Immediately after arriving at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, I went to the tourist information desk. I asked the guy behind the counter for a map, and he asked for 10 euro. When I asked him where to find a free WiFi hotspot, he replied, “Nothing is free in Germany.” Not a promising start.

I left the train station and walked through the ultramodern museum district until I reached the Brandenburg Gate. True to the man’s words, none of the German cafés had free WiFi. I was just about to give up and head on to Copenhagen when I spotted a Starbucks. Capitalism at its finest. I found a nearby hostel with reasonable prices, so I decided to spend a night or two in Berlin. I slept in the hostel’s “K-Studio”, along with 39 roommates.

The K-Studio
The K-Studio

Hungry, I decided to go for a walk in search of a supermarket. East Berlin is quite advanced, especially compared to how I imagined it. I always thought it was a gray wasteland, but in fact it is cleaner and more modern than West Berlin. I went back to the hostel, ate a few delicious tomato/least expensive meat/least expensive cheese sandwiches, and played pool for a couple hours.

Then I went out with a couple of Parisian girls and a guy from Missouri. We convinced the guy working at the hostel to tag along too, since he had just graduated third in his class. We took the subway to Kreuzberg and went into a bar. I was astonished to hear Flying Turns from The Minimal Wave Tapes playing.

After an hour or so, we ventured forth, briefly pausing in a convenience store where two other girls joined us. We then went to a club, but the doorman wouldn’t let me in. One of the girls who had joined us at the store suggested that I go back to her apartment to get her friend’s blazer so that I would look older (and thus get into the club).

After spending some time at the apartment, we went back to the club. Despite the blazer, the doorman still wouldn’t let me in. Instead, I ended up at another bar with the two girls and the friend whose blazer I was wearing. We discussed important topics such as nonetheless vs. nevertheless, post-punk, and hipsters. Afterwards, I enjoyed some late night kebab and took a taxi back to the hostel.

I didn’t explore Berlin as much as I had intended, but I had a good time nevertheless. Later the next day I took the train to Copenhagen.