Backpacking: Leipzig to Berlin

Leipzig

Well with my return trip to Germany coming up in just a few weeks, I figured I better finish off this first backpacking trip series! I know it’s been a long time coming, but we’d planned the final stop in our trip to be Berlin.

We had it all figured out! Take a night train from Munich at about midnight, which would put us in Berlin just in time for breakfast. It was a perfect plan. Except for the changeovers that we would need to make along the way. Come on! Who was I kidding, there was no way I was going to be able to wake up multiple times to change trains along the way in the predawn hours.

Downtown Leipzig

Luckily, I’m dating a pretty smart guy who had the savvy to pick the perfect one-night stopover along the way to Berlin. Besides being where Johann Sebastian Bach is buried, Leipzig was one of those places that I wish we’d had more time to explore.

This was the first city where we’d thought that one night was way too short for a visit (Galway turned out to the final straw) and now we have a hard and fast ‘two nights in each city’ rule when we travel: one night to explore and second to settle into a routine.

Hotel Fürstenhof in Leipzig

One of my favorite and unexpected hotels, the Hotel Fürstenhof in Leipzig won me over with in heated bathroom floors and large suite size. While we might have only been in the city for 20 hours, I have nothing but good things to say about the hotel and city.

Kind of a funny story, whenever I search my own city’s zip code on weather.com there was one other option that’s been suggested. When I returned home, I realized that all this time Leipzig, Germany was that home-away-from-home zip code that had kept popping up. What are the odds?!

Hotel am Steinplatz in Berlin

After a relaxing 20 hours in Leipzig, we were Berlin-bound for our final stop. This first backpacking experience had been fast paced, but so much fun.

The Hotel am Steinplatz in Berlin was my first experience in an Autograph Collection hotel. While I very much enjoy the upgraded experience, I always look for something special in my hotels. This choice in Berlin was a little out of the way from Downtown, but it was in such a special neighborhood that you couldn’t help but feel at home.

Relaxing our private balcony

The staff was amazing and worked so hard to keep all the guests happy. It makes the extra few dollars for this hotel chain absolutely worth it. Coming back at the end of each day, it was nice to know that the hotel would feel welcoming.

After a long two days of train rides from Munich, there was nothing that could have beaten those few moments sitting, on own private balcony, looking out over Germany’s capital city.

Brandenburg Gate

Our second day in Germany, we had an exciting event planned. A fabulous friend of mine from back in Boston was currently living in London and she had offered to fly over to Berlin to see us. It really says something about the European experience (and the friend) that quick day trip to another country was really a possibility.

Checkpoint Charlie

Out of the entire country, Berlin was the city that I had seen pictures of my whole life. Between the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, there was a real sense of history that felt important to see.

Berlin Wall

We had seen pieces of the wall throughout museum displays, but decided to venture over to the gallery in East Berlin to see the pieces that were still standing. It was a sight to see with all those miles still standing, but now decorated for a new generation of Germans.

Litre of Paulaner

One of the most important lessons to learn in Germany is the size of the beers. When you order a litre, they mean a litre. These beers are large, delicious, and I recommend every single one. In all honesty, I hated beer at the beginning of this trip. I’d managed to go all through college and most of my 20’s never having to drink it, but two weeks in Germany I was a convert and Pilsner is my new go-to order. (Side note, watch out for the ‘alkoholfrei’ beer in Germany! It looks just like the regular version, but means alcohol free…whoops!)

Victory Column

Our final night in Berlin and our trip, we took a long walk around our neighborhood and down to see the Victory Column. There was something so peaceful about experiencing Berlin at dusk that really brought the whole trip to a perfect close.

L.L.Bean Backpacks

A quick shout out to L.L. Bean for having the best backpack selection. Seriously, anyone who is planning a backpacking trip needs to check out their selection. I don’t know what I would have done if my backpack had failed on me!

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