Berlin. One of my favourite European cities. Probably my second favourite overall after Lisbon in Portugal. It’s one of those places where you sense the friendly party atmosphere and feel alive at night. And it’s a very cool place to go. It wasn’t my first visit as I’d been here during a whirlwind Contiki tour one year ago. Only catching a quick glimpse of the city which was enough to make me vow to return again.
The first night I arrived was a public holiday celebrating Day of German Unity. Meaning that there was a wee festival in the Brandenburg Gate area for me to check out.
I discovered this night that Germany does indeed have delicious fruit beers beginning the start of a beer-drinking frenzy for the duration of my Germany trip.
Over the next few days I checked out the old usual tourist sites including places like the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery, Topography of Terror, Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust museum. And a bunch of graffiti street art.
The area I stayed in called Friedrichshain mostly looked like this everywhere
On the East Side Gallery
Further along the gallery
My favourite section of the gallery
Jewish Holucost Memorial
The museum is underneath the memorial itself and very moving
Brandenburg Gate again during the golden hour. You can see the festival Ferris wheel still set up from the previous night
A picturesque church near Mitte
Street art poking fun at tourists
Berlin Cathedral Church
From a different angle on my way to the DDR museum (also worth a visit)
For another day I hired a bicycle and rode around Berlin. This was definitely a great idea. Everywhere in Berlin it’s easy to spot bike rental shops for really reasonable prices. I paid a mere €10 for 24 hours for a decent bicycle with a comfy seat. There are cycle lanes absolutely everywhere making it an easy healthy option to get around. I never once felt unsafe from the traffic while riding. I dedicated the day to visiting parks.
Looking up at the monument in Viktoriapark
It was a beautiful leafy autumn during my Germany trip
My ride for the day. Parked on the runway in Tempelhofer Feld which used to be an airport but is now a city park
The old runway is perfect for activities like wind-surfing, kite-boarding, roller blading and cycling
It gets pretty windy there (my bike blew over oops)
But was still fine for riding through the last park Planterwald. A lovely forestry park with an abandoned amusement park in the middle. You had to climb a fence to see the old rides which I chickened out of doing
The 100-foot Molecule Man sculpture on the Spree River. One of the sights on my river-side bike back to the hostel
And then of course there was the night-life. I did a couple of different pub crawls while in Berlin. One with Sandemans which was okay. The group of people attending was far too big and the tour went to bars that were generally empty on our arrival. But the second one was excellent with the Berlin Alternative Tours company and I highly highly recommend. I also did a free walking tour with this company which was equally amazing. I just wish I’d had more time to do more of their tours.
At a ping pong themed bar on the second pub crawl
An Absinthe themed bar was next. And then I forgot about taking photos after this shot
My ‘gang’ during the crawl
My cool friend that I made in Hamburg accompanying on the first pub crawl
I wanted to stay in Berlin for longer. I can honestly say I had the best time during my four days. Seeing and experiencing so much more compared to my last visit was a glorious feeling. And realising this city I still liked this city just as much as the first time. But I had to move on with only having a limited time in Germany to travel. I felt it would be good to see more than just two German cities. Plus I was finding that with the exciting night life, and my noisy dorm room, my sleep wasn’t that great. If I continued on I would have worn myself out with exhaustion which I didn’t want. So a little bit hungover the next day, I headed to the bus station to head on southwards.
Where I stayed: The Sunflower Hostel
Price: €17 per night in an 8 bed dorm
Overall: I booked this hostel through Airbnb as it was strangely cheaper on there than Hostelworld. Never hurts to compare guys! It was a cool hostel. Probably more of a party one though as my room mates were coming in at all hours from their various night time activities. There is a friendly bar on the bottom floor with some interesting decorations as per below photo. The breakfast is one of the best hostel ones I’ve ever had. Just simple but exactly what I craved with fresh baked rolls, yoghurt and muesli etc. The neighbourhood looks dodgy initially as there is graffiti absolutely everywhere, but that’s normal for that part of town and I felt safe walking around at night. The hostel itself is a mixture of groungy and modern. Just depends on the part your room is located. I felt happy enough staying there.
The reception/bar. There were stuffed toys on the ceiling among other decorations