Friday, 13th July.
My friend Bryony and I packed our bags and jetted off to Berlin from Leeds Bradford airport.
Aside from the heavily irritating sound of ‘Hold my Hand’ by Jess Glynne playing repeatedly on the plane, the flight was very quick and as enjoyable as a flight can be!
We arrived in Berlin around lunch time and got the train from the airport to Ostbahnhof, where our hotel was. We stayed in an Ibis that was recommended to me and I was stunned by the value for money in the middle of July! We stayed for 3 nights and paid around £90 each, this included use of the luggage room on our last day, which came in very handy! The room was clean and comfortable and absolutely all you need for a weekend away!
We unpacked at the hotel and Bryony received an exciting phone call, she got offered a grad job! Like we weren’t already thrilled to be on holiday!? We decided to walk to Alexanderplatz and grab some food. (Walking was a big mistake in the heat.) We struggled to find somewhere straight away but eventually, we stumbled upon a self-service Italian restaurant. Let’s just say, we were typical Brits abroad in here. We had no idea what we were doing or how to order the food and to make this even better, shortly after ordering our pasta, we discovered the menu in ENGLISH. Fail. Nevertheless, the food was splendid, you just can’t beat a carbonara dish!
We headed back to the hotel and googled the area to find a good old cocktail bar. We decided to walk down towards the river along the Eastside Gallery and admire some of the incredible wall art.
We arrived at a bar called Pirates and had a few rather strong cocktails, it was a pleasant first evening in Berlin but we had booked a walking tour early the following morning so we decided to head back and catch some zzz’s.
Saturday, 14th July.
Waking up bright and early on Saturday morning, we got ready for a scorching day of exploring Berlin. I was so excited! We got the train and underground to the Brandenburg Gate, props to Bryony! She was fab at understanding the transport links over the whole weekend. Haha! We sat on a bench in the sunny square and ate the most delicious pain au chocolats from a bakery before heading over to our tour guide.
We did the SANDEMAN’S walking tour and I cannot recommend this enough! They offer free tours in various cities across Europe. For example, Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, London and so many more. There is no set payment for the tours, the guides however, really are wonderful and they live off the “tips” they receive from the tours. Our tour guide was called Mark and he was previously a History teacher. He was incredibly passionate about the history and culture of Berlin and he kept everyone engaged throughout the whole 2 and a half hours. He even extended it by 10 minutes while we were stood in Bebelplatz in Central Mitte so he could continue telling us more about the Book Burning! We saw and learned so much on this tour, I was genuinely surprised that you could pay what you could afford.
We started at the Brandenburg Gate and walked across to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe which was quite a chilling experience. We left there and saw various other sites such as:
- The site of Hitler’s bunker
- Checkpoint Charlie
- The Berlin Wall
- Pariser Platz
- Luftwaffe HQ
- The TV Tower
- The Book Burning Memorial
- Humboldt University
Here are just a few of the photos I took while we walked around with the tour group…
After thanking Mark for his wonderful tour, we stayed around the Opera State House and I got some lovely photos for my blog! The pastel pink building was ticking all my boxes…
Shoutout to Bryony for being resident photographer all weekend!
We strolled through Mitte in the sunshine and this is when I took one of my favourite photos of the weekend…
We then sat outside a restaurant by the river and shared a pizza after wandering around the market nearby where I actually purchased a lovely sunflower headscarf. We aimlessly walked around the streets and food markets where there was fresh fruit stalls and the smell of delicious hot food. Our tummies were rumbling once again and we went on a mission to find some ice cream.
Nestled away, we found Amorino which is actually an ice cream cafe chain. They had countless flavours, it was a tough choice but eventually, I settled with chocolate, vanilla, banana and strawberry. They presented it in a beautiful flower shape and oh my, was it tasty!
