Wanderlust Series #4 City Break – Berlin, Germany

Hello!
It’s been a little while since I last posted in this series, namely because I haven’t been anywhere to post about…until now! So, welcome back to the Wanderlust Series, number three. We are visiting Berlin, Germany. This was my first visit to the city and it won’t be my last. I loved it there and would encourage as many people to go as I can!
In just four days we crammed in as much sightseeing as possible, went to a gig, and did a little shopping. For me, the time booked wasn’t enough, an extra couple of days wouldn’t have done any harm and we would have pretty much seen everything.
I flew with Ryanair from London Stansted, which took just 1 hour and 20 minutes. On arrival, we purchased 4 day Berlin Welcome Card with the information desk, costing €34.50 each. This covered travel on the overground, underground, trams and busses. Great value to for money, not only covering transport but provides discounts to many attractions. It is also highly convenient.
Taxi’s in Berlin weren’t expensive but they weren’t cheap either, so if you think you can master the train network, I’d highly recommend this over using a taxi.The hotel that I stayed in, Apple City Hotel, was on the west side of the city. A lovely modern hotel that was reasonably priced, very comfortable and quiet. Breakfast was included in our rate and there was a mini market/coffee shops nearby. The closest underground station was less than a 5 minute walk.

Most attractions are within 45 minutes by train, a lot are around the Alexanderplatz region and on the east side.

Berlin is such a chilled out city, the people were friendly and there is tonnes to do. Unfortunately for us, it rained 80% of the time we were there but that didn’t stop us from doing things! A lot of attractions, such as museums, are inside. The ones that are outside, don’t require a great deal of time visiting. If you’re a little bit on the alternative side of life, this city is perfect. It gives off that Camden-esq vibe. Berlin is plastered in graffiti, some is pretty shocking but it comes with the city. You’ll come across some amazing pieces of artwork throughout your visit though, so keep your eyes peeled!

As someone who didn’t pay a lot of attention in history class at school, I am ashamed to say I knew very little about the history of Berlin before I visited. However, there are some fantastic ways to learn as you’re exploring in the forms of physical objects, such as the last remaining length of the Wall, or via interactive style museums.

Language was not a problem, most people speak very good English, as opposed to me trying to speak very bad German. Most signage is multi-lingual and once you’ve got your head around the transport maps it’s fairly easy to grasp where you are going and what you are doing.

Currywurst

Food: a little disappointing if I must criticise one area of the trip. Maybe I was naive to think that the city would be full of traditional style beer houses and cafes…when in reality I was face-to-face with McDonalds and Starbucks on each corner. I managed to grab a currwurst on a couple of occasions, it’s nicer than it looks (and sounds). Currywurst is the ‘go-to’ snack in Berlin. However, I’m highly disappointed that I didn’t get a schnitzel. I did bang on about it the whole trip…
The highlight food wise for me was visiting White Trash. A restaurant recommended to me by a friend. The name is not appealing, the location is also not particularly appealing…but the burger..oh my days, burger heaven. You should check it out here.

If you like music, it may be worth checking out any gigs in the area. There’s an O2 arena and there’s a few smaller venues that play live music. I saw Stick To Your Guns at SO36 whilst there and the venue was insane. White Trash also have live music most nights.

I’ve added a list below of the attractions I would recommend. Obviously I can’t add everything, so if you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment, sending me an e-mail or Tweeting!

Top Recommendations1. East Side Gallery – 1.3km of Berlin Wall, covered top to toe in graffiti art work, best to view on a clear day and if you have time walk both sides.

2. Mauerpark Flea Market – every Sunday until 6pm (times could vary). Full of treasures, it’s huge. Great for art, clothing and nick-nacks.

3. Keiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – bombed during the second world war and partially restored. Beautiful building and interesting history.

4. Reichstag Building – visiting is free if you book online, walk to the top of the dome with your headset and hear the story of the buildings around it. Worth a visit, best on a clear sunny day.

5. Brandenburg Gate – located close to the Reichstag, draped in history and very striking and recognisable feature of the city.

6. Holocaust Memorial – free to visit, poignant and subtle.

7. Checkpoint Charlie – get your passport stamped here, visit the mini museum for €5 and learn the history of this famous crossing.

8. Alexanderplatz – Drenched in high-end retail shops, it’s kind of shopping heaven if that’s what you’re going for.

9. Berliner Dom – the largest church in the city. Beautiful architecture inside and out. Visits are allowed when services are not being held.

10. Ramones Museum – if you like the Ramones, then of course you need to visit. It’s small, it’s quirky and it sells cake and coffee…what more would you need!

There are vintage photo booths scattered around the city,usually between €2-€4 for  a strip of 4 photos. So much fun!
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