Berlin is a city that does not disappoint! Parts of it are like a showcase for futuristic architecture and a mix between old and new. I have been here for about three days now. I have been in two different hostels, seen a lot and walked tons. Berlin is like five or six cities in one. Each "neighborhood" is really its own little city and together they make up the gigantic fusion that is Berlin. Berliners tend to not even go to other neighborhoods because everything they need is in their own. They have their own centers and shopping areas and sights to see. It really is unlike any other city I have been to. One could live here forever and never see it all.

So lets start with my current hostel. To get here, you take a number of trains and then a bus. You get off at an exclusive neighborhood and think this cant be right. There are mansions down the whole street and around the area. Turns out the Chancelor of Germany lives on this street. You walk all the way down to the end, and then the directions say, go down the path, and we are about one block in. Yup one block in the woods aka into the Grunwald forest. Unfortunately I ended up getting here just after dusk, aka it was just dark enough to scare the living daylights out me. The path seemed like it went on forever, but this morning I realized it did not. Its like staying at a camp. I have my own room because its the end of their season. It is so relaxing here, its still in the city but doesnt feel like it. There is a lake five minutes down the path and walking trails all around. The couple who owns it lives here next door and are the nicest people in the world. I got to watch the Rugby world cup with them last night. They even have old school Coke in a glass bottle!

(this is the hostel)

On Saturday I made an hour journey to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp with a tour. I joined the "New Berlin" tour at Brandenburg Tor with a girl I met at my hostel, who as it turns out grew up in Boston. We made the journey exactly as the prisoners made it, train and then marched through town. It is a massive camp. I have been to Dachau outside of Munich, but this camp was much larger and you could have taken days to go through it. It was made as a "model camp" but then found it had flaws so none of the other camps were built in that fashion. We spent about 5 hours at the camp. Our guide was fantastic. She had tons of information and also really human stories which always puts it into even more perspective. This camp started out as a camp for political prisoners and then transitioned to a camp for the Jews and then started to make its transition to a death camp. Many Russian POWs were also exterminated here and used for experimentation. The eerie feeling that you get walking all over the camp doesnt leave you for a couple of days. Some places it is stronger than others, but you leave feeling angry and wanting to stop all of the similar atrocities that are going on around the world today. As with Dachau, it was a moving experience. Even though you see the evidence all around and also in the world today, it is always hard to believe that humans can do this to each other.

(remnants of barbed wire)