Follow me to Germany!
Last November, Nick and I took our first trip since moving to Sweden in October. We flew from Copenhagen, Denmark to Berlin, Germany to meet an American friend of our’s. We were just in Berlin for two full days, but we were able to do and see quite a lot.
Let’s dive into the recommendations.
Where to Eat: Berlin is an extremely affordable place to eat and drink out in.
- Berlin Burger International
This place is as Berlin as it gets. The outside is so grungy and as soon as you open the front door, a huge plume of charbroil exhaust slaps you in the face. Order at the counter and then wait outside for one of the cooks to wail your name. Then you are presented with the largest, messiest, most delicious burger of your life.
- Limonadier This trendy bar has amazing cocktails. They are known for their house infusions!
- ZIP Breakfast tapas anyone? In the grungier part of town, you and a bunch of friends can come in and try lots of small plates on the menu. My recommendation: the pancakes with carrot chutney.
- Peter Schlemihl If you try any of these recommendations, it should be this one. This is authentic German food at a cozy local place at a great price. Nick and I each got a Spaetzle (I got the Blue, he got the Allgäu – go with the Blue hands down). Spaetzle is essentially fancy mac ‘n’ cheese, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. We were the only non-Germans there and I’d highly recommend going with a local if possible, or having German downloaded on Google Translate just in case. And definitely take some time to explore the gorgeous
What to See: There is so much history in this city!
- Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park
Nick and I were enjoying a sunny but brisk walk through Treptower Park and just stumbled upon this epic memorial. Built in 1949, it is seriously huge and focuses on memorializing the 7,000+ Soviet soldiers that died in Berlin.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
I found this to be a very interesting memorial. I found its size small compared to the gravity of the genocide where over four million lives were taken. But I did appreciate the interactiveness of the memorial in being able to walk down and between the cement blocks.
- Tiergarden One thing I loved about Berlin was all of the parks. Take a stroll through Tiergarden on your way from the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe to the Brandenburg Gate.
- Brandenburg Gate Looked in the center and historical part of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate is worth stopping at. But if you aren’t already going to be in the area, it might not be worth the time (and the same goes for Check Point Charlie, I’ve heard). But I would recommend popping into the Hotel Aldon for a pretty reasonable priced breakfast (but their espresso is expensive!) in a very lovely room.
- Reichstag Building Here you can visit Parliament and perhaps even see them in session. I would highly recommend registering online in advance for a free tour of the glass dome at the top. Nick and I missed this opportunity and want to do it next time!
Haus Schwarzenberg Street Art Alley
This alley is covered in amazing street art, including a famous painting of Anne Frank by artist Jimmy C.
- Museum Island
Unfortunately, Museum Island was under some major construction when we were in town, but it is one of Berlin’s best attractions. Choose from five different museums exploring all different historical locations and eras. I’ve also heard that you should climb to the top of the dome behind me.
- The Berlin Wall Memorial
If you are in Berlin, then you must go to the Berlin Wall Memorial. You must.
- Carry Cash – Berlin is an extremely Euro-dependent society and almost all places require cash payments. You can easily withdraw Euro for the numerous ATMs with a bank card.
- Smoking in Doors – This is the only city in Germany that allows people to smoke in doors, so beware.
- Public Urination – You will see grown men peeing on the street all over the damn place.
- Metro – Be sure to validate your metro ticket before hopping on the train!
Berlin is such an interesting city. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many places and, I have to say, Berlin is a city like no other. Nick described it as Portland, Oregon on steroids, but I’d say that is still too mild a description. Angsts, creativity, grunge, individuality, art, unpredictable, history, beer. These are just some of the words I’ve come to associate with this city. There is so much energy here, and I actually found it a little intense and don’t see it as a place where I could ever live. But it was a really fun weekend, and being only a 45-minute flight away from us in Malmö, Sweden, I look forward to going back.
What are your thoughts on Berlin? Let us know below.