We got back from Berlin 2 weeks ago after spending seven lovely days in this wonderful city, brimming with history. Our flight arrived promptly at the Tegel airport. It started off on the wrong foot, and our journey to the city was not as straight forward as we would have hoped. We had been given what l thought were really good directions by our airbnb hostess. We had our choice of the Ubahn or the bus. Due to some language problems with the guide at the bus stop, we ended up in a much different part of town. A part of town where we could not find anyone who spoke English. I mean, nobody! l was already saying “I hate this city!”. We did have our first taste of the very delicious currywurst. We were at our wits end when, out of the blue, we heard some Italian being spoken by a group of 2 women and one man passing by.
My husband stopped them, a flurry of Italian was spoken, and they were kind enough to point us upstairs to the train. Turns out, the train runs in a circle. Just as we were about to get on one, we heard the Italian guy yelling for us to stop. He had run upstairs after us and apologized for not telling us the right direction and said to wait for a train on the other side. Thank God he did, we were only 3 stops away from where we needed to be. Had we gotten on the first train, we would have had to sit through like 20 stops to round out the circle. Whew!!! How nice of him!
The rest of the week flew by. There was the yearly Carnival of Culture festival that weekend in Kreuzberg, which was the area we stayed at. I had planned the visit so we would be able to catch it, as l’d heard it was a nice colorful affair. We were not disappointed. They really know how to party. We met up with Victoria, theBritishBerliner blogger, her son, along with another friend of hers and watched the parade together. What a load of fun! How nice to connect in real life with people you meet through the online blogging world! We made it through 34 of the 84 floats, before heading for the food area. There were about 700,000 spectators they said. Looked like more to me! If you ever visit Berlin around Carnival time, you should definitely make some time to enjoy the festivities that run all day! Quite a lot of countries were represented. I especially enjoyed China, Brazil and Jamaica dancers and music.
Find Hotels in Berlin.
Berlin has more canals than Amsterdam, a fact l was not aware of. One of the more famous ones is the Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal which runs about 7.5 miles!. Berlin is also home to some really nice beer gardens. Victoria and her husband, took us out for drinks one night to one of the biggest ones that was by Museum Island. Talk about standing room only. Every seat was taken and we had to hunt around for about 25 minutes before finding space to sit. A lot of people were sitting on the grass. It was very nice. The lights twinkled from the island, and from the trees. It was a great night. We got lost again of course, but thankfully, they found us!!! Those street names are so hard to pronounce.. :o).
We visited another beer garden that was close to the zoo on our own. That one was my favorite of all. If you visit Berlin and the zoo, you can’t miss it. There is a huge sign for it as you exit the zoo. It will be on your right, and is about a 4 minute walk. It is a big garden, and apparently very popular as it was packed! The atmosphere was really cool, people of all ages just having a good time chilling with beer and some food. It was a hot day, and l gotta tell you, it was a welcome relief under the shaded trees.
One thing l noticed in Berlin is that, if you are an alcoholic, you will love it there.. :-). You can drink and carry your beer everywhere. On the subway, we saw several people drinking even though you’re not supposed to. No one complained though. I guess it’s a familiar sight. Beer is definitely cheaper than water. At the market, a 500ml of Berliner Pilsner (which we loved) or Becks was 86 cents!! At most cafes, we paid on average €1.20 for the same. Our one altercation was at a cafe. My husband asked for water. We saw the waiter go to the tap (open kitchen), put water in the glass, no ice even, and brought it to the table. My husband downs it because he was very thirsty. I opened the menu looking for a drink to order and notice that a glass of water is €2!!!! We call him over, and in miserable German, l confirm that it is €2. Of course my husband refuses to pay. It’s highway robbery and we end up walking out. So, my advice to you is, when in Germany, and at a restaurant, do not order water!!!! Really, its like that all over….as explained to me by a Berliner. Bottled water is big, they try to discourage drinking regular water and sell both for the same price. Lesson learned.
I will do a separate post on the Berlin Zoo ,the Pergamon museum, and the East Side gallery with our favorite urban art. This trip was a long time coming, and l am so glad that we finally got there. We only got just a taste of Berlin. It is such a big place, but sometimes these are the best kind of trips. A little taste that keeps you wanting more, and leaves you with a good taste in your mouth as well as a desire to revisit.
Have you been to Berlin? Do you have any plans to visit Berlin? or is it not on your bucket list?