Sunday, August 2, 2009

Berlin May 2009

Setting of on an Alpine Hike (Öetztal Alps) with my brother Adrian Bak in late May 2009 we started out with a day in Berlin.

I started out my day around 6 am, getting up to pack the last things into my backpack and making some breakfast for my daughter, my girlfriend and me. Around 7 am i delivered my little girl in the daycare center and then met up with my brother around 7:30, time enough to get to the train-station where our train for Fredericia departed a little past eight.

We had gotten a pretty good deal on our train tickets paying around € 50 per person traveling with DSB in Denmark and DB in Germany. We had another shift in Hamburg where we shifted from to an Intercity-express (ICE) high speed train.
The 300 km from Hamburg to Berlin took around 1½ hour with speeds being around 260 km/h. Normally the speed is about 280 km/h and DB staff came around with complimentary sandwiches, juice, water and chocolate as a apology for the 20 km/h speed reduction.

So as usual I can only highly recommend traveling with DB, for they are truly wizards of transportation.

We arrived in Berlin a little after 2 pm at Berlin Hbf. and quickly took the S-bahn to our downtown hostel (Baxpax) where we were going to sleep in a 48 person dorm.

From here on it was time for getting supplies for our mountain hike, so we set of to the Backpacker grand cathedral also know as the Globetrotter store.
At the store I got a jacket and we supplied ourself with rope, canteens, dried food, compass, carbines (just to get that mountaineer feeling), maps and much, much more.

After visiting the Globetrotter store we were a whole lot of equipment heavier and a whole lot of money lighter. However we were now only missing some sunglasses (Swiss army glacier goggles) which we were to buy at an army store by Schönhauser Allé.

After buying some sunglasses to (in a really cool army store called 'Trash Clothing') we went back to our hostel with our stuff, locked it up and went out on a little sightseeing.

Having been to Berlin numerous times in the past decade I had some favorite places I wanted to show my brother. So we wallowed down southwards from our hostel and just wandered through the city and took some pictures.

Before long we had wandered to Checkpoint Charlie and from there we passed into my favorite Berlin borough Kreuzberg.
Here we wandered up Oranienstrasse toward the lively area around Kottbusser Tor or Am Kotti as the locals call it.
When we got there night had fallen upon the city and the area was bursting with the relaxed and rebellous atmosphere.

It was this atmosphere that made me fall in love with this part of Berlin back in 2003 when I came around a couple of times to visit my stepsister Stine who was studying at the Humboldt university and lived in a WG (wohngemeinshaft) with some nice and relaxed young Germans in Kreuzberg.

Ever since my first Berlin exploration in 2003 I seem to be driven compulsively to the city, and being there again with my brother, even though just for one night, renewed the strength of the invisible strings that draw me this way every time I set out on a southbound trip.

After getting a Döner and a drink in Kreuzberg we took the U-bahn from Kottbusser Tor to Kurfürstendamm (Ku-damm) and then further on to Alexander Platz (Am Alex). By then the clock was ticking towards 2 am, and as we had to get up by 7 am we went back to our hostel and hit our bunk-beds just around 2 am.

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