Berlin Travel Blog: Snippets of this Cool City in Germany


People use the adjective COOL for Sweden, but I have no other better words to describe this city in Germany called Berlin.

Stickers are plastered all over their walls and street sign poles that my Ate had to ask our tour guide where she can buy some as souvenir (haha, they're free and used as advertisements by brands!!).

It is dirty, it is lively, and it has so much (his)story up their sleeves.



Berlin is the second stop of our Great Eastern Europe trip. I am liking the contrast of its vibe coming from Sweden, it's like meeting up the rebel friend after the clean-fun friend.

We exited Berlin's main station from the Sleeper Train, and we were a bit lost or maybe still sluggish from just waking up from the long journey.

I looked around while seating by a bus stop, as Ate tried to look for our way to the hostel. I saw cigarette butts all over the sidewalks, chewed gums, graffiti, posters, and stickers all sticking on walls and posts, but when you look at it as a big picture--Berlin is like a work of art.









Even Berlin's traffic light men (the Ampelmännchen) has a story to tell. It serves as a symbol of privilege for Eastern Germany which they retained even after the reunification. Btw, Germany also reminds me of Korea's current situation. When I saw Berlin Wall's new purpose of a photo wall tourist spot and not as a barrier, I feel a tinge of hope for Korea.









WHERE WE STAYED

Ate booked a dormitory type accommodation for our two nights in Germany. We arrived in Wombats City Hostel Berlin a bit early for check-in, but since we only had a few days in the city, our game plan was to leave our bags and immediately go.

So they gave us access to the luggage room where we overstayed just to sort the rumble in our bags caused by staying in a cramped sleeper train, and decided on what to wear, what to bring (chargers!), etc.

Again, we came from the sleeper train so pa-dead na all our gadgets. We also took advantage of the hostel's public showers so naka avail din kami non and ang aga pa so may naglilinis pa na kuya outside of our cubicles nakakaloka hahaha. Before we left, fresh na uli kami and ready for the day!



Here's how our Wombats City Hostel Berlin dormitory room looks like. Ang saya, even in a full room hindi ko nafeel yung space constraints na usual in dorms. We have one CR for this room, shared by five girls na naka check-in. Madalas late na gumising and umuwi yung dalawa because, well, Berlin = Nightlife. Usually kami ni Ate or our Spanish solo traveler roomie ang first ones in so parang solo room narin namin sya.



Ang kalat nila sa stuff pero wa care, it made me feel safe and at-home actually haha:




Our room's toilet and shower area:

Our side of the room, na near pa sa locker. I took the top bunk, and like in any hostels it has its own power outlet per bed.

Again and again, tip for hostel travelers: bring an extension cord. Super useful sya for me na ang daming chinacharge!



Every night while in Europe I bring home fruits! It's my guilty pleasure!

Upon checking in, they gave us drink vouchers that we can use on their rooftop bar. During our last night, we were able to avail it and got a beer and masarap sya!


German beer with a view of the Fernsehturm (TV Tower - symbol of communist power in East Berlin)

WHERE TO EAT

Random Cafes

Just across our hostel is an indie cafe owned by a French couple. Ang sarap sarap dito, and super pleasing sa mata ng interiors. I love the vibe!






Middle of the day when we needed to charge our batteries and our energies, we chanced upon another coffee shop near Charlie's Checkpoint. They have cool magazines on one side, and interiors straight out of Kinfolk. Kahit yung tama ng shadow akala ko I am inside Kinfolk mag!






Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap

Super worth it ang pag pila! They have a vegetarian option so yey, and super fresh ng vegetables, ang generous sa cheeese, and ang laki ng serving size!






Scnitzelei Mitte

Meat coated with crumbs, Schnitzel is one of the popular dishes in Berlin. I had my own vegetarian version which comes with potatoes and arugula salad on the side. Super solid but nag hahanap yung panlasa ko ng kanin perfect na sana sya hehe. (Ang laki ng serving size, hindi sya naubos ng Ate ko)





The Barn

A few blocks away from our hostel, The Barn is the perfect breakfast place to those looking for strong coffee. They also serve breads and pastries na sobrang pahealthy, I got a beet sandwich on brown bread here! Masarap naman, comparable to third wave coffeeshops in Manila!



Curry 36

There are lots of currywurst food chains in Berlin, but this one's near our stop so we tried it nadin for merienda. Ate said she can't leave Germany without having currywurst. I had their fries drenched with spicy tomato sauce. It's so crispy, and paired with their special sauce it's just so mouthwatering good!



Burgermeister

On our last night, we had dinner at the Burgermeister which is another Berlin favorite food place even by their locals. It is located in an old public toilet (!) right beneath the metro tracks so how much more "hipster" can you get!? Line was super long when we got there and it was not even dinner time. As always: they have a vegetarian burger option, plus you get a really really good burger so it's well-worth the wait! 





THINGS TO DO

Berlin Wall

Before arriving to Berlin, I think this is my only bucket list for the city. Cancel all the food and the other sites, but I just have to see the actual historical wall that once divided Germany during the Cold War.

I didn't realize that the wall now is all over Berlin (and even a few landed its way in LA)--we spotted a lot of them in different locations during our 2-day stay which just tells how loooong this barrier actually is!

And another thing, I cannot believe that the wall was demolished in 1989!! I am alive na at that time and it still felt so recent.


Look how THIN the walls are:



The popular Berlin Wall art called "My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love". The West side of the Berlin Wall was covered in graffiti while the East side was not.



We spotted this on our last stop on our last night in Berlin (East Side Gallery), and felt that our trip to Germany was already complete. I made sure to touch the wall and document that once upon a time we made it there!


Take a Photoautomaten 

I've read this somewhere, how much one can call herself an independent woman--but not in a photoautomaten. I can watch a movie or a concert alone (and immensely enjoy it), eat in restaurants with just "table for one please!", or even travel solo... But it wouldn't be as fun when you go alone in a photoautomaten.

Glad to have my Ate to take this vintage photos with for this trip! :)



Sunset in Reichstag Building

Once a meeting place of the German Parliament, damaged by historic fire, and resurrected when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989... The historical Reichstag Building is a symbol of a unified Germany.

Ate and I went here for a view of the city, which she booked in advance so we can go in with the tour group. Entrance is FREE, but you cannot go in without advance online booking. Also, you have to be there on time so you can go with your batch up the new glass dome.



While waiting, we took pictures from outside and saw this lolo brisk walking all over the park with his loud stereo blasting power-up workout songs! Hehe!

Here's the clear dome where we all went:




I am not sure if it's Ate's plan, but our batch's schedule is just in time for Berlin's breathtaking sunset (past 9pm).




Brandenburg Gate

A landmark in Berlin, one cannot visit the city without going to the Brandenburg Gate. We passed by this square so many times for our short trip, it's also a good meet-up place where we met our free walking tour group.

On top of the monument is the Quadriga with the statue of the goddess of victory on a chariot pulled by four horses.

This gate also used to divide East and West Germany, when the Berlin Wall shut off its access. President Ronald Reagan of the United States also had the Brandenburg Gate as his backdrop on that historical day in 1987 when he declared "Tear down this wall".






French kids running around the square when France won the World Cup! They had huge screens in front of the gate where people viewed the games during the season:

Also in this square is the famous Hotel Adlon, a standout, where the controversial Michael Jackson once dangled his baby!


Checkpoint Charlie

Did you know that the guy on the photo is not Charlie? 😅 Akala ko din noon una, haha! The name came from the phonetic alphabet (C for Charlie) as this checkpoint was the third of such border made at that time.

It is located at the intersection of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, and once was the only place where foreigners visiting Berlin could cross from West to East and back again. Before, they even stamped passports for 5 Euros when you go through this checkpoint.








Berlin Cathedral

Berlin's most important Protestant church located in Museum island.





Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

A symbolic representation of tombs for all holocaust victims not given proper burial. The artist meant for the memorial to give visitors an uneasy feeling, encouraging a time to reflect and interpret it on your own.







Topography of Terror

A free indoor and outdoor exhibition located on what used to be a security office aka the center of Nazi's torture and execution during their regime. Also located outside is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall.








"A man who indulges in indecent acts with another man ... will be punished by imprisonment."

Photos of homosexuals caught and tortured during the Nazi regime:


Siegessäule or the Victory Column

The Victory Column represents Germany's different victories during the 1800s. This once stood in front of the Reichstag (where we viewed the sunset) but was moved in a roundabout as part of Hitler's plan to remodel Berlin as the World Capital Germania.



 Join A Free Walking Tour!

Like in Sweden, we can only do so much to gain a little appreciation of Berlin's history and culture by joining one of their free walking tours. Ate booked us online with Sandemans. It lasted about 2.5 hours where we were able to walk through Hitler’s bunker, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Gendarmenmarkt, Book burning memorial, Humboldt University, just to name a few.

Again, information overload but a good way for me to get an intro to a new city.






Somewhere here, in one of the tiny rooms, Hitler committed suicide.


I know we still missed a lot of things, there is still so much to see and stories to understand, but then again we only had a few days to capture as much as we can.

We left Berlin as fast as we arrived from a Sleeper Train, but with a good lingering impression. Food was great, the whole city is a visual feast, and holding so many tragic encounters in its history made Berlin enduring and full of character. Cool city, in short!







For more, watch my Instagram Story Highlights for Berlin, or go directly to my Instagram page @anagon.
Next Stop: Prague!

Comments

  1. I love Berlin! It is a city with so much History. You need many days to visit all the places!

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  2. Love the pictures helps paint a better picture of your trip the food looks so good! Can't wait to visit

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  3. Berlin looks amazing! I have heard that you can spend up to a week there and still not see everything. It certainly seems like you accomplished a lot in your limited time however. That's awesome!

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  4. These pictures are so awesome. Berlin in such a beautiful and amazing city. Love how you included some language translation, like the word for traffic light. Great photography!

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  5. I've always wanted to see Germany! Thanks for all the great information.

    ReplyDelete

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