Wir fahren nach Berlin, Berlin!

I remember this time last year – hubbie had just got a new job and had a few days off in between so we booked a very last minute break to Berlin. This is the second time I went and loved it – the first time was during my year abroad in Regensburg and we did a group uni trip.

First time around it was really cold with snow everywhere, this time it was boiling hot – perfect time to sit along the river having Radler, Weissen or Apfelschorle! We landed early  in the morning and got told the hotel we had booked: The Mandala Hotel – and unfortunately our room had been double booked. Guests from the night before had extend their stay and they then didn’t seem to care about new guests – the hotel tried to get us to stay in their apartment hotel at a much lower rate. Luckily hotels.com who we had booked through called alerting us of this issue and went out of their way to book us a room at the amazing Crowne Plaza. We got an even better deal here with inclusive brunch and a late check-out!

Sights: Now on to Berlin itself, well as it was so hot we took a hop on hop off bus to see the main sights including: Reichstag, Brandenburg Tor, Gendarmenmarkt, the Holocaust Memorial, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall. The one mile long wall is a fascinating, symbolic example of what once split the city into East and West, and today is covered in colourful – and meaningful – art with over 100 paintings (many of which are covered in graffiti), including Dimitrji Vrubel’s picture of Brezhnev and Honecker kissing and the colourful, abstract heads by Theirry Noir. This is a must see for all visitors, not just those interested in art.

Beach  bars: Berlin has jumped on board the urban beach bandwagon with gusto with the original Strandbar Mitte in Monbijou Park, Hackischer Markt, or the Bundespressestrand facing the Reichstag in Mitte, which has palm trees, deckchairs, two pools and cold beers on its 100 tons of Baltic sand. Summerworld at Potsdamer Platz has hip music, cocktails and live music from 7-10 pm. In the arty Prenzlauer Berg district, there’s a city beach at Platze-Beachgelande with bars and beach volleyball during the summer. This is an area where there are loads of cool bars. Oh and if it’s a warm day a must-do is the swimming pool built in a river.

Bier time: We spent our evenings on Marlene Dietrich Platz off Potsdamer Platz as our hotel was there and there were some nice bars to chill at watching the sun go down. We also went to a few bars by Hackischer Markt and along the river opposite Berliner Dom. Watching the river over beer and iced tea was very relaxing!  Make sure you have a radler or alster – beer with either fanta or lemonade at one of the Bier Hause.

Food wise: we ate at good old Vapianos, found an interesting Thai/Indian place called Amrit on Oranienburger Strasse (lots of restaurants here) and falafel from the kebab places on every street plus the token Wurst!

A lovely city with so much history – one of my fave cities to see!

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