During lockdown, with the prospect of travel seeming further away than ever before, a lot of us will be feeling an extra strong sense of wanderlust and nostalgia for our past trips and adventures. G You is happy to present a series of travel writings reminiscing on our community’s favourite and most meaningful trips to remind ourselves of the joys and growth travel can bring. Our next ‘Trip To The Past’ is ‘A Love Letter to Berlin’, by Grace Richardson.
As the weeks pass by in lockdown, I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic for past experiences. There is a sense of longing for the things we are unlikely to experience for a while, and the things we often took for granted. One of the sources of this overwhelming nostalgia is my trip to Berlin in June 2018.
First year of university came to an end, and we decided what better way to celebrate than to take a trip to Berlin. After missing out on the buzz of sixth year holidays for a number of reasons, including personal anxieties, I was so excited to be going away with my new university friends. So, we packed our bags, boarded our EasyJet flight (not without a few bumps on the road, namely forgotten passwords and a few tears) and got on our way. Little did I know how this trip was going to change things; it was going to give me a new lease for life and solidify lifelong friendships.
As we stepped off the plane, I felt the warm, foreign air blow away all my previous anxieties over the trip as I could already tell it was going to be legendary. Enthused by the few gins consumed on the plane, I could not wait to see what this city would offer us.
After being catfished by our Air BnB host and shown our apartment that resembled a torture chamber with chains on the wall and who knows what else, it was now the time for the most crucial part of any trip: the foreign supermarket adventure.
There truly is nothing better than exploring a foreign supermarket for different crisp flavours or Haribos we don’t have back home. So, we located our nearest supermarket and went to stock up on the ‘essentials’ for our Air BnB. What was meant to be a trip for bread and milk ended in a hysteria over the prices of alcohol. We definitely lived up to the stereotype of mad Scots as we screamed down the aisles about the one euro wine or the cocktails that are buy one get one free (we have minimum unit pricing, so let us off).
On our first night we took a slightly tipsy midnight trip to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. This was another thing that amazed us Glaswegians, you can pretty much catch a tram at any time of day (Scotrail, take notes). As we walked down the street with the Brandenburg Gate slowly becoming more in focus within a background of a beautiful sunset, I took a moment to look around, feeling very lucky to be surrounded by this amazing city and my amazing friends. You know those moments in coming of age films where the character feels like they are now truly living, well I had never fully related to that until now.
My main draw to Berlin was the history and culture it has to offer. The fact you can walk down a street full of shops and casually stumble upon remnants of the Berlin wall is incredible. We were prepared to see all that Berlin has to offer, so booked the open top bus tour to take us about the city. Although I do love seeing a city from foot, this provided us with a quick way to navigate and learn about this fabulous city.
Berlin is famous for its nightlife, but although we never made it in to Berghain, we still had our own unforgettable experience. On our last night we found a club called AVA, just outside of the East Side Gallery, which provided an amazing background when sitting in the smoking area. This night remains one of the funniest I’ve ever had, from the bartender giving us orange with our tequila shots (which I continued in Glasgow, much to my pals disgust), the toilets resembling those in Trainspotting to the German heckler at the tram stop. Coming from Glasgow we know a mental night out, but Berlin definitely surprised us. After all that we packed our stuff and cleaned the apartment whilst still drunk and embarked on our trip back home. Despite how tired and hungover I was I can’t sleep on transport so as everyone slept, I listened to music and reminisced on how perfect the last five days were.
What wasn’t perfect was that I slept for 18 hours when I got home and woke up with twenty minutes to get into town for my shift starting at 12. But nothing mattered after that trip, I was on cloud nine and the happiness that Berlin gave me could not be tainted. Even making milkshakes in Buchanan Galleries during peak summertime couldn’t bring me down.
Berlin is a city unlike no other and I would return within a heartbeat. From the history to the nightlife it had all it for me. But looking back I think what made this trip so special was the company I was so lucky to have with me. The moments we spent in our apartment getting ready, watching Love Island, chatting and playing drinking games will stay with me forever. I remember looking around the room at their smiling faces with so much love and gratitude, almost missing the moment I was still experiencing. Whilst I sit at home unable to see them right now, I wish more than anything that I was looking at their beautiful faces once more. But I know they’re never far and that we will see each other soon.
As a visual person, I have reminders of this trip not only in my mind but plastered around my room in the form of postcards, photographs and in German flag coloured flower garlands that hang over my bookshelf. I only have to look up at my walls to remember all the special moments we had and the amazing friends I gained. Now that we’ve finished third year, I wish more than anything that we could be jetting away for another trip. But when times are difficult, I think about our Berlin trip and remind myself of how lucky I am.
Berlin, you are forever in my heart. See you soon.