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 

Have fun and relax in Berlin

Berlin is fun, it's calm, it has its beauty and is a live history lesson. I love it! Berlin is one of those cities where you just feel relaxed and it's kind of hard to say why because it's an enormous city both in people living there and the size of it. Maybe it has to do with all the parks in between all the city stuff, maybe it's the people. Anyways, I love the feeling.

And Berlin is fun! So many great bars and clubs, people walking down the street drinking beer (and manage to not get to drunk doing it), all kinds of people, a vibrant start up scene and so much more. But Berlin is also one big history lesson, wherever you go there are references from the war, there are tons of museums, historic buildings, places and monuments. Actually there is so much to see and do in Berlin that I recommend more then a long weekend there. Or just go back. I've been there twice, the last time this summer. And I will be back! Here's my top Berlin tips:


How to get around?

Berlin is actually one of the cities in the world with the longest distant between the different parts of the city. And there is really nothing you can call the city centre.  I usually recommend walking, to see more different stuff. But you definitely have to move around otherwise in Berlin. And the best way is the subway/metro (or S bahn and U bahn as its called there), it goes almost everywhere and is quite effective. And to see something you didn't plan to see, just hop of on a random station:)


What to see in Berlin?

Well there is so much, here's some of the things I have seen and recommend:

  • The East Side Gallery - an international memorial for freedom. It is a 1.3 km long section of the Berlin Wall located near the centre of Berlin on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
  • Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg - very hipster cool fun area of the city.
  • The Pergamon Museum - houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings. Actually one of the most impressive museums I've been to. It's located on The Museum Island where you can stroll by many other museums as well.
  • Brandenburger Tor - because of the history, not to hang around the area, to many tourists.
  • Checkpoint Charlie (the museum) - for another history lesson.
  • Parks, I love cities with green lunges, especially in the summer. Just relax and eat a Currywurst.


Shopping in Berlin

I think I found one of my favorite shopping streets in the whole world in Berlin this summer; Alte Schonhauser Strasse. The street is filled with cool little shops, a mix of smaller known and unknown designers, lots of fun stuff, vintage shops, cool cafes and restaurants. Some of the streets around it is also great. 

If you are more up for 'mainstream' shopping, go to Kurfürstendam and in Kurfürstendam, KadeWe for more luxury shopping. Great shopping in Berlin!


Where to stay?

Stay in an area you think you will like (because of the distance). I loved staying at Michelberger Hotel, very trendy and cool with a great outside restaurant/bar/garden area, not to happy with the food at the restaurant though (except from the breakfast, it was great). It was close to Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg with lots of nice places. And the S and U bahn was just across the street. 


You have to to Berlin sometime, I'm sure you'll love it too - everybody does. If you have any good tips yourself, please share them here.  And check out some insider tips from mye friend Benedikte

The back garden at Michelberger

The back garden at Michelberger

People paddle boarding down the river Spree, I want to do that some time

People paddle boarding down the river Spree, I want to do that some time

The East side gallery

The East side gallery