Thursday, July 28, 2016

Political Science in Naples, Italy: Quick Trip to Berlin, Germany

This past weekend, Chris and I decided to take a weekend trip to Berlin, Germany. Neither one of us had ever been and had always wanted to visit. Even with the recent attacks, we both knew we would have regretted not going while we were over here in Europe. So, we booked flights for only €56 through Lufthansa, an airline that I would highly recommend using if you are ever in Europe, and made reservations at the Steingberger Hotel for the weekend.

On Friday morning we woke up from what seemed to be only a nap, because we went to bed just past midnight and set our alarms for 0330 to go catch our 0530 plane to Munich. We wanted to give enough time to try and find a cab as well as ensure that, if we couldn’t find a cab at 0400, we would be able to make the five-mile hike to the airport in time to catch our plane. Luckily, there was a cab company only a quarter mile from where we are staying. After reaching the airport with plenty of time to spare, we made it to our terminal and managed to take a cat nap until it was time to board.

Once we reached Berlin, we immediately went to the hotel to check in. We were in awe of the difference between Italy and Germany. There is an obvious difference not only in the architecture, but also the general level of cleanliness. Once we checked in, we dropped off our bags and went to the concierge to ask for suggestions on places to get lunch. To our surprise, he told us there was a bier garten no more than a quarter mile down the road. He also gave us the gift of two free local 0.5L beer coupons. Once at the bier garten, the food and beer did not disappoint!

Later that afternoon, we went on a hunt to find a local bar crawl for that night. Every person we spoke to highly recommended doing a bar crawl to try local bars that the common tourist might overlook. We ended up going on a bar crawl that another cadet, who had been in the area earlier this summer, recommended. The Hostel180 bar crawl costs €12 and includes drink specials at every stop, so it would be hard to pass up. Needless to say, it was a late night.

On Saturday, we decided to walk around sightseeing. We crossed the Spree and happened to come across the Parliament Building as well as a random festival taking place in the Tiergarten, right in front of the infamous Brandenburg Gate. Once again, we found ourselves going vender to vender, indulging in the plethora of German beer that had been ever so kindly laid in front of us, just asking to be sampled. Later in the afternoon, we went back to what had become our favorite bier garten for dinner before we went back to freshen up to go on yet another bar crawl later that night. This beer crawl was a little closer to our hotel than the one the previous night, but it was supposed to end in East Berlin… a place some argue is one the best party scenes in Europe. Again… it was a late night.
When Sunday morning rolled around, so did checkout. Our hotel was kind enough to store our bags for the day, so we could walk around and enjoy more of Berlin before flying out that night. We ended up walking to the US Embassy and following that street all the way to the city center and the Fernsehturm. Once there, we found a bar and restaurant at the top. We felt obliged to have a commemorative beer at the top — one last toast to what we felt was a very successful trip to Germany.

Then, we began our journey back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and continue to the airport. Little to our knowledge at the time, there was a large storm system over Frankfurt, which caused our flight to be delayed for an hour and a half. This, in turn, caused us to miss our connecting flight back to Naples. Luckily, Lufthansa automatically rebooked us for the first flight out in the morning, so we got to enjoy another night in Germany, this time in Frankfurt. Lufthansa gave us each our own room at a local hotel as well as €40 towards dining expenses.
The next morning, we found ourselves back at the airport at 0830 to catch our 0915 flight to Naples, and we were back before noon. My trip to Germany was all that I could’ve hoped for and then some. The overall experience was just superb, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that is in Europe and looking for something fun to do one weekend.

Robbie Machamer

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