After a short stay in Prague, it was off to Berlin where I had planned to stay with a friend. After a bit of miscommunication, phones running out of credit, and a rude introduction to the U-Bahn – we met at what I later learnt was one of the more notoriously dangerous stations – we made it back to her apartment in one piece. Unfortunately she was leaving for the weekend and wouldn’t be able to guide us around Berlin, but she left a more than comprehensive insider’s guide to the city (read: a jam-packed A4 piece of paper covered in b
arely legible notes). So when I wasn’t off visiting famous monuments such as the East Side Gallery, Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag; I was living like a local in Neukölln. Unfortunately I didn’t get many photos of the ‘local’ stuff because I felt like a bit of a dork whipping out my camera while everyone was going about their day-to-day business. There were a lot of missed photo opportunities but I’m not too fussed – you can’t capture every moment.
Below are a few places to check out if you’re ever in Berlin. These were the ones I actually remembered. There were a lot of other places that I forgot to take note of. Like the slightly derelict garden that was home to a double decker bus and cafe. Or the bar I went to on a Monday night with the cool decor and cheap beers. Travelling fail, I know.
– Noewkolln Flea Markets which are on the third Sunday of each month. We timed that one pretty well. If I actually had room in my backpack I would have gone crazy buying stuff.
– Hamy Cafe for amazing and cheap Vietnamese food and fresh fruit smoothies. The daily offers are always under 5€ and they are big serves too.
– White Trash Fast Food for finger licking good (and slightly greasy) food. They also make a mean vodka and freshly squeezed lemonade. And vodka and freshly squeezed orange juice. And really strong Old Fashioneds. They even played Edward Scissor Hands on the TV at the bar! I really liked this place, in case you couldn’t already tell.
– Cinema Cafe and the adjacent alleyway (Rosenthaler Straße 39). Make sure to follow the alleyway to the very end and go up the graffiti’d staircase where you’ll find a cool bookshop. Very underground. Very Berlin. Although much to the chagrin of my friend, who is a Berlin local, even this is now apparently too touristy. I found that comment a bit ironic considering the circumstances. The shopping in this district is pretty good too.
I seriously could have spent weeks and weeks exploring Berlin. What was initially going to be a three night stay ended up lasting nearly a week. That’s how much I loved this place!