I found Berlin to be a very interesting city, largely because of its incredible history - having studied it over the past year or so, I was genuinely interested in doing all the cultural things on offer, as opposed to just spending four days shopping and eating. Yes, really.
|The Humboldt University|
That said, I had a great time in Berlin, despite the rainy, grey, cold January weather we unfortunately were subjected to for pretty much the duration of our stay. And of course, everything looks better set to a backdrop of blue sky and sunshine. I really enjoyed experiencing a bit of German culture, so here are my highlights, recommendations and findings from four days in Berlin:
|A cute area near Alexanderplatz|
Berlin isn't the easiest city to walk around as it's relatively spread out, so we decided to each buy a Berlin Welcome Card, allowing us unlimited travel on all public transport. We ended up only using the U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn (overground), but seeing as each journey would have cost over 3€ individually, our five day pass for 36.50€ was well worth it.
You can buy cards for various lengths of time and for different areas depending on what you want to do, and you also get a little guide book and map. The card was really handy, and meant getting around was quick and easy. We just kept our tickets with us the whole time, but we weren't actually checked once!
|So much Ritter Sport!|
What other German foodie things did I devour? Well, in Germany they have a range of Haribo flavours that puts the UK to shame - my housemates definitely enjoyed the fizzy sour Schlümpfe (Smurfs - how cute is the German name though?) I brought back for them. Chocolate hazelnut nougat Müllermilch (milk) was another great supermarket find, along with a particularly great rhubarb streusel (crumble cake) for breakfast. And WHAT?
But don't worry if you don't like the sound of German food (you nutter), there are Starbucks all over the city, not to mention a strangely large number of Asian restaurants amongst other international offerings.
Well, has the previous section made your realise you want to save all your money for food and spend as little as possible on accommodation? Allow me to point you towards the hostel-that-is-more-like-a-hotel-yet-still-ridiculously-cheap, PLUS Berlin - so impressive, I felt the need to write a whole separate blog post about it, here.
SIGHTS AND THINGS TO DO
|The Brandenburg Gate. And Mickey Mouse.|
|Inside the Concert House|
|The Berlin Wall|
|The Holocaust Memorial|
We very nearly managed to get tickets to the ballet for just 3€ - if you queue up 30 minutes before the start of the show, have a Berlin Welcome Card and get lucky, these can be yours - but unfortunately we arrived too late. It'd be worth having a go though.
Oddly enough, I didn't actually buy anything in Berlin apart from food. Not one souvenir. That's not to say there aren't plenty of shops though. Friedrichstrasse is the place to go for all the main high-street shops, mixed in with a fair few high-end labels. There also seem to be a fair few department stores and shopping centres around Berlin, from the standard mall-type Alexa to the oh-so-snazzy rival to Selfridges, KaDeWe, which stands for Kaufhaus des Westens (shopping centre of the West.) I genuinely could've spent hours in the latter, getting completely lost on the food floor alone!
|German baking goodies in KaDeWe|
Have you been to any of the places I mentioned? Do you have any other suggestions? And do you agree or disagree with my impression of Berlin?