When you travel, you'll invariably drift towards a particular country more often than others. For us, that is Germany.
Berlin was our third trip to Duestchland in 3 months and we absolutely cannot get enough of Germany! (Check out our Nuremberg and Munich blog posts for our other 2 trips - opens in a new window)
A very close friend of ours Sanjita and her partner (now fiancé) Dhinush were visiting London from Sydney. As part of their holiday, we traveled with them over the weekend to Berlin.
I don't know where to begin with this crazy city! If London hadn't worked out for us, we would have moved to Berlin - we love it so much!
Berlin reminds me of Melbourne with its funky graffiti filled lanes, under-ground music culture and amazing food! If Berlin was a person it would be this hipster dude with dreadlocks, wearing this weird colourful oversized jumper and skinny black jeans.
Berlin was at the centre of the war and all of us being very interested in history and especially World War 2, we visited the Reichstag, Branderberg Gate, checkpoint Charlie and of course the Berlin Wall (what remains of it at East Side Gallery).
For lunch we walked all the way from Branderberg Gate to this small pub called Georg Braeu Brauhaus on the riverside. The pub was iconically German, with its own brewery and traditional German food. The food was absolutely delicious and we washed it down with the smoothest beer we've ever had. Seriously, you need to go just for the beer! (We tried both, the dark and the light Dunkel but preferred the light).
We decided to walk to Hitlers bunker and the Jewish Memorial after lunch. An uneasy feeling sweeps over you as you walk past the uneven almost chaotic grey pillars at the Jewish memorial. We felt a bit odd about taking photos here - are we meant to smile? Not to smile? Either way, it was overwhelming to walk through this and I would highly recommend visiting the site.
On the other hand, Hitlers bunker has now been turned into a park with everyday apartment blocks around it. A small non-conspicuous sign is mounted to the side giving details about the bunker. It isn’t treated with any significance and isn’t made a big deal of. It’s really underwhelming and can be skipped if you wish!
We then headed from the centre of the town towards the East to see the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery.
The Wall is quite long (almost about a 2km stretch!) decorated with graffiti and artwork all the way through.
At East Side gallery, we stumbled upon this artist in a van and I was fascinated by his work. All he used was pen and acrylic sealant. I knew Natalia would appreciate his artwork and we got her his work titled “Stupid Love”. To be honest, “Love at first sight” would probably have been a better title!
After a few more photos, we headed back in town for some dinner and drinks :)
There’s a massive Turkish influence in Berlin and middle eastern street food is meant to be amazing! We had been recommended to try kebabs in Berlin by practically everyone that has been before. Perhaps, it was just our luck, but the kebab place we chose (right in the heart of Alexanderplatz), was strictly ok. I’m pretty sure we get better kebabs in Auburn!
After dinner, we headed out on an adventure to find Dr. Pongs! In 2013, Shankar and his mates had stumbled upon this bar when they were on their Euro-trip. Basically, Dr. Pongs is just a room with a ping pong table in the middle. All you do is, grab a racket, grab a drink and you play one giant game of ping pong with everyone as you walk around the table. If you miss, you sit out. Eventually it filters down to only 2 people - one of them wins and then it starts all over again. Dr. Pongs is a bit hard to find - it isn’t one of those mainstream hipster places! This is proper hipster. It is in the middle of no where with no sign on the door hidden between two apartment buildings. The only way we found the place was because someone opened the door as we were looking for it and we could hear the house music coming through for that 2 seconds whilst the door was open! It was such a crazy bar - full of graffiti, people casually smoking joints and just having a good time playing ping pong. Will definitely recommend!
The next day, we headed out to see Check-point Charlie, the American sector between East and West Berlin. We walked past an art gallery and it was fascinating to see from old photos that during the war, right opposite the gallery were the hidden offices of the S.S!
We wanted to swing past the German War Museum as Shankar on his last visit here had loved it! It is quite close to Check Point Charlie but we were all getting hungry and we decided to skip the museum to go get lunch instead.
We took a bus ride all the way to the West of the city past Tier gardens to a small quaint cafe called Wintergarden Literature House. You know me and my instagram-able cafes ;)
This cafe was an oasis in the middle of a shopping district! Just off the main road, on a quite side street, nestled between bright orange and yellow autumn trees is a beautiful restaurant! Despite being slightly cold, the sun was shining bright and we opted to sit outside in the garden. It was a leisurely afternoon spent with a bottle of white wine, tasty quinoa burgers and pumpkin soups! Highly recommended!
Before heading back to the airport, we had about an hour to kill. We headed back to Brandedberg gate and decided to sit down right in the middle of the cobbled path way and people watch! We must have started a trend - because a whole bunch of people starting to sit down and join us as well! :) We could have easily sat there until the sun went down but unfortunately had to go back to our hotel to pick up our bags and head home.
We’ve done a fair few weekend away trips now but this was the first time we both felt that a weekend in Berlin wasn’t enough! There was so much more we wanted to see and we could have easily spend another 2-3 days in the city without getting bored.
More than the city, what was amazing about this weekend away, was that we had so much fun with Sanjita and Dhinush. They are super easy to travel with and always up for anything! As I'm writing this post, I miss them and can't wait for them to move to London soon so we can do many more of these trips with them :)
Lots of love
V & S
Have you been to Berlin?
What was your favourite part? Any recommendations? Comment below and let us know :)