Saturday morning, I got up around 9am and noticed that there were people leaving the Skyroom club. They were sweeping up, and the doors were closed by the time we left the hotel about 10. Holy crap, Berliners. You know how to party.
We hopped on a nearby tram and rode to a park containing a Swiss restaurant named Nola’s. It was in a cute chalet-like building on top of a hill. We got a table on the patio.
I want this breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY. It was so good.
From there, we took the U-Bahn to Gesundbrunnen for the Underground Berlin tour, which leaves from a closed portion of the train station. We stopped in to buy tickets, then had time to kill so we went over to the large park across the street. We hung out in the rose garden, then headed back to the tour at 1pm.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the tour; they had several different options that all seemed to be variations on the same thing, touring the underground bunkers used by Berliners during the war. I was concerned it would be kind of overblown and touristy, but that fear was soon put to rest.
The group of 30+ people came from all over the world – only a few of us were American. Our tour guide was an older Danish lady who had an extremely effective way of getting her point across. She took us down the stairs into the bowels of the former U-Bahn station, and showed us how the walls were painted with glow-in-the-dark due to power outages. She talked about the overcrowding and terrible breathing conditions. At one point we all packed into a room and sat on low benches while she described the suffocating conditions. She also asked if anyone there had experienced a similar situation, and a few people mentioned they were from Israel and had had to spend time in bomb shelters there. It was awful.
Later on in the tour, she talked about how Hitler came to power in Germany, and how neo-Nazism was on the rise all over the world. She said we needed to remember this at all times, lest it happen again. It was chilling to hear in September, and even moreso now after the election. We just keep repeating the same horrible mistakes over and over, don’t we?
I hope everyone who visits Berlin takes one of these tours. The company who runs them is doing everything they can to keep the memory of those events alive.
After the tour, we took the train and bus over to Charlottenburg to see the palace. Well, sort of:
We decided to keep moving, and hopped on another series of buses (it was a long way!) to Stone Brewery, which had recently opened a Berlin outpost. It was a wonderland of beer.
There was a huge warehouse of a building that housed the restaurant, bar, and brewhouse, plus a huge patio with firepits. We had a few beers off the gigantic menu, and ordered dinner as well. Then the store, of course.
We’d read that there was a secret back route to get to the train station from there, and I’m glad we asked a couple employees to confirm that and get directions. It was just starting to get dark, and the path looked like a good spot to get murdered. It ended up being a nice bike path along the train tracks, which then became a trail behind a bunch of really cute cottage gardens.
(Round about this point is where we hit the 100-miles-walked-on-vacation point, by the way. We could feel it, too.)
We found the train station and rode to Kreutzberg to find another brewery, BRLO. It couldn’t have been more different from Stone – it’s basically an empty lot with a giant wooden deck with PVC structure around it, and a few converted shipping containers serving as the bar and counter service restaurant. It was great, and the people working there were great. I also appreciated that they had piles of blankets, because it had started to get cold. I was able to wrap up and feel quite hygge indeed.
After a couple beers there, we went to the train station and rode back to Alexplatz. We decided to continue our beer tour since it was still early, and walked over to the Hofbrauhaus. This time, however, Oktoberfest was in full swing. It was INSANE, and approximately four million degrees inside. We realized they had an upstairs so we went up to try that, but that was equally packed full of people polka-ing. It would’ve been OK if there was a walk-up bar where you could just order a beer, but they don’t really have that – it’s all table service. We decided to just use the restroom and leave.
We stopped at a shop to pick up a couple beers there, and headed back to have our own Oktoberfest in the hotel room at 10:30pm.
Miles walked: 10.4/104.29 total