of 2016, Ryan and I chatted about our top three places we wanted to travel to next, and Berlin was on his list. Late in 2016 Facebook asked Ryan to go to Berlin for a recruiting event, and we jumped on it! We found a nonstop flight on AirBerlin from JFK to TXL on Justfly.com. The flight was basically empty, and the service was great.
The hotel was prearranged and was stunning.
We took a redeye flight, landing at 7am, and needed to stay up as long as we could to get on Berlin time. After wandering around for a while, we stumbled upon The Holocaust Memorial. It was hauntingly beautiful with 2,711 concrete slabs representing lives that were lost. There was also a sobering museum under ground with a timeline of events.
After several somber hours, we continued walking around the city, taking in the architecture. We grabbed a late lunch at Alt Berliner Wirtshaus and I was in German heaven! Potato soufflé with chicken, cheese, and pineapples.
Our room was ready by late afternoon, so we unpacked and were asleep by 4pm.
The next morning, we took the Hop On Hop Off bus tour to get an idea of everything there was to see.
There were two different bus tour loops with over 4 hours of stops and history. We rode both, listened to the entire audio tour, and made a list of places we wanted to go back to. We ended the day walking around the East Side Gallery which is a long stretch of the original Berlin Wall with some incredible murals.
That night we had dinner at a local German restaurant with a cozy atmosphere.
The next morning, we hopped back on the bus to Charlottenburg Palace, which was a summer home built for a princess. #newgoal
I love history and am completely obsessed with chandeliers and all things royalty. We did an audio tour that took you through each room. It started with the grand, entertaining halls.
The tour led us through the "apartments" of the different rulers and where they spent most of their day-to-day. There were long corridors with smaller rooms made for specific functions: The writing room, the day room, etc.
All of the rooms were beautifully detailed and decorated.
This was the princesses bed chamber. Love the airy decor.
This was a living room to an earlier king. It had a very different look with silver detailing. It's so interesting to see the differences in time periods through the decorations.
After several hours at the palace, we walked through the trendy shopping district of Kurfürstendamm. Every designer known to man lined the streets. We stopped at an adorable cafe for a late lunch and felt right at home.
We left the life of luxury and went back to exploring Germany's history. We had several different people tell us we had to go to Topography of Terror but to be prepared for some heavy topics.
Out front is another section of the Berlin Wall still standing.
Fun fact, all the wear and tear are from tourists chipping off pieces to take home, which can now get you arrested!
Behind the wall, stood the remains of the Nazi SS and Gestapo headquarters that was bombed and destroyed in WWII.
Inside the museum, we started an in depth tour on the Nazi regime. We tagged along on a guided tour, which we would highly recommend. There was an overwhelming amount of detail and information, all horrible but an important part of our history.
After several hours at the museum, we walked down the street through Checkpoint Charlie, one of several passageways between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.
We then headed to dinner to meet up with a few friends, one who was there for work as well and one who lives in Berlin now. The guys enjoyed all of Germany's finest.
We spent the entire next day at the German History Museum and didn't take a single picture! You start upstairs at 500 and work your way up to WWI, then head downstairs and learn about the aftermath, WWII, the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, and reunification once the wall came down.
After a long day of learning that Germany has been in constant battle for over 1,500 years, we had an amazing dinner at a local wine bar.
We came out to snow and the streets were deserted, which made me want to walk in the middle all the way home.
After four amazing days of sightseeing, Ryan went back to work recruiting. He had three full days of interviewing people.
I, on the other hand, had a glorious routine of walking on the treadmill while listening to a new podcast, Making Oprah, reading Superficial by our underground pool, Facetiming my Mom, and working in my robe.
Each night Ryan would come back to the hotel room exhausted while I was refreshed and ready to go out! Two more delicious restaurants we would recommend: Goodtime is a Thai restaurant with the best yellow chicken curry I've ever had, and Otito is a Japanese restaurant with delicious sushi.
Until next time!