We try to visit a new city once every year. Berlin came into play since Easy Jet opened a new connection from Ljubljana. We spent a shy week in the city.
Arrival at Schönefeld Airport. Train to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Check-in Hotel Amano Grand Central. Out again.
It was a lovely evening and since we were located in Mitte we checked out te modern area first. There’s a bunch of government buildings scattered along the river Spree. Lots of concrete, glass and very clean. It did look quite empty but it was late in the afternoon. We passed Reichstag which was unfortunately closed for a whole week. Otherwise we’d like to see the glass dome and the view from it.
Brandenburg Gate. Berlin’s landmark. It’s a beautiful monument with an interesting history. We soon moved on to the Holocaust Memorial, which is closeby. The site includes a vast labyrinth of more than 2,700 grey concrete blocks spread over an area equivalent to three football fields and a museum, which we skipped.
We were getting hungry and there were hardly any restaurants around. We continued to Potsdamer Platz and didn’t want a chain Italian pasta or pizza, so we gave the famous curry wurst a try. The Big Dog was nearby. Curry wurst is basically a sausage with ketchup and curry sprinkled on top, so I don’t really get the hype. The Holy Pope hot dog and beer were great though.
Botanical Gardens. The greenhouses of Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum are amazing. The giant glass structure took us for a circle around different environments and climates. We really dig the green so this was on our must-visit list.
Botanical garden is located somewhat southwest so we visited the closest sight which would be Tempelhof Field. This used to be an airport but now it’s a huge recreation area with joggers and cyclists. Described as a must-visit place… It’s just a huge plain in reality. We walked across and reached Neukölln.
This is definitely a different area than Mitte. It’s much more raw, kind of a hip neighborhood. We really enjoyed it here. Mainly because there’s so much to eat. We started with Viet Bowl, where we shared some amazing spring rolls and an even better duck. Afterwards we visited Roamers for a cup of coffee and cake. Both really good.
It was a Tuesday so the Turkish Market was open. This was an interesting stroll and a new perspective on this multicultural city.
We briefly crossed Spree and entered Friedrichshain to check out the East Side Gallery. Once it was the Berlin Wall. Now it’s the longest open-air gallery in the world.
We then headed back to Kreuzberg, through the shady Görlitzer Park and met a friend in Five Elephant café. They supposedly have the best cheesecake in Berlin. Might just be!
We joined another friend in the evening. She took us to a Syrian place, where we tried shawarma. It was absolutely delicious. Hands down the best thing I’ve eaten on this trip.
Another day, another neighborhood. And this one is probably our favourite. It’s beautiful and clean and it has a huge amount of eateries and cafés. We had some breakfast at The Barn. I still dream of that ham & cheese filled croissant. Coffee was also great, they did get an award for that after all.
Berlin Wall Memorial
On the border strip that had been located in East Berlin, an open-air exhibition uses the situation on Bernauer Strasse to explain the history of division. The memorial consists of the Monument in Memory of the Divided City and the Victims of Communist Tyranny as well as the Window of Remembrance. The grounds also include the Chapel of Reconciliation and the excavated foundations of a former apartment building whose façade functioned as the border wall until the early eighties.
Next stops were Alexanderplatz and Rotes Rathaus. We also chilled in the sun infront of Berliner Dom for a while. Our trip soon became about finding the right place to eat and trying as many dishes as we could. After sharing a bánh mì at Cô Cô bánh mì deli we visited Mogg - It’s the one place in Berlin to satisfy your deepest Pastrami cravings (more here). This was sick!
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is located on the major public square Breitscheidplatz. It was heavily bombed in a 1943 raid. The spire has been retained which makes this an interesting landmark.
Our last day. With the weather we had it would be a shame spending time indoors. Also we had other priorities over museums and galleries. However Gemäldegalerie was a gallery we really wanted to visit. Our aim was the Old Masters exhibition. The paintings were awesome.
We later visited Gendarmenmarkt and went a bit further south to eat in Kreuzberg. Goldies was a very interesting suggestion we got. The two chefs used to work for a Michelin starred restaurant and got an idea to perfect the art of frying potato sticks. They serve french fries in a different way. Their Pommeskombos are really well prepared with toppings such as roast beef, duck, cheddar, jalapeno, almonds, mozzarella, miso, furikake, truffle etc. Each dish draws inspiration from a different country.
Food again. We spent our evening at Markthalle Neun. It was Street Food Thursday in this historic market in Kreuzberg. The various stalls compete with each other with their culinary delicacies. There were kitchens from all over the world. We tried some Nepalese, Uruguayan, mochi ice cream, an interesting gin & tonic, honey BBQ rice burger of some sorts etc…
All in all, this was a great trip with some of the best food we’ve eaten. One can check the famous sights in a day, but to really get the vibe it’s fun to check out different neighborhoods and worth trying all the food this multicultural hub has to offer.