Ich bin (k)ein Berliner

11/07/2017
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Hello Berlin! 

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I’m sure we all have some ridiculous memories from our teenage school years. For me, the highlights definitely included my ahem ‘great’ sense of fashion, ridiculously blunt haircut, and of course, those glorious 4 hours of German language class a week, where I sat and pretended to somehow have a clue about what was going on for a whole 4 years (!)

Last time that I blurted out that fact in front of a new German acquaintance, they enthusiastically asked me where I came from in their native language, for which I happily replied with “Ja, und du?”, meaning “Yes and you?” Needless to say, that ‘fun fact’ never resurfaced from thereon.

Considering my extensive command of the Germanic culture and language, I would probably struggle to make it back if I were to be left roaming in the streets of Germany. So, to put that theory to a test, I hopped on a flight this February for a quick weekend trip to Berlin.

(Spoiler: I made it back. Everyone and their grandmothers not only spoke better English than I did but probably knew 2-3 more languages as well)

BRANDENBURG GATE 

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The Holocaust Memorial

EAST SIDE GALLERY

(The Berlin Wall)

WTF: WHERE’S THE FOOD?

Characterised by so much history of loss and suffering, Berlin has got this illusive eerie and haunting vibe about it. With its rows of concrete blocks resembling a sea of coffins sprawled across central Berlin, the Holocaust Memorial is definitely an embodiment of that vibe. 

We went there on our second day for a visit. Walking through the museum and reading about the many lives of the victims and what they had to endure, you can’t help but stop and reflect about your present. Definitely a place worth visiting.

GETTING AROUND BERLIN

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TRIP LOGISTICS

As this was a very last-minute trip I was worried that it was going to cost us a fortune. Luckily, we found a relatively cheap RyanAir return flight through Sky Scanner for just over £100 and booked a serviced apartment through Expedia for a little less than £70/night.

The place we stayed at was called Frederics Serviced Apartments in the Mitte district. The apartment was clean, modern, spacious enough to have a kitchen and most importantly, very centrally located. We were at a stone’s throw away from a lot of shops, restaurants, public transport and tourist attractions. Overall, very happy with our arrangements.

 

My last visit to Berlin was when I was about 13 so it has definitely been a while (though arguable, since I apparently also look 15.) I’m definitely glad to have experienced this city from a different perspective.

We managed to do a quite lot in the span of 2 days: walked a lot, visited most key monuments, ate tons of food, immersed ourselves in the crazy Berlin nightlife. Definitely a worthwhile trip!

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I BROUGHT WITH ME…

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Considering that it was a short city trip, I decided to pack light, swapping the usual DSLR for my more compact Canon M3. With less to carry, I also left the rucksack home and took my new Gucci Sylvie out to play. However, there’s no way that I would ever leave my trusty ACNE (Blanket) Scarf  that kept me really warm throughout the whole trip.

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Since our apartment was right in the city centre, we were able to walk to most places. We did however rely on public transport to venture further to Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. A day pass costs €7 (central zones) and lets you freely use trams, busses and metros until 3 a.m. the following day. CityMapper also works in Berlin which was really handy.

If you’re planning to go out late, Uber is unfortunately banned in Berlin. However, there are plenty of licensed cabs roaming around the streets (which luckily are quite affordable as well.)

Berlin has become somewhat a mecca for hipster culture with all the cool hip independent spots scattered throughout the city. However, it was the cheap street food classics that caught my heart. Laugh at me all you want but Germany does hands-down the best Döner kebabs. At about €4 Euros a pop, best value for money as well. I’m considering returning just to check out the famed Mustafa’sWe also went a bit crazy with the wursts – I mean this trip wouldn’t be complete without a glorious plate of currywurst! The place right next to our apartment called Curry 61 served some pretty decent ones. We also checked out this hip Vietnamese joint called Monsieur Vuong for our Pho fix but it was a bit lacklustre…

 

MY GOD, HELP ME TO SURVIVE THIS DEADLY LOVE

(AKA Fraternal Kiss)

 

by Dmitri Vrubel

Looking at the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)

Standing between columns of the 

Alte Nationalgalerie 

The Reichstag Building

(Reichstagsgebäude)

Pho from

Monsieur Vuong 

Currywurst from

Curry 61 

As opposed to its rather sombre historical sites, Berlin has a very loud and colourful nightlife. The city is very well known for its warehouse techno parties. Going to the temple of techno, Berghain, to queue for hours in order to (hopefully) get in is almost a rite of passage. The parties start on Friday and do not stop until Sunday night, crazy! Not exactly my scene but it was definitely an interesting experience. Berlin clubs definitely have the most amazing sound system – you could feel the floor moving to the sound and I was left practically deaf the morning after. Waking up the Sunday morning after to wander around the streets felt so weird. All the stores were closed, and the streets feeling very quiet and empty compared to the booming evening before. It’s as though we were the only survivors of the apocalypse – or perhaps was everyone else still dancing until sunfall?

AUF WIEDERSEHEN

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To continue our journey into history, we stopped by the East Side Gallery – it was good to see that a lot of the beautiful murals were in great condition and had been restored to their former glory.

Some of them, were however vandalised to express current political discontent towards a particular US politician and another infamous wall…

   OUT IN BERLIN

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