Whenever I come to Berlin I want to stay in Berlin. There is something about this city giving me a sense of belonging. Perhaps it’s the imperfections reminding me of my hometown Bucharest, the people, the freedom, the diversity… I guess it is a little bit of everything.
I like the feeling of space in Berlin – large pavements peppered with laid back cafes, bars, and restaurants, generous apartments with high ceilings and balconies, parks where the vegetation grows wild.
I like how different one neighbourhood is compared to the other. They say Berlin is two cities into one. I say it is a patchwork of cityscapes, moods, and feelings. Now you are in upscale Charlottenburg, then you cross the run-down bridge at Warschauer Straße, in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The diversity of this city is mind-blowing.
One of my favourite things to do in Berlin is buy a beer from the shop – there are plenty of shops selling drinks only – and enjoy it in the park or wherever I feel like. The view of Berliners carrying with absolute nonchalance an open bottle of beer as they walk down the street or when in the public transport is something only a foreigner finds worrying. Here this is part of daily life. This is what you do when you don’t want to spend money at a terrace yet still have a drink out, alone or with friends. Because who needs hotspots when the city itself is so appealing? This attitude of not spending money on unnecessary luxuries yet still enjoying life is what makes Berlin so special.
It has been the first time we stayed in Mitte, more precisely at Rosenthaler Platz. The plethora of places to hang out along the Weinbergsweg and the streets around the square kept us in the area for longer than we had predicted. Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood – including the atmospheric Kastanienallee – was a short walk away. We only left Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg to go to Friedrichshain, and we only left the East to go to Tiergarten for both shopping and a visit to the Helmut Newton Foundation. It is on this crossing from one side to the other, from East to West, that one realises just how big Berlin is. It might take half an hour on the U-Bahn, but it does put things in perspective.
I will come back with a post on our favourite places to eat and drink in Berlin, but for the time being here are some photos taken during our strolls through Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, and Friedrichshain.