It’s been nearly two weeks since I visited Berlin after – what felt like – ages. I drank a lot of coffee and had a lot of fun with people who have a special place in my heart. It was short and sweet and also very emotional, as so many changes happened since last summer when I moved out. I walked the streets with eyes wide open and my heartbeat going full-speed.
Happiness level: freshly adopted puppy.
I somehow ended up at very cool places, both for food and drinks, and did a lot of fun activities. Not because I’m a trendy globetrotter but because my friends are true locals with a good (and quirky) taste. So I decided to share the whole story here on my blog, together with a bunch of bad-quality iphone photos. Partly because of the sentiment – partly because there is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing Berlin visitors falling for the notorious tourist traps. Well, there are a few more heartbreaking things in this world. But this one is so easy to avoid!
There is one downside to Berlin in winter that can however barely come as a surprise: you can’t stay outside. Long gone are the summer days where we were picnicing in Görlitzer Park, swimming in Krumme Lanke and daydrinking in Neukölln’s countless spätis. These days, you’d better hide somewhere warm – but don’t worry. There are still plenty of things to enjoy.
MARGARETHE’S TIP: C/O GALLERY, HARDENBERGSTR. 22 (UBAHN+SBAHN: ZOOLOGISCHER GARTEN)
My weekend started on Friday afternoon at the Warschauerstraße. Where else. If there is any place in Berlin that feels like home, it’s definitely the area of Boxhagener Platz, Watergate and the Schlesisches Tor on the opposite riverside. This district is full of nice coffee places, pubs and friendly Berliners with friendly dogs. Highly recommended for a stroll!
After I left my gigantic Rains backpack at David’s place, I headed to Zoologischer Garten to meet Margarethe and her friends. They were at the C/O Gallery and I joined them for a photo exhibition of Joel Meyerowitz. I had been to this gallery twice before; once, I almost fainted out of heat and thirst during an exhibition opening – needless to say, this was a much more pleasant visit. Also highly recommended, but credits for this tip go to Margarethe and her artsy clique!
In the evening, I stayed in the Friedrichshain neighborhood with a few dear friends of mine. It was just as sentimental as it sounds. I got ridiculously tipsy on maybe two or three beers (Note to self: eat first next time) and was extremely cheerful. Two tips if you’re going out in the district of Warschauerstr./Friedrichshain: the huge party complex near Warschauer (possibly called RAW/ idk) and Simon-Dach-Straße are to be avoided. The latter one seems to be presented as one of Berlin’s party gems but trust me, it is not. With the single exception of Dachkammer bar, which is a very cozy pub, popular in the kiez.
HANNA’S TIP: CAFE VALENTIN, SANDERSTR. 13 ( UBAHN SCHÖNLEINSTR.)
Incurably naive as I sometimes inexplicably am, I made breakfast plans for Saturday morning. Of course I over-snoozed, got lost on the way
and came late. Hanna was waiting for me patiently with a book – we hadn’t seen each other for half a year, so there was a lot to catch up on.
So around lunch time, we had a breakfast at Café Valentin, an old favorite of ours. The place has a Swedish owner, meaning they serve knäckebrot, cinnamon buns and the best porridge I’ve ever had. We surely do have good reasons for liking Valentin: first of all, the selection of food, cakes and drinks is wide and delicious. Second – it’s not a complete zoo during brunch times like most of the breakfast places in Berlin. Third – a very strategic location, walking distance from the canal and the Turkish market.
Coffee was much needed that Saturday, so I grabbed another cup to go and we walked out to the sunshine. It felt both strange and good to
stroll down the Maybachufer, my ultimate happy place in Berlin. Then another coffee date awaited, followed by a tour de Kreuzberg in the freezing winter evening. I got to revisit the Wrangelkiez where I’d shortly live before. I love love love that little district. Full of cute cafes, drug dealers and quirky shops. You should definitely walk through if you’re somewhere around Görlitzer Park!
DAVID’S TIP: ARIRANG, LOCATED SOMEWHERE ON WARSCHAUERSTR.
After I got back to David’s place, we resuscitated our tired souls and went out for a super nice dinner at a little Korean place, Arirang. Apparently, it’s a local treasure, implying it was completely crammed. The lovely owner however made room for us, so I got to try their bibimbap and pickles. Yum. Too bad we didn’t bring another five people in order to try the Korean BBQ, it looked delicious too. This tip is golden, I swear. I think that low-key places like this have much more charm than fancy/ hip spots & the food was excellent.
You can find this restaurant directly on Warschauerstr. – simply start on the side where REWE is and keep walking further towards Frankfurter Tor.
The night continued with a few beers in Kreuzberg and then a 90s deep house/techno/sth party again close by the canal. Being the awkward person I am, I often feel slightly misplaced when dancing in the middle of the hip, black-dressed Berlin crowd – but that wasn’t that case and we danced danced danced. Later on, David forgot his purse at the club so I got to walk down Maybachufer in total six times that day.
One lucky girl ❤
We ended with some falafel and sleep. I missed those early junk food breakfasts.
There was nothing left to do on Sunday morning than to pack my stuff again and return to Prague. I left the city with very with dark eye circles and a very light heart. Berlin, soon<3