Saturday, 20 May 2017

Hobbit Encounters | 72 Hours in Berlin

'Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.' 

Who doesn't love a mini break? A couple of months a go myself and a couple of friends decided we wanted a break from day to day life and decided to go off for a long weekend to Berlin. It had been on my travel bucket list for a while and whilst everyone in the country seems to be jetting off to Berlin at the moment, we knew it would mean we be able to find plenty of inspiration for places to go and things to do.

We hadn't all been together in the same place for a good couple of years so we took the opportunity to enjoy some much needed catch ups, some rest & relaxation and an injection of exploration.


We opted to stay in an apartment found through Airbnb. We toyed with the idea of staying in a hostel, but decided for only a bit extra money that we would rather have an entire apartment to ourselves where we could come and go as we please. Our apartment was situated in Kreuzberg, an area which seemed to have plenty going on and was easily accessible.

Day 1.

Our first proper day in Berlin consisted of a lie in and a chilled breakfast as we had all arrived quite late the night before. Once we had got ourselves ready we headed out in search of our first spot; the Berlin Wall. Our apartment was situated around the corner from the famous East Side Gallery. I'd seen the murals and street art before on Instagram, but there is nothing quite like seeing it in the flesh, such amazing art work. The street art is a feature we noticed a lot round the city, the pop of colour dotted around is a nice contrast to the quite dark architecture.

We also decided to visit the Jewish memorial, I did a lot of research on the Holocaust during my degree and I'm always intrigued to learn more and pay my respects so I knew I wanted to visit. It was a beautiful and incredibly poignant memorial and an important reminder of the history.

One of the things we were most excited about was seeing what vegan food was on offer, we decided to head to Zeus' a vegan Pizzeria for dinner. I opted for a mushroom and 'cheese' pizza and boy was it delicious, one of the things I miss most about being vegan is a proper cheesy pizza, I could barely taste the difference with this pizza, it was so good. I'm practically drooling now thinking about it.

After dinner we decided to head back into Kreuzberg for a couple of drinks, there are so many bars to choose from around that area and once it's dark the atmosphere is truly buzzing.

Day 2.

After nursing some pretty nasty hangovers, we ventured to Gesundbrunnen Flea Market, to look for some knick knacks, tourist tatt and souveniers. I left with 3 beautiful rings, some Berlin patches for my denim jacket, a jazzy flannel shirt and a lot less money than I went with. It was a really cool market to potter around, there was so many amazing vintage items that I would have 100% picked up if I'd have had the money and the luggage space.

We then journeyed to the Jewish Museum which I insisted we go to, I'd heard that it was really interesting. There were some really amazing sculpture and art installations, mixed with some really interesting factual displays. There were parts which I found incredibly moving, but also very upsetting. I would 100% recommend going if you are in Berlin, especially if you find Holocaust and Jewish history interesting.

We left the museum feeling incredibly moved, but also quite heavy hearted - it was quite an intense experience. That, mixed with tiredness and hangovers meant that we kind of just wanted a relaxed evening in. So we donned our pjs, put on Netflix and ordered some vegan burgers and sweet potato fries. Thank you Deliveroo. At around midnight we decided we didn't want to waste our final night in Berlin so we had a few pre-drinks and headed back out into town for a very heavy night indeed.

Day 3

Luckily we didn't have to leave our Airbnb until 3pm so we managed to fit in a morning of sightseeing. We headed to Brandenburg Tor and the Reichstag Building for some photo ops. It was cool to see and tick them off the list, but it wasn't the highlight of the trip.

We stopped off for brunch at a cute little cafe and indulged in a falafal ciabatta and a slice of Oreo cake - all vegan of course. On our way back to our apartment we made the most of the many old school photo booths dotted around the city and took some incredibly embarrassing photo booth pictures - so much nostalgia.

After we parted ways with our friend who lives in another part of Germany, me and my other friend decided to have a wander and see what we could find. In hindsight, carting our suitcases all over Berlin in the pouring rain wasn't our best idea, but what can you do. We stumbled across Checkpoint Charlie which I must admit I found underwhelming, the historical landmark was kind of ruined by the amount of consumerist change surrounding it. Nothing says history like a big ass McDonalds. We decided that food would be the perfect way to escape the rain so we found a vegan Thai place for a spot of late lunch/early dinner. We then had some time to kill before we had to head to the airport and we found ourselves in a rather fancy spot with some cool looking bars so we stopped for a pre-flight cocktail or two. I'm genuinely surprised we didn't get asked to leave, we looked so scruffy in our plane clothes, drenched from the rain and lugging around 2 suitcases. We then got the U-Bahn (which is so unbelievably easy to navigate by the way) to the airport.

It was nice to go an experience all the tourist attractions and tick them off the list, whilst heading off the beaten track a bit. I would love to go back again to just be completely free to wander and explore with no real concrete plan. I also want to find more restaurants and bars to visit, as 3 vegans we were so pleasantly surprised by the amount of food that was available to us as this is so often not the case. I would thoroughly recommend Berlin to everyone, it is such a cool city, there is so much going on, everyone is so friendly and I can guarantee you will never be bored.

It was a wonderful 72 hours in Berlin, I look forward to going back one day, and am intrigued to see where my next travel adventures will take me. 

Have you been to Berlin?
Where is your ultimate city break destination?

Speak Soon
Char xx 

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