After a short layover in Frankfurt I landed in Berlin to colder temperatures than I was expecting. In my delirium from traveling, I walked passed the baggage claim and forgot to pick up my suit case. In Berlin, if you walk out of the baggage claim area, you can’t go back in and get your luggage. My only option was to go to Lost and Found and wait 2 hours for them to retrieve my luggage. Luckily, a man I had briefly met in the Frankfurt airport was just about to walk out and I asked him if he could grab my suitcase. What a life saver! Luckily, that was not an indication of how my Berlin trip was going to go.
I waited at coffee shop in the airport for my friend Samantha to arrive from Vienna and we called a taxi and headed to the hotel. We didn’t have a hotel booked in advance since this trip was a last minute plan but we used Hotel Tonight (use my code ABOLBEA to get $25 off your next booking) to book the Steigenberger Hotel. We had a very pleasant stay there however the Wi-Fi situation was subpar. You could only connect 2 devices at a time to the high speed Wi-Fi and everything else had to be on the regular Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the regular Wi-Fi was so slow it was not usable and Sam and I both having a phone and a laptop took turns going on and off the network to get work done which was very frustrating.
The first night we got in and decided to go to dinner at Henne Schultheiss for some German food. Sam had the half chicken and I had smoked sausage and both of us had some potato salad. All the food was amazing! Especially the cabbage salad.
After dinner we decided to walk over to a speakeasy-type bar called Prinzipal. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the bar had a little magic show every 50 minutes. The magicians also went around the bar doing magic tricks that left both Sam and I giggling and wondering how they did it. The tasty drinks and the throwback music had us hanging out there for a few hours. A few friends were going to Kitty Cheng Bar, a hip hop bar close by so we decided to join them. Kitty Cheng Bar had a 5 euro cover for both girls and guys which surprised Sam and I. Girls aren’t usually expected to pay cover to places in the states. Regardless, we had a blast dancing then got food next door before heading back to the hotel room.
The next day was our big sightseeing day so we woke up around 9am to get an early start. Our first stop was the Liebeskind showroom, a brand from Berlin that I really love and decided to take the opportunity to meet while I was in town. On the way there, we drove by remains of the Berlin Wall which is now covered in graffiti and art. Artist can apply for a spot on the wall to place their art for the world to see. Although most of the art was written in a German, the peace, strength and unity theme was easily visible. We got to the Liebeskind showroom and it was artfully beautiful and the people and products inside even more lovely. Jana showed us around and pulled some of her favorites for me and was great in letting us know which spots to hit while we were in town. We actually went to a couple of her restaurant recommendations and they were both great! The first one was Borchardt, a very trendy brunch spot. We got there at the perfect time as it quickly got packed right after we sat down. The clientele was an elevated crowed of mainly business men having meetings and women having lunch. I thought the restaurant was a little overwhelmed because everything took very long to get delivered but once it came everything was delicious. I had a black sausage with mashed potatoes and cabbage. My friend had a beer that took fifteen minutes to be delivered and a steak that she said was excellent.
After lunch we walked to the Holocaust Memorial and walked back to the hotel from there. The Holocaust Memorial was breathtakingly beautiful and sad at the same time. It really did a great job memorializing the amount of people affected during the tragic acts of the past.
On the way back to the hotel we walked by a couple more landmarks. The Brandenberg Gate ( a symbol of European unity and peace) and the Reichstag building (were German parliament meet) were impressive. We rested when we got back to the hotel and took a couple power naps as we had high hopes for our last night in Berlin. Our initial plan was to go to dinner at Crackers, another one of Jana’s recommendations, a bar called Odessa, then end our night at Berghain, a massive club everyone said we must see.
Picture from Crackers Facebook
I have to say the restaurant Crackers was splendid. From the entrance that had you second guessing if you were going the right way to the decadent dishes and beautiful ambiance. We ended up having a three-hour dinner after which we were so exhausted that all our other plans fell by the wayside as our jet lag got the best of us. We returned back to the hotel and slept until 11am then next day. I guess we needed it. We woke up, packed and headed to the train station. After some trouble trying to figure out the ticket-kiosks we bought our tickets and headed to Currywurst (a German fast food spot) to grab some food before getting on the train. I must say I was very impressed by the cleanliness of the German trains and even their cities for that matter. Granted there is graffiti everywhere there is very little trash and the streets are constantly being cleaned. The public restrooms where spotless as well probably because they charge a fee to enter that goes to their maintenance.
Berlin was the first city I visited in Germany and it left me with a great impression. My next stop was Frankfurt.