After a long travel day yesterday I crashed in bed at 8:30 last night after being up for almost 24 hours.

By 5am I was up but didn’t want to get out of bed quite yet as there was really nowhere to go as there’s no common room in this hostel.

So, I lay in the darkness in my bed trying to fall asleep again but to no avail.

Finally at 7am I got out of bed.   Sorry dorm mates for the noise but I ain’t gonna spend my first real day of this trip in bed.


At quarter to eight I headed into the brisk 4C breezy morning dreading that I didn’t pack my touque (beenie for you non-Canadians) and gloves.

The streets were pretty much deserted except for the odd person here and there heading to work.

It’s at moments like these where I appreciate my situation.   They’re all going to work and I’m out here literally living the dream.

For me, traveling just opens myself up.   I walk around the city, I talk to people, I eat out all the time and I just don’t worry about what costs what.

In a nutshell, I’m free when I’m traveling.   I feel free.

For breakfast I walked about 20 minutes to the waterfront to Zimt & Zucker.   The restaurant was one of many restaurants I have marked on my maps that serve gluten free options.

I had a plate of bacon and eggs with salad a gluten free toast.   Along with a glass of OJ and a Café Latte, the bill was about €24 ($36).   Yup, this is gonna be a pricy trip.   We’ve come along way from $13 lobster dinners in Cuba.

The food came quick and, honestly, when you’re sitting by yourself, you eat your meal pretty quick too.   I was in and out of the café in a half hour.

It was 8:30 and I had some time before my walking tour started later in the morning.

Time to go on a mission…

Searching for a hat

Despite having a trio of perfectly good touques at home and a couple of pairs of gloves that I literally just bought last week, I was out on a mission to buy them again.

I looked up “Berlin Malls” on Google and wouldn’t you know, there is actually a place here in town called the Berlin Mall.   Ingenious marketing if you ask me.

Anyway, I hopped on the subway for the first time here in Berlin and, after a failed attempt to buy a short time ticket for €1.90 on my phone, I just hopped on the train without one.

I mean, I was only going 3 stops, surely there’d be no ticket inspector…

Yeah, there was.

After the second of my three stops I looked to my left and there was a lady going from person to person checking their tickets.

My heart raced.

Oh my God, how far is this next stop?

Please, can we get there already so I can get out of the precarious situation.

I promise for all that is good and holy that I will never fare evade again.

I promise.

I casually moved down the car a little so there’d be more people to check in between where the inspector was and where I was and eventually that lovely beeping sound of the doors opening was ringing in my ears like heavenly music from above.

As I scooted out the car and up the escalator my heart was pumping a mile a minute.   I was filled with so much adrenalin, it was crazy.

Anyway, I got to the mall as they were just opening up and I quickly realized that the items I was looking for weren’t gonna be cheap as the stores in the mall were your typical high end clothing stores.

I don’t know why I thought it would be anything else.   I mean, it’s a mall in a metropolitan city.   Of course it’s gonna cost a bunch of money.

And then I did what I should have done in the first place…

I Googled “cheap clothes in Berlin” and Germany’s answer to a dollar store – the Euroshop – came up as a result.

Of course!

That should have been my go-to right from the start!

Of course the closest Euroshop was another 15 minute walk and it also was taking me in the opposite direction away from the start point of the walking tour I would be joining a bit later.

No worries, though.   I had time and a little walk never killed anyone.

I got to the store and sadly all they had for gloves were garden gloves.   Honestly though, I didn’t even feel like I absolutely needed gloves.   I really just wanted something to protect my poor little bald head.

I searched high and low in the shop but couldn’t find any touques/beenies so I grabbed the next best thing – a ballcap.

And the price?

Only €1.50 ($2.25)!

For a ballcap!

So, mission kinda accomplished, sorta, kinda.

Whatever.   I got a walking tour to get to…

More searching

I walked another 20 minutes to where the tour was starting near the Brandenburg Gate in the tourist epicenter of the city.

By this time I really needed to pee and I was searching for any kind of sign of a W/C or toilet or whatever colloquial name they give a bathroom here in Germany.

