Besides the wonderful sunny weather – the city was full on green and sunshine – the best part of being in Berlin was the nice company of friends who joined us from Amsterdam.
Some of them were so acquainted to Berlin, that we didn`t see the need of making any plans for this trip. We simply knew that together we were going to experience the best of what the city had to offer.
Here are some notes and photos for each of our four days (and a half!) in Berlin!
- Arriving in Berlin on Friday afternoon and checking into our sunny loft on Warschauer Straße, in the heart of Berlin`s Friedrichshain neighbourhood.
- Our first walk down the streets of Friedrichshain reminded us why we were missing Berlin so much: wide pavements shadowed by trees, unpretentious terraces, colourful buildings, interesting people to watch, the sense of space & the lack of crowds.
- Lunch and drinks with friends at what was to become our favourite terrace in the area: Kino Intimes. In between two beers, we explored the little shops along Boxhagener Straße, Kopernikus–Straße and Simon-Dach-Straße.
- After lunch walk to Kreuzberg, just over the Oberbaumbrücke, searching for the perfect shoe shop, which was unfortunately closed.
- Dinner with friends at Sauvage (Prenzlauer Berg location) – “the first Paleo restaurant in the world: free of grains, gluten, refined sugar, dairy or vegetable oils”.
- Finally arriving at our destination for the evening: Chalet in Kreuzberg, where a friend of ours was spinning some records, and having drinks by the camp fire in the club`s courtyard, in the smell of cherry blossom.
- After a long night out, day 2 started nice and easy, with currywurst and beer at the Saturday market in Boxhagener Platz, Friedrichshain.
- We then wanted to go to the park and relax, probably listen to some karaoke, as they use to do in Berlin. So we walked all the way to Treptower Park, across the Spree river. Unlike Mauer Park (where they do play karoke and have picnics on the grass), Treptower was just the opposite: from among the symmetrically aligned poplar trees, the Soviet Memorial was casting its solemnity, inviting for reflection and contemplation. Some teenage girls were shooting a video in front of the granite edifice. We left the peaceful – almost surreal – location the moment a big group of tourists arrived.
- Back to the lively streets of Friedrichshain, we stopped for lunch and beer at Kino Intimes.
- Saturday evening (ironically) found us on Sonntagstraße, at Chapel – the amazing cocktail bar near Ostkreuz. I had a Monkey 47 and a London no. 3. I was totally crazy about the latter.
- Craving for “Fisch und Chips”, we all ended up eating falafel at a place nearby. Some of us returned to Chapel, others went clubbing; we went straight to the loft and called it a day.
- Delicious brunch at Goodies on Warschauer Straße – just across from where we we staying – followed by saying goodbye to all our friends, who were returning to Amsterdam.
- After all the partying and drinking in East Berlin, we decided it was about time to go towards the Center and see some art! So we took a friend`s suggestion and went to see “ZERO” at Martin-Gropius-Bau. Unfortunately, we hadn`t make any reservation and so we could not get in. We went to “Topography of Terror” instead, which was hard to digest, yet it brought us face to face with the story of Berlin.
- We spent the entire afternoon in the West and got all touristy at Potsdamer Plats, Brandenburger Tor, Unter den Linden and Friedrichstraße. In comparison with East Berlin, the West appeared as rather strange with its modern yet austere architecture, impersonal cafes and terraces, and with its neverending crowds of tourists (including us).
- U2-Bahn took us back to the East, this time to our most beloved of Berlin`s neighbourhoods – Prenzlauer Berg: “Zug nach Pankow. Einsteigen bitte! Zurückbleiben bitte!” (“Train to Pankow. Step in, please! Remain on the platform, please.”). Here we had an amazing, unforgettable dinner on the terrace at Lorbeer – a restaurant I warmly recommend. The food was so good, the wine so attentively selected and I had the best crème brûlée ever, plus some of the best service. It was actually hard to leave the place!
- Beautiful walk at sunset in quaint and picturesque Prenzlauer Berg: Pappelallee, Kulturbrauerei , Kollwitzplatz, Prenzlauer Allee… all the way to Alexanderplatz, where an U/S-Bahn took us back to Friedrichshain.
- The day started in Mitte with a big brunch at Barcomi`s, on beautiful Sophienstraße, a place we had first visited on a previous trip to Berlin.
- We then walked to Museum Island and stepped inside the impressive Pergamonmuseum, which displays original and massive pieces of architecture from the Ancient Near East (Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way from Babylon), and beautiful (decorative) works of Ancient Islamic Art.
- We thought of continuing with a walk down the Kurfürstendamm – one of the most famous avenues in Berlin – but the U/S-Bahn connections to get us there were so complicated, that we eventually gave up the idea. We found ourselves in Prenzlauer Berg once again and this time went for a cup of coffee at praised-by-all Bonanza Coffee Roasters. We definitely loved both the coffee and the place!
- S-Bahn back to Ostkreuz and there we were, finally at the “Fisch und Chips” place in Friedrichschain!
- Back to the loft, we wanted to make plans for day 5. We then realized our flight back to Amsterdam was early in the afternoon the following day, so we spent the rest of the evening packing. 🙂
- Brunching once again at Goodies and ordering exactly the same bagel and coffee as two days before – that`s how good this place was!
- Walk + U-Bahn + S-Bahn + bus to Tegel airport – that`s how “lovely” connections in Berlin are! 🙂
Until next time, hopefully in the same lovely company and with the same wonderful weather!