Welcome to Berlin
So this all started while Emily was home visiting for the Christmas 2021 holiday. She casually asked whether I wanted to see Coldplay perform in Berlin in July the following summer. With Europe seeming more accessible to us since Emily’s move to Prague, I figured that we could make a trip of it. After all, I’d be celebrating a milestone birthday- and Coldplay has been a favorite band of mine since 2000 when I first downloaded ‘Yellow’ off Napster. Yeah, that long.
Fast forward several months and a few complications. We did manage to purchase airfare at a mostly reasonable price, find AirBnBs in both Prague and Berlin within about a month before our intended travel dates, and sort out the logistical details of getting to where we were going in Europe at what felt to be the last minute, at least compared to other holidays we have taken. Once again, we would fly into Prague on Turkish Air via Istanbul, and after stopping at Emily’s apartment for some breakfast and a luggage shuffle, head over to the Florenc station to catch our bus to Berlin.
It is about a 4.5 hour ride to Berlin from Prague. After a long literal day of travel beginning on July 10, with us arriving in Prague on the morning of July 12, we were all pretty beat by the time we boarded the RegioJet. This is the same bus company we used back in November when traveling to both Karlovy Vary and Cesky Krumlov. The ride is relatively comfortable, at least as comfortable as one can be when on a bus for over four hours, and we were able to nap at points along the way. This was a good thing as we’d be hitting the ground running after arriving at the Zentralen Omnibusbahnhof station in Germany.
Our lodging was about 40 minutes by public transportation from the more central part of the city. Like most major cities in Europe, getting around Berlin is pretty easy with the system of trams, buses, and trains. While we were out in what felt like the suburbs in the WeißenSee area of Berlin, with its green spaces and single family homes, it was easy to navigate, especially once we had our Vodafone SIM cards and internet connectivity. The kids especially liked exploring Berlin via electric scooter. The city is incredibly bike friendly in most areas, and scooters allowed us to cut through Tiergarten Park as well as sightsee in a way that we had not done on prior vacations. The only issue I had was when we got a bit turned around because of construction and almost hit a car. Fortunately it was a near miss, and the only thing hurt was my pride.
On foot and by scooter we saw a number of the main tourist attractions in the city, including the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, and the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall that have been memorialized. I’ll share more on that in the next two posts. But for now, back to the reason for this trip: Coldplay.
The concert we attended on July 13 was the last night the band played in Berlin as part of their Music of the Spheres world tour. To packed crowds at three sold out shows, Coldplay performed songs from not just their new album, but hits going back to Viva La Vida (2008), A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), and all the way back to Parachutes from 2000. This is music that defined my college years: ‘Yellow’ got my attention, ‘The Scientist’ made me a lifelong fan, especially as I was a young science major with a head full of dreams wandering the university campus. The tracks in X & Y and Viva La Vida formed many an epic road trip playlist, minivan packed with small children, as we explored national parks in Hawaii and the western states. One of the first songs Sami learned was from the Mylo Xyloto album; she used to love dancing around the house to ‘Princess of China,’ of course while dressed up like a princess.
As Emily and I stood in the center of the enormous Olympiastadion, built for the 1936 Olympic Games hosted in Berlin and modernized for the 21st century, the scope of it was pretty overwhelming. Today, its capacity is over 74000 seats and the place was packed on the night we attended. We didn’t have seats; we were in the center standing area. This was not something I’d normally do on my own; most of the concerts I’ve attended were at the Hollywood Bowl, which is quite a different venue from the Olympic Stadium. But it was totally fun! Many of the special effects such as confetti and balloons were dropped into the center area, and it was great to have room to dance.
However, even better was having the opportunity to share in adventures of a lifetime with those I love best. From attending an earth-shaking concert with my elder daughter to scootering around and exploring a new city with the family, there was much to experience in Germany’s capital.
And yes, the concert was literally earth shaking. According to European news outlets, the audience participation during ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ was so intense, it generated a 1.4 magnitude earthquake. By California standards, that’s hardly noticeable, but it was pretty awesome to be a part of shaking the ground in Berlin. And even more awesome to live the adventure meant to be shared.
For more photos along with video of the concert, check out my reels on Instagram @rochelle__kate.
For Music of the Spheres tour information, check out the Coldplay site. Here’s to good music and great memories!