The Great European Adventure

On having a friend in Berlin

Normally, when I start blogging about a new place, I write a post of my first impressions. However, my first impressions upon arriving in Berlin were colored by the fact that I was meeting up with a friend I hadn’t seen in four years.

In my reflection on one month of travel I wrote about, among other things, feeling lonely traveling by myself and how seeing my friend Brittney was a welcome respite from solo travel. When I visited Berlin, I had a German-speaking local showing me around. She took me to her favorite restaurant, introduced me to her friends, and we spent hours walking around the city, good company keeping us warm despite the cold Fall weather.

When we visited the East Side Gallery, the famous stretch of the Berlin Wall, which was painted with murals and messages of peace and hope, we talked about Berlin and the powerful artwork before us, but we were also catching each other up on our lives. We talked about the awesome Parisian internship Brittney had just been offered and her recent romantic entanglements, my weeks traveling solo and the long term boyfriend (E; see previous blogpost) I’d left at home.

When we took a daytrip to Potsdam to see the gardens and palaces, we had a wonderful time sightseeing, and when our feet were weary from walking, we popped into a cafe and giggled over people from high school who we hadn’t thought about since graduation.

One of my nights in Berlin was spent on Brittney’s couch watching a German romantic comedy (Keinohrhasen, in English: Rabbit Without Ears) after eating a home-cooked meal. It was nice to grocery shop and spend time in a house after a month of hostels and eating out (and I love eating out).

I guess the point, and this seems to be one of the themes of this blog, is that travel is personal, and different places hold unique meanings for each of us. Berlin was about renewing an old friendship, and seeing a new city was just a perk. I enjoyed my time in Berlin, and over the next couple of weeks, I intend to write more about some of the specific places I went and the aspects of this capital city that made it stand out in my mind.

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.

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