An Ode to Berlin | Travel Diary

Last week Kyle and I visited Berlin for 4 nights; my first time, his second. It definitely wasn't love at first sight - it's not the prettiest of cities so if you're going for the architectural brilliance, you might feel a little let down. Industrial, practical vibes through and through, It is however, the city with perfect culture. Despite spending half the time limping with swollen ankles and blistered feet; getting soaked in a 30 minute monsoon, it feels like I found my soulmate and being away from your one true love is a little tough on the old ticker. 

Firstly, I don't recommend taking a brand new pair of trainers that you haven't yet tested on a long city break. Those things are going to rub and you'll need a hell of a supply of blisters to get you through especially when you're OH decides to take the wrong exit out of the train station and your journey to your Airbnb doubles...

My bitterness aside, we stayed in a quintessentially Berlin style apartment (not the Instagrammable palace that some would like) with a death trap mezzanine and all the quirky trinkets one can think of. It was rustic with the ultimate laid back style - our dream. Located in Alt Treptow, walking distance from the famous Kreuzberg featuring weekend street parties and 24/7 bakeries. 

Our first main day involved walking over 11km exploring Berlin's city centre districts including the wonderful and disorientating Holocaust memorial, ridiculously busy Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and the contents of every German supermarket. The Berlin Wall wasn't too shabby either - I'm partial to a bit of historical, meaningful street art.

It was great to see veganism taken seriously there, a country known for their pork consumption, with dedicated restaurants and kiosks and the Veganz supermarket giving ever. Fear not, fellow cruelty free veterans. There were plenty of ice cream alternatives too - sorbet popsicles seemed to be a Kreuzberg special and the choices were endless; and all delicious. Unfortunately I hugely failed at taking any food shots - I was either too hungry, or you worthy background issues. We only had one meal out during our time there on the last night, an Indian, which was delicious of course. We simply filled ourselves up on bits here and there including salads, chocolate and our old friend, bread. Probably why we only ended up spending a total of 160 Euro.

Berlin being Berlin and us staying in a fairly alternative area, I kept the clothing choices fairly casual and practical. We had a couple days of 27 degrees + followed by a few cooler ones so those trainers and sandals were well loved.

Casual, practical wear is also a must for the techno scene. The clubs famous for strict entry; it's all about dressing low key, not for attention and that you're there for the music. Black trainers, jeans and a tee is all you need. Being avid techno followers, Kyle and I were all over this, opted for Tresor and despite getting drenched on the way there, we smugly watched 20 'lads' getting turned away wearing shirts and jumpers. Do your research, people. Highly recommend the club - it's huge capacity and dark tunnels with plenty of seating combined with the no knob head rule, I liked. Unfortunately, I have the stamina of a 72 year old, so 4am was it for me, unlike most locals who stay out for the duration (Friday - Sunday). Just remember things don't really kick off until after 1, but get in the queue by 12:15. 

Going for four nights was the right call mainly for the fact we needed to rest our feet and catch some Zzzz's for the entire Saturday. Unlike Budapest, we kept this trip a little more laid back and I enjoyed living in the moment a bit more rather than through the camera lens. What I found so interesting about Berlin that you rarely saw people lingering on their phones or taking pictures of their pizzas. It was a little refreshing and almost gave me a time to reflect on what's really important - it almost reset everything in my head. I loved every aspect of the culture and tried to soak everything up.

There isn't that bright, clinical sheen to everything it's real - people socialising to socialise, not be seen at the latest bar Snapchatting the entire night. Bars and kiosks open all hours, but no obnoxious moron shouting stumbling around or throwing up outside. There was a level of respect for their city you only witness in other European countries. Littering just didn't exist except you're expected to place your finished glass bottles on the ground for people to forrest and recycle for money. The fact that drinking outside is legal yet the environment is clean with no smashed glass just sums up how they're doing it right. I can't wait to go back. We didn't even see an eighth of what there is to offer, but I know I want more.

Have you been to Berlin? What were your thoughts?


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