So I’m back home. Berlin was awesome. It’s not a beautiful city in the same sense that for example Vienna is, but it is a beautiful city in a very different way. It’s inspiring, it’s crazy, it’s definitely one of a kind. When I first arrived I had to make my way to Neukölln to meet Olli and check in to our hostel before hitting the near by bars for a few beers.
Getting off the airport (Tegel) by the public transportation is easy and there’s a few bus lines straight from the airport to Alexanderplaz where you can take the S-bahn/U-bahn, tram or a bus to pretty much anywhere. Ticket to zones A&B is 2,40€ and it’s valid for unlimited use for two hours. It’s pretty good right? A day ticket is 6,50€ (valid from the time bought until 3am) and a short trip (three stops on a U-bahn or S-bahn/ 6 stops on a tram or a bus) is 1,40€. You can buy tickets from the bus driver or from a ticket machine that can be found from some tram-stops/bus-stops and from every U&S-bahn station. An easy way to plan your way through is the journey planner found on BVG-home page: http://www.fahrinfo-berlin.de/Fahrinfo/bin/query.bin/en?ld=0.1&
After seeing our fantastic van-accommodation and dropping off our luggage we went out walking around. In Berlin you can find the small döner-places in every corner and the prices range from 1,5€ to around 5€. Obviously we had to have some of that. Almost every place offers a wide range of falafel and halloumi which is pretty great for the vegetarians. You can get beer everywhere/anytime and it’s really cheap. But even more cheaper when bought from a supermarket. Also a good option to eat out cheap is to grab a china-box for around 3€.
First night in the van was weird. We woke up in the middle of the night to some noises. Being tired we just fell back to sleep but after a couple of hours Olli woke up again to some noises and went to check it out. There was someone sleeping on the front seat of the van! Olli woke the guy up and the guy was explaining something crazy and wasn’t going to leave until Olli told him to. Oh did I mention the van didn’t have a lock on it.. It was alright and I’m sure he was really there just to sleep but still pretty creepy. If you want to try this place out: http://www.rixpack.de
On saturday we went out with a friend of mine and her boyfriend. They live in Berlin and know the city well so we just went where they took us. We ended up sitting in a small place in Kreuzberg until 5am. Time flew by and we didn’t get a chance to check out any other saturday-night places which is a shame but we did have fun. From what I understood the heart of Berlin night life used to be Mitte and now has moved more to Kreuzberg. To my view both places offer a good collection of nice bars. We didn’t go clubbing but I’m sure there are tons of blogs that can tell you all about the nightlife in Berlin.
On Sunday being hangover and everything we ended up sleeping in a park for a few hours after having to check out before 11am. We checked in to another hostel in Mitte. It was amazing. A true pro hostel. Booking last minute cost us 7€ a bed in a 16 bed mixed dorm. The beds were like mini-hotels having curtains around them giving privacy, an ok bar (expensive though and not offering anything unique), free breakfast, free wifi and in a really good location. I highly recommend this place, book your beds at: http://www.st-christophers.co.uk
On Sundays a good idea is to hit the flea market thing in Prenzlauer berg at Mauer-park. Getting there is easy. There’s many U-bahn stations near it. Even if you’re not planning on shopping, Mauer park on sundays has music, people and a lot of fun stuff to take a look at. If it hadn’t started to rain, I’m sure we would have spent the whole day hanging out there.
Berlin is a strangely wonderful place. We ran from the rain to a U-bahn station and there was the most adorable little band playing. People gathered to see and dance and nobody seemed to mind the crowd inside the small station. They just smiled while trying to get through the mass of people to catch the U-bahn.
On monday we decided to go to the east-side gallery. That is truly something everyone should see. The ‘real side’ of the gallery is cool but the back side is even more incredible. Graffitis in multiple layers. A real piece of art. There’s street art everywhere in Berlin. Everywhere. You don’t need to look for it, it’ll find you. We were really wanting to take some pictures of the abandoned houses/squats we heard about but we found out the government is doing their best to close the places down. Looking from the trains it’s obvious that some houses are abandoned and we decided to do our best to get in to some of them. After walking around the east side of the city for a while we found a place. We got in through holes in the fences and the place was amazing. Full of paintings, some people living there or just hanging around. I’m not going to give you the exact location but I’ll let you find your own spots, the city is full of them.
On tuesday we went gallery-hopping. One of the best places to do that is Mitte, especially Auguststraße. The exhibitions in almost all of them were good. Really good. Some of them pretty experimental. Here are some of them:
On my last day in Berlin we went to the closed down airport Tempelhofer. It has been turned in to a park and there’s a lot of people doing different stuff there. After having breakfast picnic there we wanted to do something laid back before my flight so we just went for a walk in the crazy beautiful Großer Tiergarten.
Last but not least, the coffee. Do NOT buy coffee from just anywhere. The average coffee in Berlin is complete crap. Even in the ‘proper coffee shops’. It’s crap. There are a lot of good cafes also but be careful when choosing a place to enjoy your favorite drug. Just go a head and google ‘best coffee bars in Berlin’ and mark them down in your tourist map if you appreciate good coffee and not dishwater. I really enjoyed Five elephant (http://www.fiveelephant.com/pages/information) and NO FIRE NO GLORY (http://gloryberlin.blogspot.fi). I would looooove to work in places like this. We’ll see.
My favorite things in Berlin:
- people cycling
- walking around Prenzlauer berg and Kreuzberg.
- beer prices
- buying beer with 1€ at 2am
Street art shots:
Go to Berlin guys. Do it.