Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A Little Berlin Guide : In progress...

**Not quite finished but just realised you leave tomorrow, Leah!

We got back from Berlin a couple of weeks ago, still with rolls of film to develop and plenty of ideas for new projects back home. I love Berlin: it's greenery, style, bikes, art and history. A few of my friends will be visiting shortly and I thought I would share a few of our favourite places. Sandra Juto has done a great guide on Berlin here, accompanied by beautiful photos. Read it, it's prettier than this one!

Sarah, Becca and Leah, a little guide for you. 
(And anyone else who may happen to be reading).

A few things: Wear comfortable shoes! Berlin is huge! Blister plasters saved my mangled feet, so take some just in case. If you have a smartphone, download an offline map to find your way around. We used the Ulmon Berlin Travel Guide (free!) This saved us a lot of time and meant we could abandon our rubbish paper map, although it does use up your battery quickly. Carry your charger and plug it in during coffee stops. Check the opening days and times of places before you go - a lot of things are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Also, make sure you have enough cash, as most places do not accept payments by card. 


Tucked inside the Jüdische Mädchenschule on Auguststraße, Mogg & Melzer provided my first food-induced weeping session in the form of a goats cheese and beetroot salad. Literal tears. of. joy. Dan had a salt beef sandwich with half a cow in it. We went back a few days later for a smoked salmon and cream cheese / eggs breakfast. Good music, good food, pretty place. Go here and then visit the me Collectors Room gallery - an ace art gallery and wunderkammer, on the same street. 

Having visited Matreshka (also in Friedrichshain.. elderflower vodka!) last year, I wanted to try more russian food. I had the Wareniki (€10,70): stuffed feta cheese dumplings with tomato, rocket & walnuts in a creamy sauce. One of my most favourite meals... EVER. More tears of joy. Dan had the Fish "Putin Style" (€11,70). The website lists this as wild salmon, however his was a trout fillet encrusted with almonds and rosemary, grilled veg with seasoned rice and caviar. This was also really, really good. The servings are pretty big, the interior is beautiful and the cocktails are reasonably priced. I felt like a happy dumpling myself at the end of it. If we could only eat at one place in Berlin, this would be it.
// Gabriel-Max-Str. 1

We made a little mistake here - assuming the portion sizes would be small as the prices were so low. We ended up with about seven plates of food on our table! Tasty, affordable Korean food: tofu, noodles, dumplings, tuna seaweed rolls. The kimchi. Ohhh, the kimchi.
// Alte Schönhauser Str. 6

This place is fun if you go on a busy night, get drunk and play Rock n Roll bingo (à la my 2012 trip). However this time when we visited my chips were cold and the staff are just a bit too rude. Check on the website to see what's on that evening and make a reservation.
// Schönhauser Allee 6-7

This was so much fun! First of all, find Heiden Peters, hire a glass (I think it was 1€) and drink the beautiful sweet nectar that is their selbstgebrautes (home brew). The red ale was especially good. We also tried super tasty smoked fish from Glut & Späne, veggie pies from hellogoodpie, beetroot tartlets from err.. well, I'm not sure actually, everything goes a bit fuzzy after that. That beer is strong! A great place to people watch, have a ridiculous photo taken in the Photo Automat and eat yourself into a coma. Also look out for a stall called Pan (maybe Pan. Handwerk), selling beautiful, super-sharp handmade knives. Nearly took my thumb off with mine this morning. More photos / recommendations here and here.
// Markthalle Neun, 5 - 10pm


The Barn / The Barn Roastery
From the reviews I'd read online, I was expecting to hate this place: No laptops. No dogs. No sugar. No soya milk. No prams (ooft, that one seems harsh. Read more here). Rude staff. But actually... Our coffees were incredible, particularly at The Roastery. The staff take their time over each cup, making sure it is perfect, and were rather friendly too.  Plus the interior is beautiful. Shurrup complaining. 
// Auguststraße 58 / Roastery: Schönhauser Allee 8

Companion Coffee
Down a little alleyway, nestled inside the Voo shop. Beautiful coffee, friendly staff. 
// Oranienstr. 24

Also try Five Elephant - apparently their cheesecake (which you can get at Street Food Thursday) is the best in Berlin. Am Ende der Welt was nice with friendly staff (and Sam Smith's beer), although it is a little tricky to find unless you know where it is.


Beautiful interior, cheap and tasty cocktails. Ohh I want to go back!
// Lettestr. 6

Dan's favourite bar - I've never seen him get so excited over a G&T before (rose petals!) Another beautiful interior, nice atmosphere and carefully crafted cocktails.
// Mariannenstrasse 26a


There are more than 30 million objects in this museum. My favourite was the wet collection. 
// Invalidenstr. 43
There are around 750 wet and dry specimens on show in the Medical museum: wax models of oozing eye diseases, infected organs, malformed skeletons, cut out sections of tattooed skin, mermaid babies... Really interesting, but not for the squeamish. Dan learnt an important lesson from the collection of humongous gallstones - "drink lots of fucking water".
// Charitéplatz 1

Dream book & magazine shop. I wanted to spend all of my money here. 
// Auguststr. 28 & Potsdamer Str. 98

Ace shop selling screen printed artist books, zines, prints, posters.
Torstr. 110

Meret Oppenheim & Anish Kapoor at Martin-Gropius-Bau

Hilma af Klint at Hamburger Bahnhof
Featuring 200 paintings from a pioneer of abstraction, alongside her notebooks and sketches.
It's hard to believe some of these were painted over 100 years ago!

Bearpit Karaoke & Flohmarkt am Mauerpark
This flea market is huge! It also gets ridiculously busy. We were too fuzzy-headed to trawl through all the stalls, so got ourselves vegan burgers and beers and sat in the amphitheatre with a few beers, waiting for Bearpit Karaoke to start at 3pm.  So much fun!
// Sundays. Bernauer Straße 63-64

Also make sure you do some of the touristy stuff, such as the Holocaust Memorial, Gay Holocaust MemorialTopography of Terror, Berlin Wall memorial. Grab a beer and walk down the East Side Gallery, visit Prinzessinnengarten, ride bikes through Tiergarten etc.

Have fun!
I am jealous.

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