“I’m a firm believer in living outside the constrains of our comfort,thats when we really start to live”
A few months ago i booked a very last minute flight to Germany to explore the gorgeous city of Berlin. If I’m honest, i haven’t really ever had any desire to travel within Europe and i usually tend to cast my hook further afield, however i am always open to travelling and exploring absolutely anywhere ( British airways,get at me boo).
Given the chance of more that two consecutive days off work , I’m off!
I really didn’t have any pre-conceptions as what Germany would be like and i try to go into any new situation with a completely open mind. I’m a firm believer in living outside the constrains of our comfort,thats when we really start to live.
I landed in Berlin Schönefeld airport shortly after 10am and after a power nap in the hotel and armed with google maps and translate (Guten tag will only get you so far ) i set of on the pursuit of good coffee and exploration.
Our hotel was located in Alexanderplatz which is quite a central part of Berlin with underground stations a stones throw away,frequent busses and an abundance of restaurants,shopping malls and anything else you may need just a short walk away.
I walked for hours admiring the beauty of Berlin, appreciating time alone for a change,on my own schedule,life my own once again. The weather was absolutely gorgeous,vibrant blue skies,not too hot,sun casting a perfect golden shadow over every surface in its reach.
“one of my top travel essentials,map on one side, bestie on the other”
I have this inexplainable ability to climatise to new environments really quickly so no where really seems very new to for long. I’m not sure why i travel this way but i don’t feel comfortable approaching new countries in the typical touristy format. I’m not the girl with backpack and cannon camera slung around her neck , i prefer to blend in so I’m in the supermarket buying fruit and snacks getting the bus home.
Later that evening i was joined by my best friend in typical Lianne fashion,creeping into the hotel room in the middle of the night,scaring the absolute life out of me. She’s one of my top travel essentials,map on one side, bestie on the other.
The very next day we set out to explore what Berlin had to offer.Berlin has such a chilled happy vibe and really forces you to relax and go with the flow. Living and working in central London can be really stressful. Everyone’s focussed on success (which of course isn’t inherently bad) money,material and superficial goals, myself included which isn’t the healthiest thing to be surrounded 24/7 .The vibe in Berlin is very relaxed and without pressure. It wasn’t just “holiday bliss” it was everyone. The locals,students , even the animals had this air of freedom that i hadn’t experienced before.
A preconception that many would have is that Germany isn’t very culturally mixed and although i can’t speak for other parts of germany with a majority white populace,Berlin was a pleasant surprise.i’d say its was as varied as London.
“In the unlikely event you are faced with a curry-wurst,save yourself, its frankly not worth energy your body wastes consuming it”
There is a very casual drinking culture in Berlin which is very different to London. It isn’t the nightly glass of wine because the kids are pulling your hair out.Nor the abomination that is a friday/saturday/any day of the week quite frankly, club crawl which will end in a debilitating hangover and you will repeat the following weekend (masochist or nah?) Its a cheeky afternoon cider sitting on the banks of the river,watching people canoe JUST FOR FUN (yes thats a thing).
Finding traditional german food in Berlin is an absolute myth. The closest you can get to “German” food is a cart selling bratwurst (glorified lidl hotdogs) or the infamous curry-wurst. In the unlikely event you are faced with a curry-wurst,save yourself, its frankly not worth energy your body wastes consuming it.
“……oh god, i can’t feel my arms, am i having a stroke?”
The huge middle eastern community is very apparent in their many food establishments. Falafel is everywhere,accompanied by huge servings of fresh creamy hummus and beautifully floury Lebanese/Syrian flatbreads.Their falafel joints are as common as a Morley’s in south London. Freshly made vegetarian food on every corner,and its extremely cheap too.Whats not to love?
“…..used to be an old german toilet house but no where as grimy as you’d imagine”
Although not as common there were also many ethiopian and eritrain restraints serving tradition street food.I couldn’t imagine what berlin would be like without these establishment that are clearly now a vital part of not only the diets of the locals but their social interactions.
We visited a cool late night burger joint called Burgermeister a few times, not just for their amazingly juicy burgers for its industrial underground vibes.Located right on Schlesisches Tor, in one of the busiest nightlife areas of Kreuzberg, the burger joint used to be an old german toilet house but no where as grimy as you’d imagine. Burgermeister is a true Berlin institution for locals,the place they fall into after a messy night out. Serving american style burgers in a shiny brioche bun filled with all the fillings you can stomach,i highly recommend.
The city was adorned with political graffiti which quite interesting as it wasn’t propaganda or clear left or right wing opinion. It was banksy esque pieces on the side of buildings,anti trump posters and a million other things that gave it a really youthful air and also made me feel like i was surrounded by a culturally aware community.
Whilst commuting in Heinrichplatz we saw this really cool Korean joint called Angry Chicken. Its bright animated menu really stood out amongst the sea of falafel we were absolutely loving but inevitably drowning in.
“…….One moment i was sitting at a bench tucking in and the next,slushy is finished, i’m instagraming selfies on the restaurants iPad and i CANNOT STAND STRAIGHT!”
We decided dine on our last day, a few hours before we were due to fly home. With a simple menu ranging from pimped out chicken wings,bibimbap and a couple of burgers, the wing seeming most popular.
We ordered a few of boxes of wings,varying in flavour and although they looked very appealing,even their spiciest “angriest” chicken wings didn’t even pack the slightest punch. The dark horse of Angry chicken was their huge soju (Korean liquor ) and ginger slushies which although seemingly harmless were lethal.One moment i was sitting at a bench tucking in and the next,slushy is finished, i’m instagraming selfies on the restaurants iPad and i CANNOT STAND STRAIGHT!
I musty preface that i do have a slight (read HUGE) ice pole addiction that meant that said slushy was gone in about 60 seconds and got me beyond drunk in record time and it was only 2pm. It wasn’t even the cute,tipsy drunk that can be disguised.It was the “oh god, i can’t feel my arms, am i having a stroke?” kind if drunk. Not necessarily the state you want to be in heading to the airport but s**t happens! I vowed never to drink soju again but notting hill carnival happened and so did soju slushy part 2 -the redemption!
Moral of the story, don’t knock something until you’ve tried it. Wether it be a country you feel like you wouldn’t enjoy,a different cuisine or even a catastrophic slushy that manages to fill you with joy and knock your on your ass all in one ice cold swoop!