Travel With Me: Berlin
On Friday I got back from a week in Berlin! My cousin Devin and I went to visit our other cousin, Nolan who has been living in Germany for the past few years. It was honestly a random trip for us - last Black Friday, Delta Airlines was having a huge sale so we ended up getting round-trip flights for $480! Can't beat that! Within the day, our flights were booked! Our spur of the moment idea finally arrived, and we were able to visit him!
In this post I'm going to share a breakdown of our week - what we did and where we ate, drank and shopped. Since we of course couldn't fit everything in Berlin in just a week, I'll be compiling resources and other recommendations in another post coming soon!
Day 1 | Saturday
We arrived Saturday morning off of a red eye flight from SEA - CDG then CDG - TXL in the morning. Carrying our massive bags, we took the U-Bahn and a bus to my cousin's place. It was beyond windy, so we were a hilarious sight fighting the wind down the streets of Berlin. Off to a great start!
Our first stop after getting the keys to our AirBnB in Kreuzberg was coffee! The Visit is a beautiful, modern space. They have just enough food options, including avocado toast - yum! We did learn though that restaurants around Berlin don't regularly offer ice. Most coffee shops will still have iced drinks on the menu, but may not be actually offering them until later in the season. So don't be fooled, like I was by ordering nitros and iced coffee everywhere only to have to default to filter. I guess it's an excuse to go back in the summer, right?
After exploring a bit around the neighborhood and hanging at our cousin's apartment, we went for craft beers at Lager Lager followed by cocktails at Thelonious Bar. Despite being tired from traveling, there was nothing better than to catch up with the cousins and prep for the exciting week ahead! The three of us cousins haven't all lived in the same city since we were kids, so it's always special to get to spend extended periods of time together.
Day 2 | Sunday
Just like here in Seattle, Sundays are for markets! We headed to Markthallen 9 for a Jewish street food festival. The three of us shared latkes and eggs benedict - which are unsurprisingly hard to eat out of a paper tray. The beautiful space was packed with vendors and people roaming between carts. Directly outside of the market is Cafe 9 where we stopped for a quick coffee before sight seeing!
After a quick subway ride, we emerged to walk around Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish Memorial and the Reichstag Building. I've been to Berlin two times before, so I was able to visit museums, memorials and concentration camps, so this trip we didn't visit as many. I'll include my recommendations for historical visits in an upcoming post!
After site seeing, we grabbed dinner at Zola Pizza and then went to a a concert at Musik & Frieden. We saw Grails, a group from Portland, so it was great to see a Pacific Northwest group play so far from home! Nolan co-founded a new English-language music publication in Berlin, Schmutz. They share upcoming shows, album reviews and playlists. If you're wanting to go to a concert while there, definitely use them as a resource!
Day 3 | Monday
Nolan was back to work on Monday, so Devin and I did a bit more sight seeing before meeting up him. We visited the East Side Gallery, which is the longest standing piece of the Berlin Wall followed by Checkpoint Charlie, which was the entrance into the American area of West Berlin from East Berlin.
If you're visiting Berlin for the first time, I'd recommend doing a walking tour to get your bearings and to hear the amazing history of the city. When I first came, I did the Sandeman's tour which is "free" and you just have to tip the guide. I've used this brand in Copenhagen, Prague and some other cities and they've all been great!
We headed to Father Carpenter for coffee which is in a beautiful courtyard in Mitte which is one of the nicest areas of Berlin. There's a ton of great shopping around, which we do on Wednesday, so stay tuned!
For dinner we went to DALUMA for some healthy dining options! We got juices and bowls. My bowl, Coal and the Greens, was amazing with quinoa, avocado, blueberries, broccoli, asparagus, bib lettuce and some dark hummus that I'm not quite sure exactly what it was. I had found this spot on an Instagram deep-dive which looking for places in Berlin. It was aesthetically beautiful on Instagram, and it definitely lived up to expectations in reality!
Day 4 | Tuesday
Nolan had another day off, so we headed to Potsdam which is about an hour S-Bahn ride out of the city. We did make a pit stop though in Schöneberg for the supposed best currywurst in Berlin: Witty's. I'm not a currywurst connoisseur enough to know if it's the best best, but it was definitely delicious! If you don't go to Germany without getting a currywurst you're truly missing out in my opinion. If you can't tell, most of our trip was centered around food!
Once in Potsdam, we headed to Museum Barberini to check out the Impressionists, but other plans were in store because it was closed! We were super bummed and ended up walking around the town and to Frederick the Great's summer palace, Sanssouci. It was beautiful and reminded me of smaller version of Vienna's Schönbrunn palace with it's yellow exterior. The building and grounds itself are impressive, but I'm sure in later spring or summer it would be even more magnificent once the flowers and foliage come in!
We headed back to Berlin and had ourselves some burgers at The Bird for dinner.
Day 5 | Wednesday
Since we weren't able to visit the Impressionist museum on Tuesday, Devin and I were in the mood to finally see some art! We headed to Museum Island which is home to four of Berlin's amazing art galleries and museums.
First, we visited the Pergamon which is home to the Ishtar Gate which was one of the entrances to Babylon. This museum also houses the Pergamon Alter, a fantastic Islamic Art exhibit. The colorful tile around the museum brings me back to Lisbon with it's vibrancy.
Second up was the Alte Nationalgalerie or Old National Gallery. Filled with portraits and paintings, the museum houses many international and German artists. I'd visited the Pergamon on both of my other visits to Berlin, but I've never gone to the Alte Nationalgalerie before, so this was a treat!
After a much needed coffee when we were done roaming the museum halls, we headed back to Mittte for another round of shopping. Right off of the U-Bahn was Sodabooks, and adorable book store with a broad selection. They had a ton of great Berlin travel books and magazines, so if you need some inspo when you first get to town, this might be a good first stop. I got two notebooks, one palm print and the other with parrots - too cute!
Once Nolan was off of work, we met up at Schwammerl for some traditional German grub! We got a pretzel plate, beer and goulash. This was the German meal I had been waiting for!
Day 6 | Thursday
Our last day came so quickly. Before we knew it, we only had one day left in Berlin. For breakfast, we headed to Cabslam for some American eggs benny and coffee to start our day. We didn't have a ton left on our list, so we did more roaming around town, collecting souvenirs and shopping.
Voo Store had it all with beautiful clothes, accessories and home goods as well as a coffee shop. Everything was pricey, but great eye candy if you weren't in the mood to spend a lot.
For dinner on our last night, the three of us headed to Ali Baba (Krossener Str. 17) where we got the best hummus, falafel, veggie & kebab platter. Having eaten our way through Berlin, this was definitely a fantastic final meal! We then met up with Nolan's friends for a final farewell beer before we headed out on a 6 am flight home!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my week in Berlin! Since I wasn't able to do everything during our week in Berlin, I'll be writing a separate post with recommendations for places to eat and things to do!
Have you been to Berlin before? Comment below with some of your favorite spots!