Cat Sitting in Berlin
I realized the blog posts have slowed down in the past few weeks, but so has our pace of traveling. Running around every day taking in the sights is amazing but also exhausting. Luckily we’ve had ten days in Berlin to really take our time exploring the city with a cozy apartment as our base, free of charge. Yes, free!
Our situation kind of fell into place by luck. A few months before our trip I signed up on a website called trustedhousesitters.com. The idea is pretty cool and useful: a homeowner posts a few photos and the dates they need their pet watched, and in return the chosen housesitter gets a free place to stay. Randomly, I saw a house-sit in Berlin before we booked a place — and that’s how we ended up hanging out with Shuffles the cat for over a week in the capital of Germany.
Berlin is everything I thought it would be — vibrant, gritty, historical, artsy. However, I didn’t quite expect such a large city to feel so neighborly and welcoming. It probably has something to do with how the city is grouped into specific neighborhoods or “Bergs.” We’ve been in Prenzlauer Berg, where there are more strollers than people, adorable parks, and patios speckled across the streets where you can linger with a drink.
On our first night here, we found something we’d been looking for since we left — a decent Mexican restaurant. Maria Bonita is actually more than decent. Corey even conceded it was one of the best burritos he’d ever had. We sat next to a couple on the long outdoor benches who were from the U.S. and Ireland. They pointed out a map the people before us had left. A cute design of Prenzlauer Berg with all the best spots marked, including a dotted lines that marked the best walks.
Since then, the map has been poured over and crumpled in my pocket more times than I can count. Of course, we’ve seen a lot of the big, historical sites that you must see when you come to Berlin, but there’s something nice about getting to know a few streets really well.
Sunday was my favorite day in Berlin. This is when the Mauer Park transforms into what feels like a mini-festival. On the edges of the park are a few corner stores where park goers grab some drink bottles (which the cashiers are happy to pop for open consumption). Spend a few euros here, then follow the path of people into the park. They'll lead you through the throngs of white tents selling everything from hand-carved cigar boxes to distressed Barbour jackets.
The highlight of Sundays in the park though is found in the amphitheater, which puts on an a weekly outdoor karaoke concert. The DJs select someone from the crowd (usually a pretty girl) to come down and belt it out. I told Corey that my talents would forever stay locked in the late-night karaoke at New York Deli in Richmond, but it was pure fun to watch.
The youthful vibe of Berlin is irresistible, but we also took time to see some of sights from a not-long-gone history. Checkpoint Charlie is overrun with tourists, but still a must-see. My favorite thing though was the reconstructed Brandenburg Gate at night.
See a few of our other favorite pictures from this trip:
Tomorrow we fly out to Edinburgh for a few days and then we have another house sit! We were lucky enough to find a two-week dog sit in Inverness. For those of you unfamiliar, Inverness is a historical place in the Scottish Highlands (and also the setting for Outlander). So stay tuned for updates on Scotland.
Also, for those of you who might be interested in checking out Trusted House-sitters, you can get a discount with the link below!