Sunday, March 09, 2014

Travelling diaries #4: Berlin





Early in December I went for a nice trip to Berlin with my 'forlivesi girls' (this thing will be further explained, but it deserves, or better, they deserve, a proper stand alone blog post).

Our flight was super early in the morning, so, under the pouring rain of the grey decemberly Milan we made our way to the airport (by coach, not walking).
The flight was just approximately an hour, but we had the best of the sleeps you can have on a plane (and as for me, I seem to have the best sleeps ever on planes) to be as fuelled and recharged for our arrival.

On the arrival:
Berlin airport isn't a jungle, it's, as I expected from a german people run thing , so well organised that it's litteraly impossible to get lost or not to find an information point. Another added bonus, is that it's possible to purchase whatever kind of daily-weekly ticket you are looking for at the info point. They showed us a gigantic table where every, and I mean every, kind of ticket was named so you could choose the one that fitted best your needs.
I was liking Berlin just already.

Me and Imogen at the airport train station on the arrival


Where to stay:
Being a capital means that you have plenty of choice in deciding where you want to stay, every type of need, person, price, location etc etc..
We went for an hostel, the 'Plus Hostel' the best option in my opinion for 'big' group of young people. We were eight, so, in my role of hostel-newbie I was expecting to be put altogher, sharing even the toilet with the rest of hostel basically. 
I admit that my stereotype of hostel was a bit extreme, and I probably went a little bit too far with my immagination (leaving all earring, necklaces at home, fearing that someone could steal them) but what we had was beyond each one of us' expectation: for just 11.50 euro per night, we were split into two groups of four and had two big rooms with private toilet.
Heaven, since it was bigger, cleaner and nicer than loads of more pricey hotel I've been to. Added bonus number 2: they put a little chocolate on your pillow.
Berlin, now I like you even more.


Han and Em in our hostel room

What to do:



The question is: where to start?

Going there for Christmas time revealed to be an amazing coincidence: loads and loads of Christmas markets, almost around every corner. We enjoyed a little trip to the ones in Alexanderplatz (to be completeley honest, there were two: a more little one, with an ice rink and some stalls and then, the biggest Christmas market I've ever seen, just like a tiny little Christmas village!) and then we wondered around the city having fun finding hidden (and not-so-hidden) markets.
You can find really cute and unique pieces there: from scarves, boots, gloves, to Christmas decorations, candles, but most importantly: currywurst, crepes, gluhwein, creamy mushrooms and cauliflowers, hot chocolate, eggnog, and other german sweet treats.






Anyway, even if it's not Christmas time, no worries, Berlin offers so many beauties to discover and see. We were there for just two days, so we just made the most of it, thanks to our Han, who kindly showed us around.
Beginning with a walk to the Jewish area, the East side gallery, Check point Charlie, the Reichstag building,  the Brandeburg Gate and the impressive Sony Centre.

The Brandeburg Gate

Me and Em at the Sony Centre (one day late for The Hobbit premiere!)

The East Side Gallery
Me at the East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery



At the Reichstag

The view of Berlin at the Reichstag

The Shopping centre


What and where to eat:
As previously said, we were lucky enough to be in Berlin for Christmas time, so we enjoyed local market food, like wurst, currywurst, gluhwein (eating so much of wurst that by the end of our short adventure we began to resemble sausages heheh). The nice thing is that german people are so organised, we could enjoy our dinner by little 'fireplace', spread all over the squares hosting the markets. The price range is between 2.50 and 3.50 for a wurst, 6.00 for a currywurst with roasted potatoes.
The painful bit is drinking: if you are a faithful water fan, then be sure to pack copious amount of water bottles with you, half a litre will cost you no less than 2.50. Crazy, considering that you pay 3.00 euros for a big glass of gluhwein, or 0.50 for half a litre of apple juice (at the supermarket!!).
For our last dinner we decided to treat ourselves, meaning that we opted for an indoor kind of meal: we went to a restaurant near Alexanderplatz. We ate burgers, chips, salad and drank pina colada and wine. The dinner was great, we chatted and swap secret santa's presents we bought in the markets during the day.
The price was good, not even 20.00 euros each, considering how much we ate and drank!
The only downside of the evening was the service: the waiter, guessing we weren't local but turists, didn't said that it wasn't aperitivo time that day (even if on the menu was written differently) and made us pay more for our cocktails.




Nightlife:
Being there for just two nights basically, and walking all day to make the most of the little time we had, didn't give us the chance to deeply know what the night Berlin had to offer.
What I can say without any doubt, is that you have plenty of choice when it comes to deciding where to go for a drink, both near the city centre and near east Berlin, more on the outskirt then.
Just in front of our hostel there was a club called 'matrix'. Three of the girls went, and said that the music was good and they had really fun. So I might suggest you go there!

Public transport:
With a tiny help of the metro (perfectly on time), when for example we were being late for our visit to the Reichstag, or just too tired to go back to the hostel at night after few drinks, I can proudly say we walked almost everywhere.
It's just so easy to go from one place to another, enjoying the beautiful architecture of Berlin, and if the map tricks you, don't worry, everyone is willing to help you find your way!
Nice view walking through a park in Berlin

Packed on the tube






We couldn't visit everything or enjoy really detailed visits, so that's a good excuse to defenetively go back, exploring Berlin more deeply and see what else it has to offer!
Two amazing days, in what I'll consider a beautiful people, with the added bonus of the best company I could ask for!



Lucia

4 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a lovely time - the Brandenburg Gate looks amazing with the Christmas tree all lit up. I've heard that Berlin is a wonderful city to visit, so I'll have to add this to my list.

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  2. Ah this looks like so much fun! You must have had an amazing time, I am going to Berlin in the summer and can't wait! Those Christmas markets are just divine!
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  4. I've always wanted to go to Berlin! That Christmas market looks amazing :)

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