Berlin, the city that very nearly broke me but I still adored.
After catching a 3.5 hour flight from Malaga, we arrived in a cold and dark Berlin on the Friday evening. We instantly regretted not having working out how to transport ourselves from the airport to our AirBnb accommodation with neither myself or Alejandro being able to properly speak German to any degree of fluency.
Our Airbnb was located in the ‘trendy and cool’ area of Kreuzberg (a 1 minute walk from the Görlitzer Straße metro stop) and was filled with quirky objects that kept us fascinated for the entire stay. I thanked myself for having researched good areas in Berlin, because Kreuzberg ended up being perfect. It was filled with loads of bars, cafes, restaurants and loads of graffiti, everything was on our door step.
The first night we ate a kebab (travel isn’t always glamour) and passed out after drinking a couple of German beers. In the morning, after a quick TripAdvisor search, we headed to Restaurant Bastard (I was equally as confused as you are now). The search paid off as it was actually really nice. Each table had a little candle on it and the food was really nice. I had the salmon and eggs and Alejandro had eggs with goats cheese and honey. The staff were really friendly also which was a massive plus. They spoke English as well as the menu being in English and German too!
We then set out to see as much stuff as humanly possible. We boarded the metro (they have a 7.7€ day ticket for the metro – although, there are no barriers or inspectors so you could probably just not pay if you didn’t want to). We started off at the Brandenburg Gate where we actually saw a woman being proposed to (which is always nice to see – she said yes, by the way).
A super short walk from the gate (walk under it and walk left), we visited the Memorial the to the Murdered Jews. Essentially a grave-yard like area with around 2,711 concrete, coffin-esque slabs. They grow in size the deeper you enter into you the maze of tombs and are based on uneven ground so it feels like the slabs are going to fall on to you.
We also made a point of heading over the road into the park to visit the Memorial of Murdered / Persecuted Homosexuals. A singular and large grey slab lays on the edge of the park. Roses laid outside and inside and a looped video of gays in Berlin kissing plays. It was slightly upsetting visiting both of these memorials, especially the homosexuality one. Alejandro and I then spent some time afterwards discussing homosexuality and our difference experiences of it and how it must have been so incredibly different for others not that long ago.
Another place which I think is definitely worth a visit is the Jewish Museum. This is a massive museum in which you could spend hours upon hours learning about Jewish history etc. We rushed through a bit of it (this place is seriously massive – you could be there all day) but with discounted tickets for students, it definitely worth heading down. In one section, there is a vast unheated room a single hole at the top. When you go inside, its meant to simulate the feelings of entrapment and hopeless which many Jews felt within the Nazi regime and within the concentration camps. In stark contrast, another part of the museum was a very comical art exhibition called “A Muslim, a Jew and a Christian..”. I’ve left one image below for you to get a taster of it – it was seriously great.
After all this cultural intake, we had built up quite the appetite so headed back to the neighbourhood where we were staying and checked out Kreuzburger. We both went for the Berliner burger (burger, cheese, speck ham and a weird white german sausage), one with fries and one with mozzarella sticks. It was seriously seriously good albeit a little of the pricey side. If my memory serves me correctly, it was about 26-7€ for everything.
Straight afterwards, we decided to cram in one more thing before we headed back to chill and get ready for that evening. Our AirBnb was a short 7 minute train ride away from the East Side Gallery (a section of the Berlin wall which has now been converted into an art gallery of sorts). It was a lot longer than I expected and generally a lot more impressive than I first imagined. It was filled with some really interesting art work and a lot of funny/political tagging. I went a little snapper happy when I was there so below are some of my favourites from what I saw.
That night, we took our AirBnbs host recommendation and went to a local Italian place called De Noantri. They had the biggest range of pizzas I have ever seen in my life and the ones we ordered were amazing. The beer was reasonably price too and the place was packed – obviously a popular choice for locals. A nice little touch was an Argentinean man playing guitar in the background, it was all very very lovely.
Then we headed to another of our Airbnb host’s recommendations and it was another great choice on her part. Lerchen & Eulen was a very darkly lit bar, filled with red roses in vases and 100’s of candles. The whole place was brimming with people chatting and smoking (smoking was allowed inside) with a little music on in the background. The drinks were reasonably prices (about 5€ for a G&T and around 2€ for beers). It was very hard to find a seat (we only managed to get one as we waited outside and saw someone leaving). It was a really cool bar indeed!
That concludes part 1 of my Berlin blog – part 2 coming very soon.