It has certainly been a while since I have had a chance to sit down and write an inspirational travel blog I adore, but to be honest for a long while, my inspiration seemed to have escaped me. So while I have been running around Vegas working at some crazy new gay nightclub by weekends, and being a flight attendant weekdays, it has not left myself a lot of time to travel personally, and accomplish all those elaborate goals I set forth for 2017.
The way I see it there are two types of people out there who make New Year resolutions every year. The eager, upbeat perfectionist who needs to start immediately on the first of January, and the other that realizes as long as it happens at some point in the new year, all is good. Being the total TYPE-A, OCD Virgo that I am, I have always been the first type of person. But this being that I took a months break from flying, firmly planted myself on the ground, and tried to live without travel, it left it hard to accomplish the one simple new years resolution I had to accomplish: to visit Berlin more.
Now I know the majority of you are probably questioning how I even came up with this insane resolution, and I want to take just a few moments of your time to answer this; and hopefully convince you to visit Berlin as well. You see, my final summer of college I aimed to do what most young, eager college students want to do, and I planned a backpacking tour through Europe. I left my itinerary loose and vague (perhaps this is where my travel itineraries stem from), for if I really enjoyed a city I could adjust my schedule to stay there longer, and conversely if I was bored in a city I could leave faster. I planned on visiting all the famous sights I had seen on an Art History trip once in high school such as Rome, Florence, Milan, and Paris, and wanted to add some new countries to the list as well including the United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany.
It is a funny story how I actually ended up in Berlin. My days in Paris were coming to a limited number, and I was nearing the beginning of the end of my trip and running out of money. At the time it took about $1.60 to make a Euro, and about $1.80 to make the pound. Knowing that England was last and needed the most amount of money saved for it, I knew it was time to start conserving cash where I could.
I remember it was a beautiful Parisian summer day and I walked into Gare du Nord and asked the train attendant for a ticket. She asked me the most standard question ever ‘to where?’ And for the first time in my life I did not actually know where. I knew I wanted to visit Germany since I had never been, but I could not narrow down a city. I asked her if she could look up train ticket prices for Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt and just give me the cheapest ticket. The young train attendant responded to me, “Do you have any preference where out of all of those cities?” I responded to her honestly and told her that I didn’t know anything about any of them, and in trying to save money I would go where ever.
I guess now that I look back at it, it was probably faith that out of all the train attendants I could have gotten to help me, I got her. And if you know anything about the French, you would know that they are not an extremely helpful group, especially when you do not speak French. She responded to me that the Berlin ticket was a bit more money but she would give it to me for the price of the others and she urged me to pick Berlin. She said I would have the best time there. So without WiFi, Internet, or cell-phone service (yes, that’s how we traveled back then!), I listened to the train attendant and happily made my way to Berlin.
The overnight train over to Berlin had WiFi so I hastily looked for a cute Airbnb place to stay in for a week. After typing into Google best neighborhoods to stay in Berlin multiple times, I discovered that Friedrichshain was the place for me. I found a lovely flat not far from a Kaiser supermarket, which happened to be only a 10 minute walk from the S & U Bahn stations. And little did I know it yet, just a fifteen minute walk from Berghain.
Once I was in my flat I popped on random social networking apps to see if there were any other travelers traveling alone who wanted to meet up for drinks and check out the gay bar scene together. Since I had never been to Berlin before, or even really researched it, I was in for a shock when I discovered the nightlife and party scene the city so proudly boasted. I almost instantly made friends with a boy from California who agreed to meet up with me for a drink to make sure we were both real and not total weirdos, in which we both later realized we were normal young boys from the States traveling alone looking to go out and explore together. We decided to make plans to go out to some bars that night, and scope Berlin out.
That night we had met up at some bar which for a weekday was not half-bad, and we got to talking to locals and asking where the real party was located. One boy directed us to another bar in which we decided to check out. On the way we stopped outside a Deli and asked a group of boys for some help locating the bar, in which they stopped what they were doing, laughed, and eventually helped us.
The next night my friend from California and I met up at the time we agreed upon the night before at a bar someone had told us about. As I walked into the bar I saw my friend from California talking to a young cute boy, who looked vaguely familiar but I could not seem to place him at all. I went to say hello to my friend and the boy with him said do you remember me? I laughed awkwardly and said event though I still thought he looked familiar. The boy responded, “I am the boy who was sitting outside the deli last night you asked for directions to that bar too.” Of course I blushed as I had thought the boy was handsome the night before, and felt as if this was a second chance to be reunited with him. We all got to chatting about how my Californian friend wanted to go to what was then voted as the best nightclub in the world Berghain. I had never heard of the place granted- I was only 20 and from NYC, but the description he painted made it sound like the coolest place on earth.
It opens on Saturday and closes Monday afternoon. All they play is minimalist house techno music. It’s the best nightclub in the world! The door policy is so strict not everyone gets in. It is actually even a gay club.
All the hype that was built about Berghain made me extremely curious, and I knew that I could not leave berlin without trying to get in. Our new-found friend, who happened to be French but living in Berlin, said he knew a friend that spoke German and could get us all in, without even waiting in the line. To our surprise much later that night, we were all let into the Berghain for an experience none of us could have ever even dreamed of. I can not tell you how long we stayed, or when the night became the day only to become the night again occurred, but I can tell you that I had an experience like no other. The memories I made not only in Berghain, but Berlin those weeks have left a lasting impression on me to this day.
So it was this year that I decided that I was finally going to start using my flight attendant career for what I intended it for; to make myself happy by traveling to all of my favorite cities in the world. And while Berlin has remained close to my heart for so long, I hardly ever return back to re-create such an infamous experience that left a lifelong impression.
And as I sit here in-flight on my way to Berlin, I am ever so happy with my choice of a New Years resolution and making it come true. After all, I think I learned from Reading Rainbow when I was a child that, “all work and no play makes, Jack, a very unhappy boy.”
Until next time wanderlusters, XoXo.