After a gruelling night of sleeplessness, spent dashing between busy airports, trains, trams, tubes and buses, I made it to the city of Berlin. It didn't take me long to wake up and really start enjoying the place. On my first day here, and in fact on the first day spent in most places I visit, I like to get a bit lost and soak up whatever there is to see, before hunting out the attractions. After failing to find a place on Couchsurfing our first job however, was to book into a hostel. We found a place called Generator, which I really recommend, next to Landsberger Allee tram station, for about thirteen Euro’s a night. After that we set off in the direction of the Mitte area, as we had been told it was the historical and cultural hub of Berlin. On a side note, getting around had been breeze so far, after grabbing a day ticket first thing in the morning for seven Euros, I have been able to use any form of public transport on the same ticket. To be honest it felt great just to be back travelling again, never quite knowing where we would end up, or whether we would get stuck on an out of service tram (so very close,) and with the genuinely amazing architecture all around, I was already a bit in awe of the place. Now, it's probably important to point out, we are travelling on a tight budget and for this reason, we are attempting to find as many free and fun things to do on our way. So we strolled passed the Berliner Dom, instead of paying to go inside, but even this was pretty incredible, and just chilling in the park outside with live music being played, was an experience I'd recommend in itself. There was so much to see, including what appeared to be a massive soup bowl, or perhaps I was just hungry! We found a monument to Engels and Marx, wandered over stunning bridges and passed grand museums, buildings and statues. The city felt busy, without being rammed with people jostling us out of the way, and everyone so far had been exceptionally friendly. The real highlight of the day came when we stumbled upon the Hackesher Market area. After the tiredness began to kick in again, and we headed down a side street in search of some serious caffeine, we found a quirky alleyway filled with street art and graffiti. It was strangely reminiscent of Valparaiso in Chile, where the historic centre is totally covered in professional street art. It turned out to be a real gem of a place, with bohemian style coffee shops showcasing faded pianos, and moth eaten sofas. There were a few little museums, and foreboding staircases which lead to independent galleries and modern art treasure troves (unfortunately we were unable to take pictures inside these). One of the galleries was called Lumia and boasted artwork priced anywhere been a few thousand Euros all the way up to twenty thousand and probably beyond. While indulging in the galleries pieces was a tad out of our price range, we both agreed that as an area to visit, the whole place really appealed to me and Kamila. After all the inspiration we settled into the Cinema Cafe and tried to get a bit arty, taking some black and white photographs to try and capture the mood. This place was also covered in graffiti and photographs, and candles dripping with wax, creating their own little sculptures. It was the dingy sort of place you can imagine someone like Sartre sitting at, and the coffee was strong and copious, which made it even better. Back in our hostel we feasted on rye bread, mushroom noodles, and fresh tomatoes from Kamila's nan's garden, despite the temptation to go for some of the delicious looking city food. Tomorrow we hope to hit up some more free galleries, the Brandenburg gate, and maybe one or two of the squat restaurants apparently serving cheap food in places across the city.

Published by James Vitaly Harding