Hallo, Deutschland! - My Family Travels

My mom first brought up our Germany trip in January. She described it as a "last hoorah" before I go off to college and supposedly forget all about family vacations. We had three weeks to explore and my mom had everything planned.

There is no possible way I can review my entire trip in under 600 words. I could spend hours chatting about everything; although we went to many cities in Germany, France, and Austria, I want to focus on a few of my favorite spots from my favorite place: Berlin.

We started our trip in Berlin, Germany, which was definitely one of my favorite stops in our journey. Our family friends graciously let us stay with them; they live right outside Berlin, so we had to take a train into the city. Let me start out by saying that Europeans walk. A. LOT. And when they aren’t walking, they’re riding their bikes, taking trains, and/or using other forms of public transportation. As someone who had never even been on a public bus before, it was a new experience for me.

On our first day in the city, we got a little history in. Luckily, we know a guy, and were able to get the VIP tour of the main government building, Reichstag; that meant no lines, no large groups, and way less security hassle. (While not everyone can receive that kind of treatment, I definitely recommend the tour). Although our tour guide spoke no English, and my translators were too engrossed in the tour to translate everything, I could really see how proud the Germans are of their country. And they have every reason to be, in my opinion. I learned all about the history of the Berlin wall and how families, including some of my own family members, overcame separation, tribulations, and communism.

On a lighter note, I got to meet a lot of colorful people. I’d say the city may have been a little crazier than usual, considering Germany was still playing in the world championship and Madonna was in town. In the middle of the city you can find, what I called, “New York City-like activity.” There were people dressed as soldiers, aliens, tin men, and also street performers. Grab some currywurst from a local food stand and you’ll be set with lunch AND a show. But the entertainment doesn’t stop there. Pretty much everywhere we went, there were people riding around on bikes. And I’m not only talking about normal bikes; 5-person bikes and bar bikes were very common. The bar bikes were commonly used by soon-to-be grooms and their best buds; while I have never been a groom, bachelor, or member of a wedding party, I couldn’t help but giggle at the grown men, drinking, laughing, and even singing, while pedaling a bike, being steered by a woman who looked like she hated her job. It was hilarious and I’ve already decided to have my bachelorette party in Berlin when the time comes.

The last place I’ll talk about is also the yummiest! Of course when you’ve been walking all around Berlin, you must treat yourself to something scrumptious. By the end of the day it was well deserved, trust me. We went to this chocolate shop, Fassbender & Rausch. It was amazing. Buildings made out of chocolate, chocolate airplanes, chocolate frogs, chocolate bears, chocolate everything! The smell alone is enough to go inside and take a look.

These are only a few of the amazing places I saw.

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