We knew we had to get a couple of trains that evening so we headed back to Ostbahnhof, had a much needed nap and got ready for the evening. First, we made our way to Kottbusser Tor to try out Burgermeister. No word of a lie, it was one of the tastiest burgers I have ever had the pleasure of eating! Not to mention the cheesy chips which were simply out of this world! There are two Burgermeister restaurants in Berlin so if you’re craving a “proper dirty” burger during your visit, you know where to go! My mouth is watering just thinking about it…
After eating, we went on a wild goose chase to try and find a rooftop bar on top of a multi-storey car park. We’d heard it was impossible to find so we rose to the challenge. We found it quite quickly after following a small group of people into a shopping centre lift. Now don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing place. Fairy lights lit up the rooftop and I imagine the view at sunset would be mesmerising but it was just not my scene. It was pleasant outside but because we were so high up, it was breezy and cold! We went inside and I paid €9 for the WORST glass of rosé I’ve ever had. The techno music was loud and trippy and there were so many people in such a small space! My poor anxious soul couldn’t hack it. I would love to go there again to watch the sunset though! It was called Klunkerkranich, I challenge you to find it! We stayed here until about 2am and then headed back for another good night’s sleep.
Sunday, 15th July.
Sunday was our last full day so we headed to a place called Tiergarten. It was lovely! We walked through the park and chatted away until we came across a little beer garden hidden away in the park where there was lots of benches and cute beach huts along the water. We had a bite to eat here and soaked up some rays before wandering back through the park.
We found a bridge that was filled with padlocks. They always make me smile. I’m such a hopeless romantic so my mind goes into overdrive and I start to think about all the stories behind the padlocks. How did the couple meet? When did they realise they were in love? I actually wrote a poem about it…
We went back to get ready and got the train to a place called Am Falkplatz which had the most stunning buildings I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t stop taking photos. We ate at a New York style steakhouse called “The Bird” and it felt like we were in England. The menu, staff and customers were all English! The food was amazing though and they certainly weren’t shy on portion sizes! After eating, we went to a really cool rooftop bar called DECK5 to watch the sunset! It was honestly so chilled out up there. We had a few cocktails while we giggled and watched the sun go down, what a lovely way to spend our final night!
Monday, 16th July.
We wanted to make the most of our last day, our flight wasn’t until around 9pm. We planned to hire bikes but they were all taken so instead, we walked down Eastside Gallery again and had brunch at Pirates. I recommend this bar for cocktails on an evening but the food was shocking and the service even more so! Monday was the hottest day by FAR but it was bloody glorious!
From Pirates, we walked for about half an hour to a place called Badeschiff which was a floating swimming pool on the river Spree which had a funky beach bar! We were gutted we’d come here on our last day because we’d left our bikinis in our suitcases, we would have loved to get in the pool! But instead we sat by the bar and drank beer like classy birds. It was so relaxed there though, would highly recommend if you’re craving a beach visit while you’re in Berlin!
The heat got unbearable while we sat here so we walked to a nearby cafe and had a cold drink before heading back towards Ostbahnhof. We had an hour or so to kill so we decided to pop into a bar that was directly opposite our hotel. It was called YAAM and a few people had recommended it to me but from what we had seen, it didn’t look like much was going on in there but we had time to kill so we ventured in, and oh my gosh! I am so so gutted we didn’t go in earlier, I absolutely loved it there. The main part of the bar was hidden away which is why we couldn’t really see how lively it was. The music was great, the atmosphere was so relaxed and it was actually very cheap for a beer! We sat here for a while and I really enjoyed myself so would definitely go back here and would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a nice chilled out vibe! I could have stayed there all day.
And that sums up my trip to Berlin really! Apart from the standard flight delays and even MORE Jess Glynne on the plane home, we had a splendid time! I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again, I felt like there was so much more to do and I feel like I want to learn more about the modern culture of Berlin. But I think I’ll tick some new places off my travel list first…
I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the trip, because it’s not like there’s enough in the post, right?