My mom has always told me that “traveling expands your mind.” I understood what she meant by the saying: traveling leads to a better understanding of different cultures. No matter how many times she told me, I simply didn’t understand the depth of the saying until I began to travel. When you are given only a few weeks to see as much of Europe as you can, you pack a lot into your itinerary. Within five weekends, I traveled to six different cities. Planning one trip would include scouring Pinterest for the best sites to see, booking a hotel, buying train or bus tickets, and downloading the native language on our Google Translate app. One of my favorite trips was to Berlin.
We arrived early in Berlin and our Airbnb was not yet ready. We had scheduled a bike tour for most of the morning and afternoon. In every city, we would try to go on some type of tour to earn a better understanding of the area’s history. This bike tour was by far my favorite. Berlin has a deep history and American textbooks only skim the surface. We visited Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and The Berlin Wall. Not only was it informative, but it was interesting hearing the history from someone living in the city. It was a slightly different perspective than the American’s lens.
By the time the 4 hour tour was finished, our room was ready. One of the girls on the trip found our Airbnb and it was absolutely amazing. We were only staying two nights, but I wished we had more time. There was a balcony where we watched a parade of bikes ride past one of the nights. Lofted ceilings and white walls made it spacious enough for six people to sleep. By this point in the trip, we had spent enough time together to have well formed friendships. Berlin is known for being youthful. This city was full of tiny quarks that made it unique. From the spray paint murals to the green walking man on street lights, you are able to truly get lost in this city. That is perhaps one of my favorite parts of traveling. Aside from those venturing with you, there is complete anonymity. No one expects anything from you. You simply get to go on an adventure and leave your worries at home. Traveling leads to a sense of freedom that everyone needs. This trip has gone beyond words to describe it.