Berlin – the city of contrasts

Hello again! Today I am going to tell you about my trip to Berlin that I had back in October, 2016. I now realized this is a “throwback thursday”. So, I was there with husband and a good friend of ours, expecting to have a lot of fun by exploring this city.

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Unfortunately, the weather was awful. In general, Berlin’s weather in October should be like 15°C, which is good, right? But noooo, there were instead 8-9°C during the day, so imagine how this felt like into the night. It was very cold and we did not expect this, therefore we did not have many warm clothes with us. And if this wasn’t enough, it rained too. PERFECT

Ok, but first things first. We’ve booked our Ryanair flights from Bucharest to Berlin at 10 Euros each. Super super cheap. Ryanair lands on Schoenefeld Airport and because we had our return flight at 7 AM, we stayed at the MEININGER Hotel (rated as “Very good 8.5” on Booking). It was really close to the airport so we did not have to worry about waking up too early on our departure day.

The hotel offers free shuttle services to reach the accommodation. We had a very nice triple room: super clean, comfy beds and 2 bathrooms. The price for this room was 167 Euros in total and we stayed 2 nights. Being 3 of us, this means that we paid like 30 Euros each per night so the price was really good.

My first impression was that Germans are indeed cold and seem quite unfriendly. They do not tend to smile very often and look very serious. Although, I think this fact is due to World War II… it has left its mark upon Germany as a nation and their temperament passes on from generation to generation.

However, I can tell you this: Berlin is rising from the ashes and reinventing itself. Decades of war and oppression are being replaced by trendy boutiques, sidewalk cafes, shopping areas and renovated historical monuments and museums.

From our hotel, we reached Alexanderplatz in about 30-40 minutes. A bit far, indeed. But we knew this from the beginning so it was no surprise. About public transportation, ticket holders have access to all public transport in Berlin: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams and ferries. The fare depends on the tariff zone and the ticket’s period of validity.

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DAY 1. As I said before, our first stop was Alexanderplatz. We went directly to the Television Tower – Berlin’s landmark – which  is 203 m above the city! Tickets were 13 Euros each and the view was spectacular.

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Yes, we were up there where you can spot those tiny windows. Also, there is a fancy restaurant upstairs but I think you have to reserve a table long time before visiting the Tower to have a chance eating there.

Also, let me show you some pictures taken from up there. The light is not very good though. However, this is the Berliner Dome seen from above, zoomed in, of course.

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And this is another shot of Berlin from where you can see the Spree River.

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About the food, Berlin has many street food vendors that sell sausages and currywurst, with standing tables outside where you can quickly eat your cheap but tasty food. You’ll find one of these places in most streets, a sharp contrast with some of the fine restaurants in the city.

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After visiting the Television Tower, we walked to Brandenburg Gate. A loooot of people were out there, the city was absolutely vibrant. And they were all drinking alcohol!  I have to tell you that we were a bit shocked at first haha. I’ve seen a lot of people drinking beers that night… I’m guessing that from 100 people passing by, 80 of them were holding beers in their hands. Party people or what? Berliners are very libertine and we really enjoyed this sense of freedom.

I’ve photographed some girls using this colorful “taxi”. They were driving through the city center and had some loud music on. What did I tell you about the city vibe? LOVE IT!

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During our stroll from Alexanderplatz to Brandenburg Gate, I’ve bought myself a scarf because I was freezing. Remember those 8-9°C? I think there were 6°C at that moment and I was wearing juuuust a thin jacket. But we bought some hot wine from a street vendor, it kept us warm and gave us the “strength” to continue our walk haha.

Forgot to tell you that Berlin was all illuminated due to the Festival of Lights. YAY^^

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Our intention was to go clubbing that night because Berlin’s club scene is the best in Europe and you can club until the early hours of the morning in some of the most famous clubs in the world, such as Panorama Bar or Watergate.

Unfortunately, we were very tired and cold so we headed back to our hotel. Transportation is available by night too, however trains are running at 30-minute-intervals.

