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How Country Girls Become Tourists PART ONE

I remember hearing of Kathlyn many times through another friend as "someone like you, who also travels." But because of the fact that she liked to travel, whenever I was around she wasn't. 

A few months back she sent me a Facebook friend request and we talked a bit, about life and work and how it'd be fun to get a place together. I think I'd even considered employing her as I was desperate to find someone to clean for me at the time. But despite our great FB chat and us only living an hour and a half apart, we never managed to actually meet up in person. 

But ... as I was coming to Germany, I saw she was coming, too. So, of course, I had to message her about it. I found out she'd come to work for a farm and was here only six weeks, and wanted to see some things but not on her own. 

So, I suggested we meet up and see Dietrich Bonhoeffer's house, as she didn't seem to care what she saw as long as it was something German. Now I'm quite used to making suggestions to friends and friends saying "Yeah, sounds fun." and then nothing ever coming out of it. 

But, though Kathlyn didn't know how Bonhoeffer was, she jumped at my suggestion, and so I started making plans. 

  1. I had to make sure it was okay with my host family to take off about four days. 
  2. Then I had to find out just where Bonhoeffer's house was—googling took me to Berlin. As soon as I saw Berlin I just about took back my offer to Kathlyn. Did I really want to go to a town of four million people to see a house? But ... as I've been talking about in my last posts, I decided this was another opportunity to burst my comfort zone. 
  3. I emailed the Bonhoeffer house as they do visitations by tour and appointment only. But the email didn't work, and they didn't have a phone number ... I managed to find them on Facebook and message them that way. I waited a horrible twelve hours waiting for them to say we could come. 
  4. I messaged several friends who I knew had been in Berlin to see if I could find free lodging. All of my friends disappointed me ;p But ah, well, it only lead to another fun adventure ... I booked three nights at a hostel, reserving two beds in an eight-bed women's dorm. Total we ended up spending about thirty-five euros each for the three nights. 
  5. Then I searched for cheap transportation and found a round trip train ticket for around eighty euros. 
My travels started mid-day Thursday, with me walking an hour and a half to my train. It was the first time I'd ever ridden on a real train, so I had a bit of trouble figuring it all out. I didn't expect the platforms, for instance, to be underground. I walked forever in the station before asking someone where the trains were. Then I realized that there were many platforms, so I had to figure out which was mine. 

Oh, throughout this whole trip I had to ask many people for help in German, so that was interesting. 

I also found a five-cent German coin, which I thought pretty neat. 

Once on the train, I realized Kathlyn and I hadn't made plans where we were going to meet up. Her phone only had service when connected to WiFi, so we had a bit of confusion sorting it all out. But we ended up finding each other just fine (Kathlyn walked an hour and a half to me, and we took the tram about thirty minutes to our hostel).

I was a bit surprised at how big the hostel was. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't seven floors of motel rooms filled with bunk beds. 

Online, it said the room came with a shared bathroom. I'd assumed that meant that each room had its own bathroom. But there was actually a bathroom for each floor (I think). I was further confused when Kathlyn and I went to the bathroom and there was a guy in there. Online there had been an option to stay in a women's dorm or a mixed dorm, with a shared bathroom. And now I was wondering if shared meant everyone shared the bathroom. 

Actually, the guy was only cleaning the bathroom. And I ended up being thankful he was there because I somehow dropped my wallet and he came found it and returned it to me. 

But that wasn't the last mishap of the night ... 

We were assigned beds four and five. The beds weren't numbered very well, and whatever bed I thought might be five looked to have been taken by another girl. Bed three was just under bed four and was unoccupied, so I claimed that bed. 

Around midnight, a hand materialized out of nowhere floundering over my face. I don't remember being scared, only thinking. "Ew, don't touch my face," and I grabbed the wrist. 

A girl squealed and jumped back saying, "I'm so sorry. I was looking for the light."

I thought, why are you looking for the light here? I didn't realize there were lights on each bed. But I said, "Where is the light?"

She told me, then said, "I think this is my bed."

I said, "Oh ... I wasn't sure which bed is mine. It's supposed to be bed five."

Bed five and six were still being slept in, but bed seven (or was it eight?) was unoccupied, so I took that one letting the girl have her bed back. The next morning I said hi to her and we had a good laugh about it all. She'd been staying in that bed for about three nights here and was touring Europe from Canada. She was actually quite fun to talk to, and draws and wants to design fabric and wears only second-hand things. 

Our hostel room
Kathlyn and I spend the morning on "my" bed talking and getting to know each other for a good hour before we made plans for our day and left the hostel. We clicked immediately. When we'd first met the night before she gave me this ginormous hug that nearly broke every bone in my body, and she talked as if we'd been best friends forever. 

It's hard not to like someone like that ;D 

We started the day by walking an hour until we found a bakery that looked good, and got breakfast. Then we walked on to the Berlin wall memorial ... of course, we talked non-stop the entire way. 
This is the ruins of an old house from the Berlin Wall days. 
Pictures from the wall and surrounding area ... the first picture on the top left corner is a perfect example of how history meets graphite on every Berlin corner. 

