I’m currently at my hotel in Barcelona and have finally decided to recap the first 12 days of my trip. I spent the first four days in London and then headed to Berlin which I completely disliked on the first day. I read this article that noted the most hipster cities and neighborhoods in the world and Kreuzberg Berlin was one of them. Naturally, I decided to stay near that area. But when I say “hipster” I really mean hipster. Like, graffiti, grunge incessant techno status with an overwhelming amount of men with steam-punk beards everywhere, not a girl in site. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. But honestly, what is up with the nightlife?! I think it may be similar throughout most European countries…You can hotbox clubs with tobacco smoke and the music literally does not change. It’s one beat the whole time. I love house and techno: Tiesto, Kaskade, Kygo and the like but I need some words or some sort of beat change. There was literally none. My friend and I tried to get into Berghain on a Friday night (lol) but were turned away. We were previously told by our friends that we should try to get in at around 6 am on a Sunday, but we were confident that with our leather jackets and dgaf attitudes, we’d get in. We noticed they only let in people that looked like they were on drugs or about to do drugs: no makeup (unless it was fluorescent purple lipstick), shabby clothes and totally spaced out. Apparently, the club has an official drug dealer inside. It started as a don’t ask don’t tell kind of club and I presume that mentality still stands. I don’t understand why it’s one of the best in the world. I’m extremely glad we didn’t get in; it sounds frightening. My mom is probably freaking out while reading this…oops, sorry mom!
top, sweater, culottes-asos
bralette-For Love & Lemons
jeans-7 for all mankind
The next day, I headed to the touristy area and fell in love: Charlottenburg Palace, Reichstag Building, Berlin Cathedral, etc. It became apparent that Berlin isn’t really a city—it’s a city-state. It’s huge. I wish I could’ve spent more time there and if I could speak German, I’d want to spend a summer there. I absolutely fell in love. The architecture has a Russian vibe, which I think is way more striking and beautiful than say, The Buckingham Palace (sorry Queen Lizzy) which makes me so excited for St. Petersburg later this month.
Clothing wise, I packed a bunch of basics, some accessories, and jewelry. I’m traveling with two half filled suitcases to make it easier on my injured wrist. I haven’t had any trouble so far and since I packed basics, I’ve been dressing super “European.” (I fit in…sort of…yay!) My poor Adidas Superstars have taken a beating.
Surprisingly, Berlin had a strong Turkish presence which really helped my culture shock when arriving to Istanbul. I had already been exposed to the culture a bit. I don’t really understand the connection between Germany and Turkey but I noticed a few passengers with both passports. We spent 4 nights in Istanbul and upon reading more about the country, I had gotten pretty nervous before my trip. I read about Somali freedom fighters that head to Syria through Turkey and basically, I didn’t want to board my flight. I was told mixed things about Istanbul “stay away from the new area” or “stay away from the old area” and I was super confused. We stayed in the old area, which is a world apart from the new area. A bridge separates them and it basically takes you about an hour to travel to and from which makes me wonder why they don’t just call them two separate cities. The old area is definitely what I expected Istanbul to look like: lots of mosques (literally thousands), call to prayer, markets, broken roads, etc. The new area had all the restaurants, nightclubs and Western malls in addition to some mosques. We came for the cultural experience so I’m glad we stayed in Sultanahmet. I fell in love by day two. The Grand Bazaar is basically like a mall. I was expecting stands and thousands of people. The Spice Market was more crowded but both had store fronts, glass cases displaying jewelry and even credit card machines. I bought more jewelry than I care to admit but I definitely mastered the art of haggling. This experience has made me want to go to India because now I know I can handle staying in a developing country (and no, I didn’t stay at a 5 star resort). And in India, I can also speak the language, which was a limiting factor in Istanbul.
When visiting the Blue Mosque, I wore ripped jeans and was given a sheet to cover up. It was a bit underwhelming, the architecture was beautiful but since visitors aren’t allowed to enter during prayer time, there wasn’t much to see.
scarf-Grand Bazaar Istanbul
(The Blue Mosque)
I’m so sick of kebabs at the moment but Turkish delight is one of my new favorite things. They made it fresh here so it’s naturally a bit sweet instead of being dowsed with sugar.
Berlin and Istanbul are two cities I’d definitely visit again. Amsterdam is the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited but these two are a close second and third.