An Australian guy in our program messaged our group chat and frantically told us that RyanAir was giving away 2-pound tickets. Here at the University of Manchester, we were getting ready for our reading week, a week meant for, well, “reading” but really for us exchange students it’s our week to travel and have fun. As an American unsure of when I would ever come back to Europe, I had to take advantage of cheap European travel so when I heard 2 POUND TICKETS–I pounced on them. Myself and three Aussies (Australians) took the early flight to Hamburg and explored the city till the evening when we took the bus to Berlin late at night.
It was incredibly, it felt almost like being in Ithaca. The architecture was sharp and clean, there were also very few smiles. Not to appeal to stereotypes, but smiling seemed like a rarity in Berlin, but once you broke the ice with a German, they cracked a smile and warmed up. I found it quite refreshing, it felt more genuine.
I only spent one full day in Berlin, but I wish I had stayed longer–the city is rich with history. In Europe, it is becoming very popular to go on free tours, made possible by a company called Sandeman’s (founded by Yale a student by the way!). The premise of the business model is that there’s a tour guide who works as an independent freelancer and gives a group of tourists a show of the city. In the end, the tourists compensate the tour guide what they believe the tour was worth, whether that be 10, 20 or 60 euros, Sandeman’s then takes a commission from that. Tourists are also desired to provide some compensation because it is what makes up the tour guide’s bread and butter and is essentially their source of income. Our tour guide was a cheerful and incredibly well-informed Scottish woman who had recently moved to Berlin. For anyone visiting Berlin, I highly recommend a Sandeman’s tour of the city, it’s a great introduction to the city!
|Chocolate House in Berlin|