No McDonalds.   No Starbucks.   No €1 public toilet.   Nothing.

And then, as I turned to corner to where the tour started, I noticed a hotel across the street.

Yup, this’ll do.

I just walked in looking like I belonged there passing the fancy doorman in his tophat along the way.   From experience, I know most hotels have a public bathroom one floor below the main floor so I just headed towards the staircase and, sure enough, an opulent bathroom awaited me.

Later I came to find out that the hotel I entered, the Hotel Avlon, is the most luxurious hotel here in the city catering to everyone to politicians to celebrities.

Remember that video from years ago of Michael Jackson dangling his infant son out the window?

Yeah, that was the hotel he was staying at.

The presidential suite there goes for €25,000 a night and their breakfast goes for a measly €189.

Haha, but their bathroom?   Free!


Okay, after the bathroom shenanigans, I crossed the street to the man with the red umbrella.

My tour guide today was Rodrigo and, if you’re observant, you’d notice that his name ain’t that German.

He’s from Chile.

I quickly found out thought that, despite not being German, it didn’t mean that he wasn’t fully qualified to lead this tour.

He’s been living here for that last 4 years and has actually traveled to 72 countries.

Damn, gotta get out there and catch up!   I’m only at 58!

As a side note, as I was waiting around for the tour to start, I looked to my right and there was a souvenir shop selling toques and gloves on racks outside on the sidewalk.

Anyway, on to the tour…

Now, to say I learned some stuff today would be a huge understatement.

This is Berlin after all and, I don’t know if you heard, but there was some pretty major stuff going down in the city and the country last century.

Ya know – a couple wars, the Third Reich, Nazis, Concentration camps, and a brick wall dividing the city to name a few.

So, yeah, there was alot of note taking for me on this 2 hour tour.

In fact, there was so much to write about, I’m going to be splitting this blog into two parts.

Stay tuned for part two about the walking tour early tomorrow.


After the tour I popped over to another restaurant, Distrikt, I had marked on my map that served gluten free sandwiches.

This time I paid for my subway ticket online and saved myself from another adrenalin rush.

I opted for an Acai smoothie and a smoked salmon with fried egg sandwich.


After I finished my sandwich, I noticed someone next to me eating a brownie and asked if they had any gluten free desserts and it turns out that brownie was gluten free so, yeah, I had one of those too.

Of course it was another €24 ($36) out of my pocket but, whatever, I’ve accepted that this trip isn’t going to be cheap.

I’m also not the kind of traveler who will skirt the problem by buying groceries and cooking in the hostel kitchen.

For me, a big part of traveling is going out to restaurants and trying new foods.

So, money be damned, this boy is gonna eat well over the next 3 weeks…


Speaking of eating well…

After hanging out back in the hostel for a few hours, I headed back out to a restaurant a half block away from my hostel.

It was yet another one I had marked on my map but, this time, I was going to have some genuine German fare.

No sushi for dinner tonight!

Nope, I was having schnitzel!

The restaurant, unironically called Schnitzelei, has the option to have your schnitzel dishes coated in cornmeal instead of the traditional breadcrumbs.

Their online menu that you can with a QR code also allows you to click on menu items to see the allergens.

There were half a dozen different schnitzels on the menu so I just asked my server to order me the most traditional one.

Not long after, as I was sipping on my glass of German Riesling, a huge dinner plate was placed in front of me.

Now we’re talking!

My first “official” German meal!

Along with a piece of schnitzel that took up over half of the plate, there was a little bowl of dressed cucumbers, some cranberry sauce, a helping of potato salad, and some fried potatoes.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be here a couple more times as there’s also a Chicken Cordon Bleu I can have as well as a selection of different tapas you can make into a meal.

Oh, dinner was €45 ($67) but, ya know, money, money, money.

I’m not listening.   I’m not listening!

By 9pm I was back at the hostel and in for the night.

Tomorrow I’m going out exploring some other parts of the city I didn’t see today.   It should be alot of walking, but I’m ready for it…

Germany Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Berlin, Germany
Germany 2024
Photo Gallery
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *