While I was on the plane traveling to Berlin, I had no idea what to expect out of the week ahead. I had booked this ticket a month ago without much hesitation, or planning (which is super unlike me. I’m such a control freak when it comes to these things.) All I knew was that I would be staying in a friend’s apartment.
I was a bit scared, a bit tired (waking up at 4:30am was definitely too early for me), but mostly I was excited. I had been to Berlin twice before, so I felt quite confident on two subjects. 1. I wouldn’t get completely lost. 2. I would find a ton of things to do while I was there.
On this foggy February morning, as is the case with every plane ride I take from my hometown to Germany, I was amazed by the view. Flying over the Alps while the sun is rising, seeing the dark german forests surrounding small cities. I felt like a little kid, smiling foolishly every time I peered through my window, watching as humidity crystallized into tiny snowflakes.
My friend planned to met me after her morning class, in a café near Potsdamerplatz. After getting a little lost and wet, I finally found it and ordered a fresh juice while waiting for her. We spent the night grocery shopping, chatting and eating a bunch of pasta.
The next day, I woke up as she was leaving for school in the morning. I decided to take this opportunity and go exploring. I first took the Ubahn (the metro) to go to Raw Tempel. It’s a super cool place, very artistic, dedicated to art with huge sculptures, paintings, an indoor gallery, cafés and snacks. The last time I was in Berlin was in late August, we stumbled across an event with music, free beers, a henna place. This time, it was pouring rain and we were only a few tourists visiting. It was a completely different experience, but just as great. This is one of the places I highly recommend visiting if you come to Berlin, especially if you like urban art.
I came out of Raw Tempel wet but happy, and decided to have lunch at a place I heard a lot about on Instagram, The Bowl. I crossed the street, came into the building and climbed up the stairs. The atmosphere of the restaurant is very pleasant, lots of woods, black, white, blue and grey… a very calming place in the heart of the hectic center of Berlin. I sat near the window to enjoy the view, and ordered a California bowl. It was so, so good! I stayed there for an hour, and then spent a part of the afternoon at the Topographie des terrors, which is a free exhibition about the third Reich. Even if I already knew the story from the french perspective, I found very interesting that they explain how the germans felt, how the propaganda worked and what the consequences were for the oppressed populations and the others european countries.
One afternoon, we decided to go to a thrift store I had visited in the past, but unfortunately the owner changed, so it has become more expensive. I also went to Dress Code! They have classical pieces, more eccentric ones, jewels. The shop itself is really cute. In this area, there are a few street art works, very nice architecture and a lot of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. I really enjoyed wandering around, taking pictures and grabbing a burrito at the Vegetarian metzgerer.
My next stops were Victoriapark and Tempelhof airport (an old airport that became a park!). If you feel like walking, taking pictures, or even doing a picnic, these are two places I recommend.
One of my favorite things in Berlin is the Mauerpark flea market, that happens every Sunday morning. But despite my love for this place, my first days in Berlin left me so tired I decided to sleep until it was too late to go. Anyway, as my friend had to stay home to study, I decided to go there around 6pm with the idea of taking a few pics with my disposable camera. But the market was still open! It was so great to walk around the cute souvenirs, crystals, jewellery and food shops (I even found a cute drop-shaped amethyst ring for my sister). I climbed up the hill to see the artists painting on the remaining parts of the Berlin wall. As the sun went down, I decided to go home, feeling so lucky I’ve been able to go there.
Before I left, I really wanted to visit an art museum. I ended up finding myself at the Berlinische galerie, the museum of modern art in Berlin. I was a little afraid that there will be only contemporary pieces, but it actually was very diverse; there were two videos of performances, and paintings from 1800 to nowadays. The architecture was also so pretty.
I did some other things during this week, but I wanted to tell you about my favorite places in Berlin. It is a very nice city, and I was so happy to spend some time with my friend.
Here’s the addresses of the places I mentioned…
Balzac Coffee: Potsdamer Platz 10, 10785 Berlin
Raw Tempel: Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin
The Bowl (vegan restaurant): Warschauer Str. 33, 10243 Berlin
Topographie des Terrors: Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin
Pick & Weight: Bergmannstraße 102, 10961 Berlin
Dress Code: Nostitzstraße 25, 10961 Berlin
Der Vegetarische Metzger: Bergmannstraße 1, 10961 Berlin
Berlinische Gallerie: Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, 10969 Berlin
… and a few other ones:
W der Imbiss (restaurant with mexican and indian food, with vegetarian and vegan options): Kastanienallee 49, 10119 Berlin
Monarch (a “secret” bar with a dancing area and nice music): Skalitzer Str. 134, 10999 Berlin