Europe Summer 2016 – Berlin Day 2

This post is written by Katie about her last morning in Berlin on the way to Hamburg (and then Copenhagen).

I awoke this morning at 5:30am to sun streaming in around the ‘black-out’ curtains.  Even with them completely closed, the sun still came around them.  I went back to sleep, but the construction site adjacent to our room began hammering at 7am.  I unsuccessfully tried to go back to sleep until 8:30am.

I was disappointed to find the the women’s bathroom on my floor was still not open this morning.  I continued to use the one on the 6th floor instead.  I packed up all my belongings and checked out around 9:20am.

Although the bed was comfortable and the cafe was a nice place to work on my laptop at night, I was pretty disappointed with my Generator Prenzlauer Berg stay.  There were many big issues as well as some smaller issues.  Big issues: (1) locker under bed was broken, (2) bathroom on my floor was closed for 75% of my stay, and (3) I don’t believe I was given a ‘deluxe’ room despite paying more for one. Smaller issues: (1) incompetent staff – they assigned someone to a bed after saying they wouldn’t, they stripped my bed and put my belongings on a public counter in the middle of my stay, (2) no clear signage about hostel amenities/offerings, (3) bathrooms only cleaned once a day, (4) shower heads had no brackets to hold them in 6th floor bathroom (or perhaps the brackets there were broken), (5) the toilets had very little room between one’s knees and the door, and (6) one of the showers heat-adjustment knobs was broken, so that the shower was always too warm.  Obviously I don’t expect everything to be perfect at a hostel – but at a large branded hostel, this is too large of a list.

I took the S-bahn to Berlin Sudkreuz and stored my backpacks in the smallest available locker.  This locker cost 3 for 24 hours, but I did not have correct change (since it only took 2, 1€, and 0.50€ coins) so I ended up feeding it 4.  I was somewhat surprised that I was able to fit both bags in the smallest locker.  The larger lockers were 5 for 24 hours.

After storing my bags I headed to Friedrichstrasse station.  I found a grocery store in this station, so I bought two rolls, a pretzel stick and milk for breakfast.  I was surprised to notice prices in this train-station store were significantly more expensive than they had been at the grocery stores out by the hostel.

I walked about 10 minutes to the Bradenberg Gate, where I joined the Sandemans New Berlin 11am free walking tour.  New Europe is a big company with official tickets to delineate who will go with which guides.  I ended up getting a Canadian girl who had been living in Berlin for just 1.5 years.  She had lots of energy though.

The Memorial for the Holocaust is pretty thought provoking.  Many in our group found walking through it overwhelming.

We walked for about 2.5 hours around the touristy sites in Berlin.  She had some really good points, but was also very much over the top at other points.  In general, I found the tour to be less informative than the bike tour we had done in 2013 – but I might be biased since this was my second ‘intro’ to the city.

We took an awkward break at a cafe, where we could use the restroom, buy food and drinks (which were all pretty over priced and the cafe was selling us hard), and of course sign up for other (paid) tours ran by the company.  We ended up staying at this stop for longer than expected, so the tour as a whole ended up lasting 3 hours.

It started raining during the second half of the tour, but it never rained too hard.  By the time the tour ended, the rain had also ended. All in all, I’m glad I went on the walking tour – but it certainly was not the best.  I did notice that people tended to be more generous at the end of the tour though – I’m not sure if this is (a) just this particular group of tourists, (b) a result of being a well-known walking tour, (c) our guide’s energy, or (d) some combination.  I wasn’t that impressed, but maybe that was just me.

Once the tour ended near Humboldt University, I made my way back to the Friedrichstrasse S-bahn station where I took the S2 back to Berlin Sudkreuz.

Leave a Reply