A blissful Berlin experience contains small change and good shoes

I bloged about Berlin not long ago. But the best tips comes from insiders, so I asked Benedikte who used to live in Berlin to tell us what she likes most in Berlin.

Here is what she has to say:

If you didn't already know: Berlin is a patchwork of what used to be tiny, peculiar villages stitched together into a city that is Chaos In Form (btw the name of a hip shop in Falkensteinstrasse). As a consequence, the city has no true epicenter but rather a string of pearls. A long string, too, which is part of the blessing. But unlike the bead string, Berlin had no beginning nor end and sometimes there are stretches between the oases of good stuff. If you don't want to walk yourself silly it's neither complicated to rent a bike nor maneuver around in traffic on one. The Berlin drivers are used to bikes - but be aware: Riding on the sidewalk can get you a ticket. True story, I live to tell it.

Early 2009 I counted my blessings and realized I had visited Berlin 4 times before Easter. So after graduating as a copy writer, I followed my heart and desire, packed my 7 things and aimed for a sabbath year in Kreuzberg. I got everything I wanted (except the sabbatical rest but I never missed it either). And during my days a couple of musts emerged:    

1. Photo boxes - bring your small change. You'll find them with irregular intervals in the hip areas Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg. Old school style photos and good fun!

2. Mauerpark - epic flea marked every Sunday paralleled with magnificently organized karaoke in the park. Leave your lunch box but bring your change.

3. The Turkish Market - Tuesdays and Fridays at the Maybachufer. Veggies, fabric, shoppers and tourists. The cacophony of special offers in Turkish mix with spontaneous concerts at the far end of the market. 

4. Park life - large, lush and lovely parks when the hangover gets too rough or you hang out with kids. Some of the parks has impressing playgrounds and/or open air cinemas. (Achtung, nur auf Deutsch)

5. Breakfast - most cafes with some dignity offer a variety of Frühstück right until supper time. You usually get a huge plate with a tower of goodies and a basket of bread to go with it. Weekends there will be excessive buffets at fixed prices. Work up an appetite, get there early and stay until late.

Benedikte Kluge