Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my study abroad program in Sweden has unfortunately been cancelled, and I was sent home. However, before all of this happened, I took a weekend trip to the cloudy city of Berlin to see if all the hype surrounding it was justified. Many of my friends in my study abroad program had either been there and loved it, or knew someone who had. So when the opportunity presented itself, I chose to explore the city. Despite all of this horrible news, I would like to stay positive and share a little bit of my trip with everyone. Please stay safe and practice social distancing. You can check the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/, for accurate and up-to-date information about the virus.
In Berlin, we stayed at a hostel—my first time in one! My six friends and I stayed in an eight person room, and our eighth resident was a music student from Barcelona. We quickly befriended him and had dinner with him. He was quick to point out that the little card holders all of us had stuck to the backs of our phones for our IDs were not popular in Europe, and he had actually never seen them before. That was surprising to me, as pretty much everyone I know has or has had one. You can get them in fun colors, and they are not only fun fashion accessories for your phone, but they also have a lot of practical use.
Berlin as a city is extremely spread out. For example, two things I wanted to see were the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the East Side Gallery. To get to them, a thirty minute subway ride was necessary. There was a similar distance between other attractions. Because the city is so spread out, I was unable to find a fashion hub; stores were kind of everywhere. I did find a very interesting gift shop, though, for the Ampelmännchen. This is the particular-looking cartoon of a man crossing the street at every crosswalk in East Berlin. Because of the separation of East and West Berlin due to the Berlin Wall, you can only find this crosswalk man in the east portion of the city. He is a cute and fun way to tell which side of the city you are in, if you are directionally challenged like me. There was a gift shop with items featuring him on it, and the gift shop seemed quite popular. It was pretty comical, actually. Imaging having a whole brand for the little green crosswalk man on signs in America!