Berlin, artist haven.
Life can throw you curveballs but you've just got to roll with it. Months after booking flights to Spain, our airline called to say they were cancelling their route to Madrid. After the initial grumble, we realised our opportunity to squeeze some time in Germany to our trip. Having close friends living in Berlin with artist residencies, it was the natural choice for us.
Berlin, so effortlessly cool is the epitome of modern hipster. But hipsters don't like to be called hipsters do they? Stay in the trendy suburb of Kreuzberg where the local markets are a true delight. Metres of fabrics and haberdasheries galore are piled next to mountains of fresh, local produce. Head there with an empty stomach so you can taste the abundance of delicious, multicultural food. If jetlag has you up at 4am, scour Triposo to search for the best cafes with early opening times. A walk along the meandering River Spree will lead you to plenty of options who sell fresh croissants.
In a city that was devastated by World War II and left quite literally divided, present day Berlin is rich in culture and the creative arts. This in turn has attracted a large presence of international creatives, so don't expect it to be overly-German. My one grumble is that in a place so rich in the music scene you can't watch a gig without feeling as if you've inhaled an entire packet of cigarettes. The local bars are pumping full of amazing sounds, good vibes and a hazy cloud of smoke.
Get around by bike.
Take to your bike like the locals to explore the city. Discover the artificial beach bars and the remaining strip of wall that has been muralised by street artists. We could truly learn from their cyclist friendly freeways, I shared a lane with a bus who let me have the right of way. To acknowledge the local history, don't forget to visit the Jewish museum and memorial. Sobering places, they both offer a good opportunity for reflection.
Having travelled throughout Turkey in search of falafel, I've since discovered why they are fresh out. Home to a large population of Turkish peoples, Berlin boasts the best range of $2EUR falafels you will ever find. It's a true vegetarian-haven, buried beneath the mountain of bratwursts and schnitzels.
Go on, try a stein.
But what would Germany be without its beers? A massive fan of Weissbier, I couldn't resist the pull of the traditional 1Litre steins at the beerfest. What better way to quench your thirst after a full day of city explorations? Make sure to also enjoy a mate. Pronounced Ma-tay, these iced tea drinks are perfect when spiked with vodka and taken (falafel in tow) to visit Templehof. This ex-airport has been turned into a unique public space where you can watch people skate along the runway or pay local poets to write stanzas about the oddities of the universe. Time it so that you arrive in time for the beautiful sunset.
- Words by Kelly. Pictures by Daniel.