Going nowhere

by Kim on December 5, 2013 · 25 comments

Europe by train: day 19. Berlin, Germany.

I hit a travel wall in Amsterdam and have yet to peel myself out of the pancake position. We’re in Berlin now. We arrived on a blistery cold day. A heavy wind is whipping down the streets of this massive city. The sun sets before 4 p.m.

We’ve rented an apartment here. Whenever possible, especially in Europe, we stay in apartments because we like to have the extra space and the kitchen. Many times, renting an apartment is just as cheap (and oftentimes even cheaper) than staying in a hotel. We use sites like Wimdu and Airbnb to find them (they’re not paying me to say that).

The man who rented this apartment to us is lovely. He greeted us with a smile and left us with a bottle of wine and a stack of Berlin guidebooks.

Not that we’ve used them.

So far, our adventures in Berlin have consisted of doing laundry in the bathtub and patching Brian’s jeans with a needle and thread. We’re both working from our computers. I’ve made soup and significant progress on the book I’m reading (the new Wally Lamb novel). Our biggest outing has been to the grocery store, always an adventure in a foreign country (Is this drinking yogurt? Do I need to weigh my apples or do they do it in the check out line? Is that stain remove or laundry detergent?)

Our shoes are empty by the front door and our coats hang in the closet. I have sweatpants and wool socks on. Berlin isn’t so much asking to be explored as it is to be indoored. Every part of me just wants to curl up in this warm, window-y apartment and rest. So I am. Berlin will be here tomorrow and so will we.

Train station

Train Europe

From the train in Germany

apartment Berlin

Staying home

Berlin winter

Going nowhere

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Somewhere December 5, 2013 at 7:43 am

Sounds pretty cozy to me… There is a reason people don’t ‘travel’ (as in sight-see) forever, right? We all need to rest and recover, but how cool you get to do it there? Love the photo of you guys in the train window! Enjoy xxx
Sarah Somewhere recently posted..Taking time for me and for him

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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:14 am

Exactly. And if you don’t take breaks you end up like I am now: “Oh, one more world class museum? Who cares?” I don’t want to be that way!

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) December 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

Please please please go see the bust of Nefertiti at the museum she is haunting or … there are no words. I was in Berlin the day the wall came down. I have some chunks of the wall I took off with my OWN hands. I think part of your wall is that you are in Europe during its most miserable weather. You are missing out on the outdoor living. the patios by the thousands. The parks and street life. Sad. I adore Europe more than any other destination. The culture, the history, the architecture, the food, the people… But then again maybe just maybe … that’s not your thing. Maybe your outdoors, hiking and roughing it travelers! And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Oh and we always rent apartments too! Unless we are on a sailboat.  I hope you get a warm sunny day to discover Berlin. I lived in Bonn and was often in Koln as well. It’s a beautiful part of the world. Hit up the black forest for some cabin to cabin hiking if you need to get away from the city life! I am jealous of your time in Europe.

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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:15 am

I had a friend who was also in Berlin when the wall came down. What a cool thing to experience.

Well, it isn’t a warm and sunny day in Berlin today (it’s snowing) but the flurries are beautiful!

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Domingo December 5, 2013 at 8:46 am

I think you left Amsterdam (or The Netherlands in general) a little too early. You miss the “Sinterklaasavond” tonight.

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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:15 am

What is that?!?! I want to come back in the spring and do some biking.

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Jimmy Dau December 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

I love Berlin. A lot of nice cafes just to poke around in and the food isn’t too bad. If you feel like doing something easy then just hire a bike and go riding around the parks if it’s not too cold
Jimmy Dau recently posted..Iguazu Falls – The Tourist Magnet

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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:16 am

Thanks Jimmy. Good advice!

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Carina December 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

Ooh, go to the Topography of Terror exhibit. It’s free and much of it is outdoors, and I feel it’s so important to read and learn. We were just there in September. It gives you such an amazing historical perspective, and it was deeply moving to us. It’s right by one of the preserved sections of the wall.
Carina recently posted..Revenge of our European Vacation

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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:16 am

We are definitely going to go to this. I’ve heard many people recommend it. Thanks Carina.

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TammyOnTheMove December 5, 2013 at 8:57 pm

You will love Berlin. Try and do the free street art tour with Alternative Berlin. It is awesome and gives you a unique insight into Berlin’s underground art world, and you get to see some really unusual places off the beaten tourist trail.
TammyOnTheMove recently posted..My packing list for Everest Base Camp

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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:19 am

Thanks Tammy. Good tip!

