Berlin is undeniably cool. It’s a city exploding with culture and subculture after a century of divisive politics that changed the world. It’s modern yet gritty, full of change-makers and fun to explore. I spent a weekend there in October, my second time to the German capital.
Each time I travel, I try to minimize my budget, my impact, and my stress so I can better enjoy myself. Traveling is amazing, but it’s not without its challenges. In my journey to live simply, I’m trying to travel simply as well. Here are my takes on traveling simply in Berlin, saving you money and adding to your time.
Traveling Simply: For the Budget
The large Turkish population in Berlin brought with it a delicious food tradition. The city is filled with great spots to enjoy falafel and halloumi. In fact, if you do a quick search for ‘cheap eats in Berlin’ (an important pre-departure step for any trip), the lists are limited in German options and packed with tasty, budget-friendly Turkish ones. Search for the lists, or just keep an eye out for a Turkish restaurant with a line and join in.
After watching the devastating news about the attacks in Paris on Friday night and later learning about the attacks in Beirut on Thursday, it was quite a solemn weekend in our household. It’s hard to understand how such cruelty can be played out amongst innocent people. To better understand, I turn to a wide range of media sources to grasp the factors that took us to this point in history. It’s never simple. It’s layers of historical shifts, political plays, media overlays weaved together. My combination of CBC, Al Jazeera (including a new favourite AJ+), Twitter, Wikipedia and other articles, infographics and commentary that pop into my news, searches and social media feeds never provide a perfectly clear picture, but it does deepen my understanding of the situation. It deepens my empathy to the victims and affected communities. It deepens my compassion for those fleeing fear and my support for those fighting for peace and justice on all sides.
With this dark veil over the weekend, it made for a very interesting time to visit Budapest’s Memento Park. The Park was developed as a holding place for the statues and plaques of the Communist era. When Hungary peacefully became a democratic country with parliamentary elections in 1990, there was much debate as to the fate of the statues. Though destruction was suggested, the Budapest city council resolved to create a themed statue park. The architect Ákos Eleőd described the park as such: