Waking up in Germany is a real treat!  On my first morning in Berlin, I was greeted with a basket of fresh bread – not the kind of bread you would find in Australia, but the dense, grainy brötchen (or bread rolls), some covered in seeds, others twisted into an elegant braid.  Whatever the variety of bread, it is always fresh from the bakery each morning and it is accompanied with a huge selection of delicious cheeses, from gorgonzola and brie, to harder cheeses, such as gouda.  Not only this, it is common to find cheese-filled peppers, avocado and fresh cherry tomatoes, alongside several different berry jams.  Washed down with a freshly brewed coffee or tea, breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day here.

Brötchen (bread rolls) for breakfast.  Photography: pixabay.com

I have spent the last week in both Berlin and Hamburg, visiting friends.  It takes about three hours to drive between  the cities on the autobahn.  You could most probably do this much faster if you take advantage of the lack of speed limit and race down the motorway at 160 km an hour, or more, which most cars seem to do.  I was happy to maintain a slower pace, so that I could spot deer in the green fields and admire the huge wind turbines that seemed to stretch on for ages.

Photo taken in Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg

Of course, driving in Germany is a little different to Australia.  Not only do you drive on the opposite side of the road, you also sit on the opposite side of the car and the gear stick, windscreen wipers and lights are all opposite too.  I think it will take some getting used to!  And if that wasn’t enough, the day light hours in Summer really mess with your body clock.  On top of some severe jet lag, it just didn’t feel right going to bed when it was still light.  At the moment, the sun rises around 4am and it doesn’t get properly dark until 11pm at night.  So, of course, this means people stay up later, shops are open longer and I am feeling a lot more tired from excessive sight seeing and lack of sleep!

My first day in Berlin was spent exploring a palace near where we were staying, in Köpenick.  Originally built in 1558 as a hunting palace, the palace has had numerous rulers since, before its conversion into a decorative arts museum in1963. I had a small thrill as we walked over the moat and into the open grounds and garden of this beautiful building, situated right next to the river Dahme.   We admired this baroque water palace and all the marvels inside, including oriental cabinets and furniture, wall hangings, a large silver buffet collection (which has only ever been used to show off the wealth of the palace) and wonderful, elaborate ceilings covered in paintings and relief sculpture.   Aside from being watched at all times by the eagle eyes of the museum attendants, it was a very pleasant visit and a wonderful welcome to the city.

Schloss Köpenick, Berlin

The next day, we took a trip to the Bürgeramt to register our address, something we do not have to do in Australia.  The Bürgeramt opened its doors promptly at 11am, to greet a huge queue of people.  Despite the late opening hours, the German people lived up to their reputation for punctuality.  No sooner had the second hand reached the hour, the door swung open and a kind German woman welcomed us in.  We were given an appointment for later in the day.  After filling out German paperwork, we were given a piece of paper with a stamp to say that yes, we lived in this address in Berlin. Whilst it seemed a bit of a waste of time, I felt very proud to walk away with that piece of A4 paper, which proved that I now lived in Berlin.

A day later, I was in a car, roaring up the autobahn, bound for Hamburg!  I had never been to Hamburg before and was thrilled at the prospect of exploring a new city.  We started driving at 8pm and reached Hamburg just on dark, at 11pm.  After a few days in this wonderful city of water, I am in love with the place.  It has a magnificent harbour and is said to have more bridges than Venice!  Thousands of boats can be seen everywhere you look, from tiny sailing vessels through to immensely large cruise ships.  We caught a ferry from the Landesbrücke and stood on the top deck, the wind and rain drops blasting our faces.

The Harbour, Hamburg

I have been lucky enough to meet some wonderful friends who have been taking us sightseeing throughout the city, from climbing St. Michael’s Church for the impressive city views, to sailing on the Außenalster, a large lake full of sailing boats that dance in the wind.  We have enjoyed plenty of German beer, eaten ice creams whilst walking around the lake and even watched the football match between Germany and Italy. With my limited German, I have managed a good number of embarrassing mistakes, but largely stand amongst the group like a stunned mullet, trying to grasp onto any word I can and then nodding and laughing whenever everyone else does!  Thankfully, they all know some English too!

Town Hall, Hamburg
View of Hamburg from the top of St. Michael’s Church

Back in Berlin, we strolled down the Unter Den Linden, through the magnificent Brandenburg Gate and around the Tiergarten, a large, green park that stretches on for miles.  We passed through the Russian War Memorial and admired the Reichstag (German Parliament) from afar.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Reichstag, Berlin

I won’t say much more now, only that it will be hard to decide on whether to base ourselves in Berlin or Hamburg.  They are both beautiful in their own ways.  Lets see what the next few weeks bring.  There are lots of adventures to come!

What are some of your favourite places in Germany?  Any recommendations?

14 thoughts

  1. Sounds so different to Australia Jenny. Those hours you described sound ideal for sight seeing but it would definitely leave you feeling exhausted. But enjoy. Those breakfasts look delicious!

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  2. Hi Jenny,
    Really enjoyed reading this post! The bakery variety here in Poland is staggering too. Especially for someone from Nepal like me, I am always amused at the variety of bakery here. The photo you posted of the buns are found here too 🙂 I have only been to Hamburg for a proper sightseeing trip in Germany, and I remember liking it. It felt like a very livable city. I am debating whether I should go to Berlin some weekend in summer or autumn but my boyfriend keeps telling me there’s not much to see. I have been to so many big European cities that it has started to feel a bit boring now, and I prefer going to places around the nature or countryside/small towns. Where I’ve been wanting to go for a while in Germany is Dresden and a national park called Saxon Switzerland which is a short drive from Dresden on the Czech-German border.
    Pooja @lostinprettyeurope

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading. Sounds like you are having quite an adventure too. I think Berlin is definitely worth seeing, particularly for the history and museums. Also, the weather here has been beautiful and there are loads of green parks! I love it! You should definitely try for a visit! I also like exploring the countryside. However, as it’s only my first week here, I’m really enjoying the city sightseeing too 🙂

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  3. Wonderful descriptions! We feel like we are there with you, though we are relieved not to have to handle a new language nor drive on the other side of the road! Have a wonderful time settling into your new home xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know how you feel about driving in Europe, I felt the same when I started driving in Australia. It’s been two years and I still often go for the screen-wipers instead of the indicators… Have fun x

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