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Amber December 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I can imagine, particularly in the winter. I find there is a sweet spot when Europe is great to explore. Sitting outside at cafes, perhaps with a heater, while sipping coffee is lovely in the chilly weather. When it chills you to the bone, you want to stay indoors, veg, work, wear wool socks. I think you are doing the right thing!
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Kim December 6, 2013 at 12:20 am

It is snowing now! Even more reason to stay indoors :)

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Jonathan December 6, 2013 at 6:53 am

Looking for your further posts once you start exploring . Plan to be in a Berlin later this month. Looking forward to a trip to some of the Xmas markets , there are 50 in Berlin alone. If you head to Leipzig would love to hear your thoughts.

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Kim December 8, 2013 at 12:45 am

Well, we did some exploring of Berlin in the bitter cold. I wish we would have had longer to see the city. You should check out Globetrottergirls.com. They lived in Berlin this summer and wrote about it a lot.

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Ree Klein December 6, 2013 at 8:49 am

The whole thing sounds lovely… thanks for letting us live vicariously through you!

I’m wondering how much you’ve used Wimdu and Airbnb and which you like the best. Have you rented apartments from both? Have you had bad experiences? I would like to list these as resources that can save you money on my web site but want to make sure that’s what they actually do and include any cautions or tips for use. I’d love it if you would weigh in.

Cheers :)
Ree
Ree Klein recently posted..3 Golden Reasons Why You Should Think of Your Dollars as Employees

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Kim December 8, 2013 at 12:48 am

We use both sites a lot. Honestly, they are both good and they both do the same thing. We tend to use Airbnb more because it seems like they have a bit more to choose from.

We haven’t had any bad experiences with either site. I would say you should definitely recommend them. We almost always rent places that have already been reviewed and we read the reviews just to make sure we know what we’re getting into. But they’re both really great (we are in an Airbnb apartment right now in Prague and it is great).

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Ree Klein December 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thank you so much for the insight, Kim!
Ree Klein recently posted..3 Golden Reasons Why You Should Think of Your Dollars as Employees

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Kim December 9, 2013 at 6:52 am

Thanks Ree.

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Steve C December 6, 2013 at 11:08 am

Lots of good comments above, they covered what I was going to say too. I like that you are renting apartments with a kitchen. Although I’m a warm weather traveler, it’s nice to be in foreign places in the snow too. Your hitting the wall reminds me of arriving in Kathmandu and not hitting the streets for several days. You just need a time-out every once in awhile!

I think the Eurail Pass way of traveling is good for the short term travelers ( several months ), but not for you long term travelers who soon resent having to move on to the next place, just to keep on schedule to see as many places as possible with that pass.

Also, this month of travel through Europe, irregardless of the weather, is giving you a glimpse of costs, vs those of traveling in South East Asia. Now you have a taste of what it will be like when you return one day to do Europe in a much more leisurely way. Remember me Kim?, I’m the one who recommends strongly to see Europe while moving around and living in a camper van. Visualize yourselves in your own home, where ever you go. Also, visualize your bank account, and how it will stay fuller, longer! Just say’n……………..

One of the things I remember most of Berlin is the then “Worlds Largest” food store. It’s been too long for me to remember the name, but it’s right downtown, on one of the main streets, multi-storied, and Huge! They had one entire floor just selling meats. Exotic meats like bear, boar, deer, everything you could imagine. And, it’s not particularly a tourist thing.

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Kim December 8, 2013 at 12:49 am

We will definitely return to Europe one day and hopefully just live somewhere for a few months. And that would help the bank account immensely because it is crying right now!!

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Patti December 6, 2013 at 11:39 pm

It’s really hard to bundle up and head out to play tourist when knowing the minute you step out the door you’ll wish you could turn right around and go back to your jammies. We are giving thought to visiting Germany and Austria next winter and as excited as I am at the prospect, I am also keenly aware of what the weather will be like and that I’ll be tempted to stay inside in my jammies. But, then in my memories I remember how fabulous it was to be in Paris while it was snowing and I hope you’ll enjoy the same fabulousness in Berlin – when you’re ready. Stay warm and cozy!
Patti recently posted..See the U.S.A. – 2

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Kim December 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

We headed out into Berlin (in the snow) and it was icy cold but great. There is something so romantic about the snow! And we were at a Christmas market and the mulled wine kept us warm. You should definitely come to Germany and see the Christmas Markets!

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