I woke up around 7:30AM, finished packing my bags, and was at Amsterdam Centraal by 8:30 for a 8:49 train to Berlin. I got an apple turnover (“appelflap“), a sandwich, and a cappuccino for the 6 and a half hour train ride. The ride itself was uneventful, but I got to see a lot of the Dutch and German countryside with dozens of flowering fields which was pretty cool.
The train ride gave me ample time to catch up on my physical journalling and reflect on my time spent in Amsterdam.
The hostel itself, Youth Hostel Meetingpoint, was pretty decent. The bar on the ground floor was relatively inexpensive and a good place to hang out with friends. It was slightly inconvenient to have a bunk on the third floor and having to climb several very steep flights of stairs with a full pack, but it could’ve been a lot worse had I packed a rolling suitcase. The wifi didn’t consistently reach up to the dorms even though there were rerouters situated on every floor which was kind of a bummer, but again, not a deal breaker. I think that the location—less than a 5 minute walk to Amsterdam Centraal station, and a ~20 minute walk to every major attraction within the city—was the best selling point. Within minutes, you could be at a cool bar or at a neat museum. There were cheap grab-and-go food places all around which were very convenient and easy on the wallet.
The most valuable part of my stay in Amsterdam is the friendships I made. I spent a lot of time with a group of Canadians (Ahona, Naseem, Spencer, and Aiden) and their presence made my experiences just that much more memorable. I could’ve gone and done a lot of things on my own and enjoyed them, but I think the added company was really nice and definitely appreciated. I remembered getting kinda lonely in Brussels, but that definitely wasn’t the case in Amsterdam. I hope I will also meet some good people in Berlin as well.
I arrived in Berlin around 3:30PM and had trouble figuring out which bus I needed to take from the train station to get to the hostel because although the number was the same, the destination didn’t match the one named in the confirmation email from the Hostel. I used my data plan to search up the route and found that the bus I thought was the right one was indeed correct. The data plan saved me again when I realized I’d forgotten to push the button to have the bus stop and got off a few stops too late and quickly realized how important German punctuality is when the bus driver yelled at me for not knowing how to get off the bus in time.
I made it to the hostel around 4PM, checked in, dropped my bags off, and walked west for a mile or so until I saw there were cooler things in the distance heading south so I walked towards what I later found out was the Berliner Dom. There were at least five separate Turkish wedding photoshoots going on, and at least two separate Turkish wedding motorcades that went through the streets honking and driving haphazardly with the Turkish flag flying behind them. It looked like a party.
I got currywurst and chips at a shop on the other side of the canal from the Berliner Dom for about €6 and it was pretty tasty but very salty.
I walked toward Alexanderplatz and the big TV tower (Berliner Fernsehturm) and sat on a bench for a little while and looked around at all the different architecture in the area.
I then headed back to the hostel and met some of my roommates. Two are a couple from Michigan who were working at a US Army base in southern Germany as waiters for 15 months and decided to go on a trip to visit the rest of Germany after their contract ended recently. Another two are a pair of friends from Australia, one is studying abroad in Spain and the other is working in Norway. They met in Berlin for a big techno concert happening later that night that wasn’t supposed to end until the next day at 10am.
I learned pretty quickly while walking around at night that the clothes I packed were not nearly fashionable enough for Berlin. All of the young people wear very sleek, dark minimalist clothing and almost everyone wears a long dark wool coat. Nobody wears blue jeans at night, it’s always black or gray. I haven’t found myself feeling underdressed or particularly unfashionable in the states but here the feeling is very real. I may have to find some thrift shops and update my backpacker wardrobe.
Tomorrow I think I will go to Museum Island and go check out some history museums.