While my main purpose of traveling to Europe this time around was to visit my best friend, whom I hand't seen in a year and a half, since our tear filled "see you next time" in South Korea. I booked my flight on a whim almost 6 months ago, when I was browsing for flight deals, as one does, but knew I wouldn't regret it. After spending a week catching up in Leipzig, I figured I'd take the opportunity to hop around a bit of Europe. Flixbus is currently offering a 5 cites for 99 Euro deal, so I'd have been a fool not to take advantage. The only catch being the trips must be direct, which is how I found myself in Munich, a stop-over on the way to Ljubjana a city that for some reason or another has been on my mind for the past year. I've had fleeting thoughts of wanting to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, but after thinking about the reality of all the crowds of tourists and overpriced everything, I quashed that idea, and the last 24 hours have been a confirmation that I made the right choice.
After our stop in France it was back to Germany, a place neither of us were really used to, me being a tourist and Carlo a recent transplant. I had suggested visiting the Black Forest, kind of our original purpose for getting a car, so it only made sense that was our next step. The problem with this decision is that the Black Forest is a big place and we had no idea where we should go. I did a very minimal amount of research and tore a few pages out of an old Lonely planet, but other than that we didn't have much to go off of. Given our current location we decided to give Freiburg a shot, thinking we could drive through a good portion of the other cities on our way back to Stuttgart the following day.
Way back in August when I was browsing websites, blogs and travel guides I stumbled across the small(er) town of Dresden and decided it seemed like a good place to stop. Then I let some friends get into my mind and wanderlust get the best of me; I threw out those plans and instead thought I'd venture into Poland for a few days. Funny how things tend to work themselves out though, after a few days in Berlin I was canceling my bus and CS host in Poland while scrambling to put together plans for Dresden. Things worked out surprisingly well for me; I booked a cheap bus and arranged not one but two possible Couchsurfing hosts, only a day before my departure, more proof that you don't have to plan everything ahead in Europe.
While planning my trip I often had friends asking where I was planning to go, what I would see and who I was meeting. Anytime I mentioned Berlin I was met with big smiles and nods of "Oh, you'll love Berlin" or "That's my favorite city in Europe!". I've grown to brush off most of these "You'll love it there remarks" as people have proved to me they don't really know what they're talking about, but I was curious what about Berlin caused people to love it oh so much. I usually doubt the advice of other travelers but given the number of votes Berlin was getting I decided to trust them on this one, planning to stick around for a few days.
In the midst of searching for places to visit and things to do in Europe, I stumbled across the Forever Now Festival in Berlin. I almost paid no attention before realizing that it was the weekend as my proposed visit to the city! These festivals are things I occasionally see friends attending or posting about on Instagram, but rarely am I in the right place at the right time to attend. I didn't buy the ticket immediately as I still had the cost to consider, these events are never cheap, but it was definitely an appealing option for a way to spend my first day in a brand new city. After giving myself a few days I decided to compromise and buy a one day pass (vs. the entire weekend) thus giving myself a good dose of yoga and opportunity to meet some locals, while not completely destroying my budget.