DAY 2. We literally put ALL of our clothes on before we left the room. Also, we were a bit disappointed because it was raining. A bit more.

First stop was at the Parliament, the Reichstag Building. The roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag Building can be visited by members of the public, and offer spectacular views of the parliamentary and government district and Berlin’s sights. Also, admission is free, but they require advance registration. You can book your visit to the dome here.

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After a little while, guess what happened? THE SUN WAS OUT!!! Yes! I remember we were so happy we almost felt like we should celebrate this haha.

Ohhhh and look at these colorful trees! Autumn looks very nice in Berlin… when it’s not raining!

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In the picture below husband was checking the map. He is the one who’s guiding us in all of our trips. I am not good at this at all. Orientation is not for me. North, West, South, East… whatever.

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Next stop – the Berlin Wall. It’s a must see of course. But before this, we enjoyed a walk by the Spree river. Ferry transport forms a part of the transport network of Berlin. The service was inaugurated in 1896, when the first ferry line opened between Wilhelmstrand and Baumschulenstraße.

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Remember that I’ve told you about the sun coming out? Well, it was a real struggle to make its appearance because of those ugly clouds. And as you may see below, this did not last much. The rain was literally following us.

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In the meantime, we’ve stopped at a very nice restaurant and had some pizza. Because it was Happy Hour, the pizza was served with… VODKA. We received 1 shot for free each. This is how Berliners endure the cold weather, by drinking vodka at noon haha.

On our way to the Berlin Wall, we were pleasantly surprised by a mad drummer who played his music on pots and saucepans. Kind of awesome, right?

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Because the Berlin Wall used to divide the city into the East side and West side, remnants of the Wall can be found through many parts of the city. But we wanted to see the well-known graffiti covered wall and we had some difficulties finding that specific part of the wall. After a while, we did found it and we were quite impressed.  However, the sad thing is that most of the wall is fenced to protect it from vandals, therefore it was kind of hard taking pictures there.

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My favourite graffiti was the one with this Trabant breaking the wall. We also had many of these cars in Romania during our communist time.

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Afterwards, we wanted to see the Berliner Dome, but we reached our destination too late. Maybe next time. We also wanted to see the Aquarium but couldn’t find it. We asked some Berliners about directions but they were quite surprised that there actually is an Aquarium in Berlin haha. So, we visited the DDR Museum instead. Entry price: 9,5 Euros each.

Later, we ate some pasta in a very nice restaurant near Gorlitzer Park . We were supposed to meet a friend of mine there. Funny thing: after I talked to her, my phone was dead and she did not have husband’s phone number. But guess what? We accidentally came across each other in the street. Pure luck I would say.

She took us to Potsdamer Platz, we also managed to see Checkpoint Charlie and we passed by the Memorial of Murdered Jews of Europe as well. The Memorial looked really frightening in the dark.

We were back at the hotel at 4 AM in the morning and we were suppose to have our flight back to Bucharest at 7AM, remember? We arrived at the accomodation that late because the night transportation was delayed due to a GOD KNOWS WHAT thing – there was indeed something written in German on the station boards. But only German, not English at all. WHY???

Therefore, we overslept and lost our return flight. Period. Even though we specifically booked Meininger Hotel because it was very close to the airport, remember that part as well? There, I said it. You may laugh now. I am laughing too. But we sure did NOT laugh at all back then!

So, we booked another flight to Bucharest for that same day, but the plane tickets were way moooore expensive than the initial ones, of course.

And that was pretty much it. As a conclusion, we will definitely visit again Berlin during summer time, because I am sure the city is even more lively than it was in October and we certainly want to take advantage of this^^

Hopefully, not missing any more flights in the future haha.

Until next time,

Andreea.

  • Our stay in Berlin: 08.10.2016 – 10.10.2016
  • Bucharest – Berlin and return flight initially booked: Ryanair 40 Euros
  • Accommodation: Meininger Hotel 120 Euros
  • Total: 160 Euros as a couple

3 thoughts on “Berlin – the city of contrasts

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