I’m so exhausted, but I wanted to upload my photos from my week in Berlin & Budapest. Both cities were definitely worth visiting. Berlin was über cheap, but rather sad because of its history (both WWII and the Cold War). Budapest’s architecture was beautiful, but it felt a bit too foreign to me since I know about five words of Hungarian.
In Berlin, I stayed at Helter Skelter hostel, which was fine except for the annoying boys who snored all night making it impossible for me to sleep. I went to the Käthe Kollwitz museum and then did a 4 hour walking tour of East Berlin, which included Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, Memorial to the Victims of War & Tyranny (sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz), Bebelplatz (site of book burnings during WWII), the French Huguenot Protestant church & Catholic church built directly across from each other, Checkpoint Charlie (so so fake!) & small section of the Berlin Wall, the SS headquarters (which is now just a flat lot), the site of Hitler’s bunker (which is no longer there), the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (how ironic and sad is it that the company who painted the blocks with anti-grafitti paint is the same company that made Zyklon B for the gas chambers???), the Brandenburg Gate & the Reichstag. On the second day, I went to the Pergamon Museum and saw the Gate of Ishtar. Then I headed up to Bernauer Straße, where there’s another section of the Wall that is still standing. Then it was over to Charlottenburg Palace and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
In Budapest, I stayed at Aventura Hostel which is the best hostel I have ever been to. It didn’t feel like a hostel, but rather like I was staying at a friend’s place. I highly recommend it if you ever go to Budapest. The first day, I wandered around the Buda side of the Danube (a UNESCO World Heritage site) where there are a lot of castles, museums and the palace. The next day I stayed in the city center and saw St. Stephen’s Basilica (as well as his mummified hand – so bizarre), the Great Synagogue (Europe’s largest synagogue – of course the largest in the world is in New York), the Opera House, and the Hungarian National Museum (which had very few translations in English…). My final day was spent at Hero’s Square and the Szechenyi thermal baths, followed by a walk around Margit Island.
I managed to not go over my budget at all and even came home with 20 forint (which is not even 8 euro cents, but still!) Now it’s back to worrying about finding a job and not going broke this summer…