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Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

I’m in Berlin now after a sort of stressful night of travel.

Yesterday, unfortunately, Paris was a washout as I had sort of predicted. Heavy rain the entire day. Brianne and I still wanted to take advantage of our short time in the city though, especially considering the trouble we went through to get there (what with the hitchhiking, and all). We made a list of cheap places to visit, and in the process of compiling said list, I came across several internet posts about the Polidor restaurant. Upon further research and seeing remarks that Hemingway used to frequent the restaurant, I realized it was the same restaurant featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (which is a great movie, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet).

That made it a definite must-see in my book, and so we headed off by bus to the 150+ year old restaurant. We arrived, at it looked just as charming as I had hoped. Both Brianne and I ordered the beef bourguignon with mashed potatoes for just 11 euro. The price wasn’t bad considering it was Paris and the food was absolutely delicious. Perhaps that was simply due to the fact that it was probably 50% butter, but whatever. When in Paris, right? The weather didn’t bother me much at this point, and actually made it feel even more like I was the protagonist of Midnight in Paris, for those who know what I’m talking about.

The rest of the day was kind of a bust. We walked in the pouring rain for about half an hour looking for a seemingly nonexistent bus. We finally decided to take the metro (which we had to walk back to, through some more rain) to a cafe Brianne really wanted to visit. It was closed. So we took the metro to Pigalle, near the Sacre Coeur. Pretty much everything was closed. We walked around aimlessly in the rain for a while longer before I finally got a delicious peach tart and we decided to read at a McDonald’s for an hour or so. Although that may sound like a pretty sad ending to our day, it was actually really nice because the McDonald’s in Europe are really luxurious compared to those in the states, and they have free WiFi standard throughout France. I cozied up to a steamed milk and finished up The Metamorphosis, a book I’m reading for the literature class I’ll be teaching this summer when I get back.

When we finally headed to the train station, there was a huge mix up with our tickets, but luckily the guy working at the counter was kind enough to get us on a train that would meet our original second train for free. Except it was leaving exactly 2 minutes from the time he handed us our tickets. So we sprinted, I with my 30+ lb pack, and Brianne with her slightly smaller bag. At one point I honestly thought I would have to stop running and just let Brianne go on without me, it was that bad. But we made it.

We transferred at Metz, France, and ended up having a longer layover than expected, further prolonged because of a train delay. We had time to sit outside, dry our feet, and take some pictures.

The train ride to Berlin was fairly uneventful itself. We were in a box with a Berliner who helped us out with what stop we should get off at, etc.

We had a cheap German breakfast at a cafe, which felt even cheaper because we had just come from one of the most expensive cities in the world. 2.90! For a super filling breakfast of bread, cheese, an egg, butter, jam, and meats.

We met up with Cyrus (!!!!!) at the metro and got to his beautiful apartment. We took a break for a while before heading out to eat our first kebab (absolutely worth the wait, and only 3 euro) and to take a tour of the city with our wonderful tour guide Cymo. I forgot to mention that the weather here in Berlin was 85+ F all day, and pretty humid too. We trekked all around the city the entire day, seeing all the must-see monuments (Berlin wall, etc.), as well as some of Cyrus’s recommended and favorite places (Turkish market, Soviet memorial). We ended the day by cooking a breakfast-for-dinner at Cyrus’s apartment and decided to stay in for the night since none of us got much sleep last night.

Tomorrow, we explore Berlin further, going to a thrifting happy hour (Brianne’s cup-o-tea) and a beer hall.


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