After a long wait and a lot of uncertainty, on the wings of a cheap Ryanair flight, we landed in Berlin for an on-the-train trip to the German lands. A somewhat special trip: the first out of Italy after the pandemic and a great return to Berlin after 10 years.
We had seen it work-in-progress and found it more defined, trendy and cosmopolitan than we were expecting. Modern skyscrapers are opposed to Soviet design, the streets are pervaded by the scents of the culinary melting-pot and although its troubled history has left an indelible mark, it is its contemporaneity that defines the city. We plunged into this eagerly awaited rediscovery to spend four intense Berlin days.
The summer heat and the silence of Sunday morning are palpable, we feel like astronauts landed on the moon. A colleague of Gio, who lives in the city and whom we will meet a few nights later, tells us that many are on vacation at the end of July.
Everything else is there, where we left it. The majestic Berliner Dom surrounded by the famous museum island that overlooks the elegant banks of the Spree, observes the famous and evocative Holocaust Denkmal from a distance, while a little further on – the modern Fernsehturm dominates the view, pricking the sky like a sharp pin.
We crossed the very long Under den Linden street to reach the historic Brandeburger Tor, strolled under the shade of the trees in the large Tiergarten to shelter from the warm summer sun and to take some photos at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and of the Reichstag.
After a proper shot at the splendid Oranienburg‘s synagogue and a visit to the surrounding galleries, we order lunch from Small House of Wonder and eat it in their outdoor courtyard – among the red bricks, the large and white framed windows the invasive ivy leaves.
Near our hotel we find the right Bakerei for breakfast – Americano, Latte Macchiato and the typical German pastries become our daily ritual. We venture through streets never crossed and dense with buildings and gardens to reach the Koenig Gallery – developed within the clear geometries of St. Agnes. The contained tourism, even allowed us to photograph an unexpectedly desert Check Point Charlie.
Walking around Berlin is like crossing a real space-time gap between the past and the present. We walk along the Spree, leave the Club der Visionaire behind us and continue along the murals of the East Side Gallery. On a subway heading to Bernauer we reach Herman Eicke for lunch, we look around to discover the clear lines of the old wall, and then we head to Prenzalauer Berg to enter the elegant Jewish quarter, full of restaurants, cafes and bookstores.
In addition to the usual flea market, at Boxanagher Platz – at sunset – we find a garden full of people and music, and a wide choice of indie and local restaurants offering various types of delicacies. The skyscrapers of Potzdamer Platz are reminiscent of the metropolis of abroad, we will pass through here in the morning to visit the majestic Kulturforum, in the afternoon for a break and in the evening for an exquisite burger at Burger Meister.
On the last day we do window-shopping, just a few purchases but certainly stocked up on shop windows, in Friederichstrasse. We have lunch at Nola’s am Weinberg overlooking the garden, then we order delicious Cruffins – yes, you read that right – and coffee at Black Apron Café and continue for our last strolls in Berlin.
As the sun goes down and the evening cools, we enjoy the sunset casting its shadows on the plaza of the brand new Humboldt Forum for Art and Science. Later, that night, we are packing for our next stop: Leipzig!
NEXT STOP > CHARLOTTENBURG + SPANDAU
Visiting Berlin is more expensive than it used to be.
FLY: There are several routes from Italy. In about 2hours and cheap fares with a Ryanair flight it is possible to land at the main airport.
SLEEP: During the high season it is possible to stay overnight with 50/80 Euros per night for two people.
EAT: Eating in the city can cost between € 10 – € 30 per person depending on where you eat. Our fave places are:
- Hermann Eicke if you are looking for vegetarian options, balges, cakes and coffee.
- Black Apron Café to bite into a very tasty Cruffin!
- House of Small Wonder for a real fusion foray between European cuisine and Japanese specialties.
- Burger Meister for an exquisite street-food style burger.
- Vapiano if you miss Italy so much and want a delicious Italian dish at a fair price.
- Hummus & Friends for a true kosher eating experience!
- Klunkerkranick Rooftop an aperitif with a view.
- Parker Bowles when Berlin meets Tokyo.
- Silo Coffee if you fancy an Australian brunch.
- Citronella if you are looking for natural energies.
- Happy Baristas for real Coffee Lovers.
SEE: If you are in the city and you love art you cannot miss the opportunity to visit the following places dedicated to creativity, whether it is a splendid building or the latest work of the artist of the moment (attention: in August many galleries makeup, so they are often closed)
- Neues Museum
- Eigen + Art
- Kw Institute for Contemporary Art
- Haus der Kulturen der Welt
- Gropius Bau
- Konig Gallery / St.Agnes Church
- Galerie Max Hetzler
- KINDLE – Centre for Contemporary Art
SHOP: If you are a shopaholic, it will not be easy to resist. Our favorite street is definitely Friedrichstraße where there are indie, mono-brand and design shops, but obviously unmissable places are scattered throughout the city.
- Voo Store a very chic selection of clothing!
- BHausen Berlin e Hellesches Haus if you are into home decor and interior design.
- Vintage Galore, Sing Blackbird e Let them eat cake when you are looking for one of a kind.
- Urban Outfitter if you can’t let go your inner-teen.