On August 28, we celebrated the anniversary of our arrival in Berlin! It’s hard to believe it was just a year ago that we dragged four suitcases and two angry cats into a taxi to settle into our new home. We were exhausted, jet lagged, and more than a little apprehensive. So much has changed in the past year, that it’s hard for us to recount! In upcoming posts, you can look forward to some more advice for newcomers to Berlin as well as a real talk post about just how hard moving here actually was.
For now, we celebrate! First we’ll show you how we celebrated, then we’ll wrap up with some numbers from the past year!
Since we technically left the US on August 27th and arrived on the 28th, we used both days to party! For the first, we spent time doing touristy Berlin things that we somehow hadn’t managed to do yet.
We started the (scorching hot) day with a walk alongside the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that is now a monument to the fall of the wall. Many artists have used large scale paintings to memorialize the feelings of Berlin in that troubled time. Unfortunately, graffiti artists have had their way with the wall in some sections, so what remains is protected by a chain link fence. Still, it’s an amazing tribute to the emotions and struggles of the time. Definitely worth a walk (though we recommend going when it’s under 90 degrees)!
After that walk, we strolled along the Spree and took our favorite stretch of the S-bahn. The S75, S5, and S7 lines all run above ground through the very heart of Berlin, giving you unique views, including brushing up to the sides of the museums of Museum Island. Plus, what’s more Berlin than being crammed into a hot S-bahn car with 70 other people who aren’t wearing enough deodorant?
We arrived at Friedrichstrasse in the heart of Mitte and hopped off the train for a perfect Berlin lunch – beer and currywurst. If you haven’t had currywurst before, it’s definitely a must, and the perfect fuel for a day of sightseeing.
At this point, we were pretty darn exhausted, so we high tailed it over to Checkpoint Charlie, which we had somehow avoided seeing in a year here. It… wasn’t worth the hassle. Not recommended. There are much more informative (DDR museum) or meaningful (Berlin Wall Memorial) sights to see than that. After about five minutes of wandering around, we threw in the towel and retreated to the fans at home. Our big dinner plans were canceled when we considered how eating hot food would feel, so we got some sushi instead. Yum.
On Sunday, we were facing another day of record highs for the summer, and we just didn’t have it in us to sight see again. So we packed a lunch, grabbed some towels and Club Mate, and jumped on the S8 to find a lake. We made it to Kiessee Schildow, an adorable little lake just 20 minutes away in Bradenburg. We spread out our towels under a tree, and then we spent a blissful afternoon lounging in the shade, swimming in the lake, ignoring the naked Berliners, and playing cards along the shore. It was perfect, and we made a vow to explore many more beaches next summer.
A Year in Numbers
Apartments seen: ~150
Apartments successfully rented: 1
Kitchens built: 1
Countries visited: 7
Gelatos consumed: 7
Sights that made us gasp: 6
Christmas markets attended: 7
Months of German class for Katarina: 6
Amount of words Katarina still doesn’t know in German: Countless
Döner kebabs and currywurst eaten: ~70
Projects knit by Katarina: 7
Climbing walls scaled by Colin: 35
When we settled in for a cozy evening at home on August 28th, sipping champagne and enjoying each other’s company, it was fun to reflect on the eventful year we had. There were days where I wasn’t sure that we would make it to the year mark – but I’m certainly glad we did.
Until next time, prost and adventure on!
-Katarina and Colin