Berlin

Bank holiday weekends are made for exploring, and this weekend we headed to Berlin. It was my second visit to the city after visiting in December, but completely different. December is all about Christmas markets, mulled wine and trying to stay warm which is fab but it was great this time to take our time exploring the tourist hot-spots, seeking out food markets and fitting in naps before heading to desolate techno clubs.

We arrived Thursday morning and checked in to the Titanic Chaussee hotel in Mitte then headed straight out for a stroll to Berliner Dom, the Altes Museum and a quick stop at Brandenburg Gate before grabbing a well needed currywurst and stein of berliner. The busy bar and café lined streets of Mitte make it a really cool area to stay in. No matter what time, you can find a cocktail happy hour, underground club or café or the best ice cream of your life.

That evening we headed to Markthalle Neun for the Street Food Thursday food market. I really can’t recommend this place enough! Had it not been for my cousin who owns the Chai Wallahs restaurant in Kreuzberg and a food stall at the weekly market, we would never have known about this gem. It is filled with around the world food stalls, from pork belly and paneer cheese ‘naanwiches’ to oysters, the best ice cream you will eat in you life and Heidenpeters craft bier made underground the market hall! There really is something for everyone and Street Food Thursday runs from 5pm-10pm. You can also grab a decent bottle of prosecco for €12 here at the bar which is definitely not worth missing out on!

Friday was full of sightseeing and cocktails. We spent some more time at Brandenburg Gate before wandering around the corner to the Reichstag building where you MUST try a cheese topped pretzel from the street vendors there which are truly delicious.

Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower) in Alexanderplatz was next on our list. If you’re looking for a busy atmosphere filled will shopping malls, restaurants and traditional style German markets with live music and beer halls, then Alexanderplatz is the place to go. We headed up to the observation deck of the tv tower for cocktails (just missed happy hour by 1 minute! (2pm-4pm, get in the queue early!)), prosecco and 360 views of the city. We really loved it up here, perched at the bar relaxing for a couple of hours and had we been able to get a reservation for the Sphere revolving restaurant upstairs i’m sure it would have been fabulous. That evening we wandered around looking for bars and ended up in ‘Dr Pong’. I’ll say no more about this place.

On Saturday we first headed over to Checkpoint Charlie and a wander around the museum there before meeting up with my friend’s friends from Austria, who live in Berlin. It’s always great when you can have recommendations from people that really know the city, so you can check out the real local places rather that the overpriced tourist spots that are generally recommended. After drinks in Alexanderplatz they recommended a Thai place for a Pad Thai not far from the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain. There are so many cool restaurants and bars here, the food is amazing and cheap too! It was then on to the East Side Gallery for some touristy Berlin Wall pics which is a real must do. I recommend taking your passport here as they will stamp it with all the official stamps when crossing from East to West Berlin. It’s €4, but worth it for the experience. I’ve visited the wall before, but it is constantly changing, and there was so much new art to see this time.

After a well deserved nap, finishing off some bottles in the hotel and grabbing a TRIPLE cheeseburger from Maccy’s (you’ve never seen four Brits more excited about anything) we headed back out to Kreuzberg for super cheap cocktails and then Friedrichshain to some pretty derelict looking clubs in the desolate area next to Warschauer Strasse S-Bahn station. With graffiti everywhere and guys trying to sell us E on the doors, this looked like a hipsters dreamland, pretty dodgy from the outside and somewhere you probably wouldn’t go anywhere near back in the UK. Despite desperately wanting to go to the notoriously difficult to get in to Berghain on this trip, we decided that four English, non German speaking tourists that weren’t dressed head to toe in black probably weren’t going to make the cut at 2am on a Sunday morning so decided on Suicide Circus, a techno club with the best sound system i have ever heard. You can see why people stay ’til 9am. We managed 4am.

If there’s one thing i love about Berlin, it’s how casual the city is, how chill everyone’s attitudes are toward everything, and wearing Nike’s out on a Saturday night is an absolute dream. Pack black, think open, eat everything, and you’ll fall in love with Berlin.  I’m now off to go on a diet.

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