Berlin, Leipzig, London, St. Andrews, Edinburgh was the exact order of the cities to be visited and all places I had somebody to see which made my trip all the more special. I caught a train Friday afternoon Berlin bound, getting there at 1:00 am in the morning. I have been to Berlin last summer when I was living in Leipzig, Germany. I absolutely loved the city because it had a rich history starting from the late 19th century to the darker Nazi history and the more recent Berlin wall that divided the city smack in the middle. There was a lot to see at every corner and it was a lot more international than most German cities. My first couch surfing experience didn’t go as well as I thought. They should really specify on the website that it is NOT okay to volunteer hosting if you don’t have a couch. I found myself walking the streets of Berlin with a map at 2:30 am dragging my luggage to a hostel called Three little pigs. Early morning I woke up to start my day in Berlin which consisted of a 4.5 hour bike tour around Berlin and meeting a dear friend I was going to spend the next 5 days with. It was a little chilly in Berlin but not nearly as bone shattering as Copenhagen so I went out with much optimism for the day. I got a free ride on a tandem bicycle to the station and met up with my fat tire bike tour people. After doing London fat tire bike tour, I was hooked on their junkies program which basically meant that if I do a bike tour of all 4 cities (London, Berlin, Barcelona and Paris) I do each with a discount and I get to earn a free tee shirt in the end. Half way through the bike tour, it started raining so we had to put on ponchos and ride down the streets looking like ghosts. We covered Richtag, checkpoint charlie, Berlin wall, the Opera house, Postdamer platz, Berlin victory column, Humboldt university, Brandonburger tor and along the way took an hour break at Biergarten to complete the German experience. I was with a group of middle aged Brits who thought racing on the bike was the more enjoyable activity than the tour itself. Our tour guide was a Scottish gentleman who knew everybody’s name within 5 minutes of the tour and was delighted to converse with each of us. After getting my Berlin stamp on my Junkie card, I was off to meet my friend from summer Yanessa. I was so happy to see her after nearly 8 months and I realize how much has happened since then. I was starving so we went searching for Shawarma along the way getting distracted by a forever 21 and Berskha. We met up with her Brazilian friend who we were going to stay with and we went out for the night to Berlin’s finest the Matrix . It was full of people from everywhere and they had great music on every one of their 5 dance floors. We had a lot of fun and got home close to sunrise. A few hours later we woke up because we needed to have lunch with Yanessa’s friend. Unfortunately, he had work so he wasn’t able to meet with us so we went off to find brunch on our own to a place he recommended. The search was an epic failure which took two metro lines, a bus ride and a walk to find and it was not only more expensive but the food was horrible. My hamburger was burnt and I am pretty sure what I ate wasn’t bacon. Disappointed, we went to catch our bus which to our dismay was sold out already. We had to get a late bus ticket and meanwhile go to the Olympic stadium to drop keys off.
Yanessa and i were Leipzig bound where I was going to visit my summer internship professor and a few friends I have made during my stay. My professor, who requested to be mentioned as Alexander the great in my blog, so kindly booked a hotel for me to stay during my visit. Early Monday morning, I went to see my Alexander the great and Netsanet (my ex-coworker and very good friend) who I was going to . We went to grab lunch and caught up. Afterwards I headed on to the center of the city Augustusplatz to meet up with Joana (my summer roommate). The next couple of days in Leipzig were spent with me spending time with my Leipzig gang and it was time to be off to city #3 again.
My departure was a bit dramatic as I had to leave Leipzig at night to Berlin for a morning flight to London. I was once again on Berlin streets at the oddest hour looking for shawarma and falling asleep at the airport. When it was boarding time, I was told since I had to print by boarding pass before hand, which I didn’t, I had to pay $90 …. FOR A $60 flight. I was furious at everybody! I had exactly 12 hours to spend in London. Half of my Smith gang (Kritz and Shuming) and one of my earliest friends of college, Nino is also studying abroad in Queen Mary University of London. We walked around London main streets, visited Museum of Natural history, Hotel Chocolate and went to and Egyptian street food place for dinner to avoid the pocket-burning costs of London. I was leaving for Edinburgh on an overnight bus.
After a painfully long bus ride with barely enough space for me to shift and a total of 2 hours to sleep. Thankfully, Jalu came to greet me at the bus stop. I fell in love with Edinburgh the minute I stepped outside. It is a quaint city with grey, architecturally unique buildings that had a sense of calm. It has a touch of modernity but not too much, it still maintains an old, homey feeling. I remember thinking that it was the most beautiful city I have been to. Eskit was already there so the minute I got there, I crashed and woke up as room service came to Jalu’s room to vacuum. That is when we realized, Jalu was living like royalty the past 3 months. Well, my definition of royalty has narrowed down to the size of bathrooms bigger than stalls. The next two days we spent shopping and eating and sleeping and sleeping. On Friday, we went to visit Shuming at St. Andrews university, apparently the same university Kate and William went to. It is located in the middle of nowhere – St. Andrews to be exact. A little university town that seems unoccupied by humans at the first glance. Shuming made an amazing dinner for us and we went out to see the life. A few minutes out and about in town, we got kicked out of 3 bars and 1 club because we didn’t all have our cards so we decided to buy ice cream and have a girls night in. We went back to Edinburgh the next day for our last night. Not surprisingly, Edinburgh had much more to offer for the night. We met up with Jalu’s friends and had a fun night. It was a relaxing full week of break spent seeing people I have missed for a long while.