My boyfriend turned 21 back in December and as a little surprise for him I booked a few days away in Berlin after his exams last week. We’ve both visited the city before and absolutely loved it, but we had never been together so both of us were pretty excited to go back.
Getting a new camera just before jetting off to Berlin has resulted in a lot of photos, but I’ve tried to narrow it down a lot for this post… Tried being the operative word. It’s pretty photo heavy so I’ve tried to break it up a little bit, but I just loved testing out my new Canon G7X whilst away! I’m thinking about posting a full review of it soon so if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing then let me know and I’ll move it up the to do list.
Despite me thinking Sunday was the coldest I had ever been in my life, Monday was even colder.
We woke up nice and early and grabbed our breakfast from a local bakery, as well as a couple of hot drinks to keep our hands warm as we wandered up the road past Checkpoint Charlie towards Unter Den Linden and the stunning Berliner Dom. This was one of the attractions that stood most prominent in my mind after my last trip to the city so I was eager to see it in standing proud in the snow. After an extremely necessary stop in Primark to pick up more layers and an extra pair of gloves we hunted the streets of Berlin for Curry 61 which various people had cited as the best Currywurst in the city. It’s heartburn on a cardboard tray, but it’s not surprising that it’s a local delicacy when it’s both mouthwatering and cheap as chips.
The cold forced us to seek shelter in a cafe on Unter Den Linden after meandering through a local park and past the very impressive Humboldt University, where we refuelled with yet another hot drink whilst figuring out the game plan for the rest of the day. On the way back to hotel for our daily afternoon nap we stopped in at Pandora where I picked up a charm to commemorate the trip and checked out the make up on offer in a local drugstore. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe before making a beeline for KaDeWe so I could grab a bag of my beloved spaetzle to take home.
Annoyingly, I’d ended up with a crippling migraine which is all too common for me after travelling so yet again we headed back to the hotel to chill out before dinner. After hunting through various supermarkets and drugstores to find some sort of pain relief our very helpful receptionist pointed us in the direction of a pharmacy which is where I realised that my purse had been taken from my bag. Pretty heartbreaking, but luckily there wasn’t much in it aside from a few euros, my driving license and my bank card which can easily be replaced. It could have been so much worse, so I’m just glad that I’m safe and I still have the rest of my valuables in tact.
Despite the setback and the inevitable tears I managed to get a quick half hour of sleep which helped me fend off my lingering migraine for long enough to head out for a brilliant steak at Gaffel Haus and some cocktails in the impressive Sony Centre.
Before long, it was time to head back to the hotel so we were ready bright and early in the morning for our flight home. Sigh.
TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS
- Berlin has an amazingly efficient public transport system that puts Glasgow to shame. Pick up a WelcomeCard to cover your travel on buses, trams, trains and the underground and you’re good to go.
- Apps such as Citymapper and Yelp make navigating a new city a total breeze. It really helped us figure out the public transport system, find amazing restaurants and decode which attractions were really worth visiting.
- If you want to visit the dome in the Reichstag you need to book ahead. It can be done on the day, but they recommend doing it in advance.
- Whilst it’s pretty warm in the summer, Berlin gets seriously cold in the winter. We’re talking -10 here. Take lots and lots of layers.
- Like many major cities, pick pockets are rife so make sure to look after your belongings properly. I wore my bag under my jacket and tried to ensure it was always zipped, but I still had my purse stolen.
- A lot of Berlin is under construction or being renovated at the moment, so cranes are a pretty common sight. It’s annoying, but part of it’s modern/historical mash up charm.
- Unsurprisingly beer is very easy to find in Berlin, but if like me you’re not a big beer fan then you’ll find plenty of brilliant cocktail bars. Water in Germany is typically served sparkling, so be clear to avoid any confusion. The tap water is drinkable, which is a plus!
- Berlin is home to amazing classical architecture alongside some more modern marvels, as well as a splattering of seriously impressive street art. It’s an incredible mix of culture and obviously houses a lot of history, so there’s plenty to see and do in the city.