With the headaches of revision and hangovers of Pangea still strong in the memory 100 students set off for the History Society’s weekend away to Berlin. Whilst some were after a weekend to forget their January blues, others were keen to celebrate the ending of the dreaded exam period with 5 days of the packed cultural, social, historical sights and sounds emanating from the German capital. Being early February the weather was decidedly Baltic, but as it turned out nothing could keep the groups’ spirits down…
With such a large group descending upon the palatial Generator Hostel, the reception was kept constantly busy. Whether it was queries over transport routes to the tourist sights of the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Alexanderplatz Tower or directions to the best bars and clubs that Berlin had to offer, the reception continued to hand out maps and useful directions in equal measure for the 3 days we were there. Each day in Berlin saw groups of students branching off from the hostel in a spiders-web of routes, taking in the wonders of this truly cosmopolitan and diverse city.
Whilst some decided to walk along stretches of the Berlin Wall, others tried their hand at sampling the local delicacies of wheat beer and sausages in the warm cafes that provided such relief to the weather outside. Indeed, an intrepid few soles managed to find their way right across Berlin to the Olympic Stadium to witness a Bundesliga tie between Hertha Berlin and Hannover.
Whilst Berlin enthralled us with its sights and sounds by day, the nightlife proved to offer an entirely new perspective on the city. Initial impressions after visiting the ‘Matrix Club’ on Friday night were that we had travelled a long way across Europe to have entered Deansgate Vodka Revs. The mix of open redbrick walled rooms and large bar displays felt worryingly similar and lacking in identity. However, this all changed on Saturday night. After another busy day of nursing hangovers and sight-seeing we descended into Berlin’s artisan quarter for a sample of the much publicised hedonistic nightlife.
With a stretch of over 50 bars on one road, each with individuality and vibe different to so much else, this area catered for everyone. All those in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, music and energy of the night; which came as some form of relief to the grimness of boarding the coaches for 24 hours of executive travel back to Manchester the next morning.
The group found Berlin had left an impression. Some tried their hardest to miss the coach departure time, others wistfully wished for more time when boarding the ferry. All had a fantastic time, and without a doubt many will be heading back in the not too distant future.