So this Sunday, J and I are going on our first city break together and where better to go than Berlin! I am way too excited about drowning myself in beer, currywurst and some good ole fashioned house music. We are staying at the amazing nHow hotel, complete with musical room service and neon decorations. We also managed to bag some flights straight from Glasgow Intl which is a tasty bonus as we live nearby and the thought of having to drive down to Prestwick gave me a bit of the boak.
J has visited Berlin before so he has a good idea of where he’d like to visit but to be honest I do feel a little overwhelmed. We are staying in Friedrichshain beside the River Spree in what looks like a modern, hipster, techno paradise; Berghain is very nearby as well as Pirates where Ellen Allien did her iconic Boiler Room set in 2013 and I am keen to visit Else. Kreuzberg is just over the bridge and we plan on buying travel passes so will S-bahning our way around in no time!
Of course I want to visit the wall, the Reichstag building and Checkpoint Charlie as well as a fair few museums; we can’t go to one of the most culturally diverse areas of Europe and not have a swatch at some modern art. Berlin has an incredible range of bars and restaurants to visit with foods from all walks of life, as well as horde of vegetarian and vegan joints such as Yellow Sunshine Burger, The Bowl, Yoyo Foodworld and Cookies Cream to name a few. Being a beer lover, I am excited to try a few local beers as well as some microbrewery and craft ale varieties.
We are both taking small 10kg suitcases with us and I am already fretting beyond compare about what clothes to pack. The weatherman says it’ll be 17oC which, depending if it’s cloudy or not, could be a pretty warm day or a wet and windy one, so I’m not sure what to bring. I needed an excuse to by a new jacket, which is lucky, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be factor 50 weather or “I should have brought my winter coat” time.
I think the biggest problem I’m having just now is decided what to do during my 72 hours in Berlin. There are literally so many things we could do and I am hurriedly trying to make a plan of places to visit, food to eat and sites to see, to not much avail. Everyone is telling me to “relax” and “just enjoy Berlin!” to which I smile and nod when inside I am screaming at the lack of planning or knowing where to start. It’s an added bonus that, unlike me, J has visited before and is very laid back about these things so I know it will be an enjoyable few days away and that I don’t need to be all efficient and ruthless about a schedule. Besides, I know when I calm my shit down and have a beer and some tasty, vegetarian Berlin food I’ll get into the swing of it and just enjoy this new experience. Besides, I am finding it hard to wade through the many, many articles that have recommendations for places to see and things to do, useful may they be.
I have to be honest and admit that one of the reasons I’m keen to learn as much about the local area as possible is because we are looking to move abroad. Germany is high on our list with Berlin sitting at the top, with Canada coming a very close setting. Of course, we will need to see what the outcome of the EU referendum will be as that will inevitably have an effect on our immigration plans but I want to try and suss out what is a very attractive area of Berlin and what it could offer us should we choose to move there. That discussion is for another time.
Have to been to Berlin? Leave a comment with your recommendations or tweet me at @L_aitken