Berlin is a city that surpassed my every expectation. The amount of history, while always present in the back of your mind, is a staggering realization upon exploration. Like all European antiquity, Germany has ancient roots, but something that sets it apart is the prominence of its recent history. It is incredible to walk around and see things in museums from the Ottoman Empire and then as recent as the Cold War. Not only the history, but the food and general culture of Berlin was mesmerizing. It is a city where I spent a few days with my fiancé, but after visiting I know that I want to spend a few more.
Figuring out where to stay in Berlin was one of the more challenging bookings I have made. The city is very large in terms of things to do and city centers. I researched to determine the best price in the best possible area. Where we settled was in a good location, not the greatest hotel but it did the job. We stayed near Checkpoint Charlie, which seemed central and had easy access to public transit. I would recommend the area for ease of access, but I am sure there are other great places to stay too, so long as you’re in close proximity to the transit system.
The food in Berlin was strikingly different than the other cities we had been in Germany. But, some of our best meals were here. Of course, we had to have schnitzel but the place we went was this tiny, hole in the wall right by the East Side Gallery. It was called Scheers Schnitzel. It was remarkably cheap and unforgettably delicious. One of the sauces that you could have on the side was curry, as currywurst is surprisingly something Berlin has become known for. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to try the currywurst, but we did have curry on many dishes. Doner Kebabs are another unique food that is on every must-have list. We tried this on our last day and wound up wishing we had earlier. The place we went wasn’t on any list and was attached to a U-Bahn stop but it was still amazing. Sometimes the places you least expect are those with the best offerings.
Hip coffee shops were a dime a dozen in Berlin. Every place felt very “Instagramable” with cute décor and latte art. In these, I enjoyed every sip and every bite. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I comically had one of the worst meals of my life in Berlin. It came in the form of a salad that was more dressing than lettuce. More soup than salad. When I look back on that horrific meal I remember nothing but laughter, and it became one of our lasting memories from the trip.
Things to Do
Berlin is a city in which there are an endless amount of things to do. And when you leave your list seems not even half checked. We were near the Brandenburg Gate, which is a breathtaking site and dates back to the 18th-century. During World War II Berlin was heavily bombed, yet somehow, some way, the Brandenburg Gate remained, making it even more impressive. Museum Island was also spectacular, as it contains a cluster of museums spanning various points in history. A must see is the East Side Gallery, which is the only remaining portion of the Berlin Wall. It is covered murals, some political, some beautiful, all interesting. The East Side Gallery fascinates to me. It is recent, so much so that my parents have memories of being in Berlin as they were taking down the wall. The span of history never ceased to amaze me here. In tune with this is the DDR Museum, which mimics what life was like inside of East Berlin during the Cold War. It is a very hands on museum and was neat to see history displayed in such a way. The Holocaust Memorial was moving and profound and a very important site to take in. Berlin never shies from showing the atrocities a former Germany has committed.
Berlin was a perfect place to explore and it was always easy to get around via the U-Bahn. There is good shopping and many squares to wander through. It was booming with activity and is a city I cannot wait to return to.