Also, I think Kathlyn and I had way too much fun taking selfies ;D 

Throughout all the memorials signs were posted with historical information in German and English, and recordings to listen to. We read a lot of the signs but only listened to some things ... one of my favorite recordings was a propaganda song singing about how good the wall was. We also watched some five-ten minute documentaries. 

In the middle of all the wall stuff was this little round building surrounded by a plywood structure. Inside was a small round church that had been rebuilt from old times. Though it was in the midst of all this Berlin stuff, it was a tiny church that could only fit fifty or so people.

I think my only complaint about all of the Berlin memorial stuff (and Kathlyn had the same thoughts, I believe) is that it didn't tell us much about why or how. It just gave us a bunch of stories about non-consequential people and about how the wall separated loved ones, but we couldn't find any hard-core facts. I wanted to know the politics behind it all and how it had all come about and why. Though I love history, I'll admit I don't know as much about this time period as I should, and the memorial didn't do a very good job informing people.  
As we were walking through the memorial, we saw this HUGE building that said FACTORY. It was opened toward tourists, so we went toward it but never made it inside due to this amazing little garden outside. It is full of gravestones. 

No one is actually buried there but is full of fake stones with wise or humorous epitaphs. Though, Kathlyn and I spent a good chunk of time walking through this maze and making snarky comments and laughing our heads off. I think we got quite a few stares for laughing at things that other people took seriously. 

There was some youth going up to all the tourists at the Berlin wall memorial, trying to get us to give donations for a center for disabled and deaf people. Though I'm not sure that's what it actually was for as I couldn't completely understand them. At first, I thought they just wanted a signature, and I was like why not. But then when they wanted money, I knew why not ;p But wow, they sure didn't mind begging! 

"Only two euros? How about one. I'm sure you have one euro. You can give one euro."

I had to just walk away ;p 
There were quite a few places like this just full of coins; German, American, and other. I've never understood how people can just throw money away like this, yet they can be so stingy when it comes to tipping or tithing. 

I think it would be so neat if people were to agree on gathering all the piles of money up and putting it toward a good cause ... I mean, it doesn't do anyone and anything any good lying there on the ground. 
I call this the golden lady.
It is actually called the Victory Column. We had quite a bit of fun walking up all the steps to the top and writing in the guest book (do you get my inscription, or am I trying too hard to be funny?).
We saw so many neat buildings and sights. Though, again, I had so many questions about the history behind things. I ended up doing a lot of googling as there wasn't information ready for ignorant tourists like me. 
The day ended with cold rain. But I'd come prepared with umbrellas ... though we had two hours to walk back to the hostel, and I kept stepping in mud puddles. My poor leather shoes. Kathlyn saved me from the biggest mud puddle, thankfully. 

Well ... I still have a ton more to share. Believe it or not, the second day in Berlin was even more amazing. But you'll have to come back for that on next time around ;) 
How does Berlin look to you? Can you believe the two of us survived? I can't ;D What is something that would bring you to Berlin? Or would you rather visit another German city? 

Personally, I'm more excited about seeing German country. 

NOTE: The family I'm living with let me know there were a few innacuracies, some of them maybe implied. So let me clarify or correct:
1. All of Europe doesn't eat snails. I know this, but my joke made it look like that all of Europe does. This is only a France thing, they want the world to know.
2. The back packs aren't actually required for school, but more of a traditional thing. 
3. A church only takes tithes from your wages IF you are registered with them/ a member of their denomination, and not every denomination does this. The Catholic church does for sure, but not certain with the others. 
4. There may have been others. I can't remember now, haha. I want to share only factually correct things, but if something ever seems OFF to you never consider me the authority on the subject. I haven't been here even two months yet and everything is so new and misunderstandings are a real and inevitable thing.


  1. Sounds very cool! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

    1. Yeah so fun! Can't wait to share ;) and it looks like y'all had fun at camp ... hope to see pictures at your blog. When I find time to read blogs 😂

    2. I did have fun! I will be posting pictures soon... on my blog. :)

  2. This sounds like so much fun!!! Personally, I really really want to go to Germany because we might still have family members there, and I hope one day I could just go there and soak up all of the stuff about the homeland of my ancestors - if you get my meaning!!

    Berlin would probably be super fun, but I think I'd rather just explore the country in Germany. That would be great!!

    Yeee, I love your posts so much Keturah - especially these about Germany!!

    Continued good wishes for safety etc to you! ^^

    ~ Lily Cat (Boots) |

    1. That's just so epic you have family history here. And yeah I didn't plan to go to Berlin... guess where I am now??? Black Forest! Finally some country for me too ;)

      Thanks so much!

  3. Loving these posts! Seems like a lot of fun.

  4. Wow, this is so interesting! I love how you just leap at the chance to do new things--like up and going to Berlin--even if they're not in your comfort zone! It's really inspiring!


    1. I don't know of I keep . .. Or if I shove myself haha. But don't worry, I'm not always so brave. I do sometimes and too often not push myself enough. But thanks! Berlin was tons of fun.


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