Four Days in Berlin

HOW TO GET THERE FREE:
As members of the American Express gold rewards scheme we’ve been collecting air miles and claimed them to book FREE flights with Easy Jet, yes you read that correctly, completely FREE!! Good job as the flight was a rather eventful with a rowdy stag do, resulting in the police called and sat behind a couple of sex workers sharing dick pictures and stories far to rude to share on here ( I kid you not ).

You can join the American Express Gold Card for FREE using the link below.

http://amex.co.uk/refer/charlwnrh7?XLINK=MYCP

WHERE WE STAYED:
Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) has a bus station on site and the city centre is a short bus ride away. After reading some good reviews and being close to good transport links we booked with https://www.agoda.com stayed in the Hampton by Hilton Berlin City Centre Alexanderplatz situated in Mitte, ( prices from £91 a night and includes breakfast).
The hotel is modern and importantly clean, the wifi is good and the price includes breakfast – oh yes everyone love a free breakfast! So prepare yourself for some traffic at peak times, easily the busiest breakfast service I have ever seen on all my travels! The choice was good for a freebie, and the staff did a great job of constantly topping up the food, so no fighting over the last croissant.

DAY ONE:
FOOD TOUR OF MITTE
As a foodie I love learning where the locals eat away from the tourist traps, we have found booking onto a food tour on the first day of our trips set us up with the best places to go and things to do from a locals perspective. I booked the “Berlin Mitte Food Tour” https://www.berlinfoodtour.de/
This is the BEST food tour we have attended to date!! The 4 hour tour with Bastian included 12 tasting with stories, delicacies, history and street art for less than 45 euros per person was great value. The tour was a perfect balance of eating and learning, and Bastian was knowledgeable and helpful providing a map of all the stops and further recommendations which we used for the rest of the trip.

To see our route check out my Berlin Instagram Stories Highlight.

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17860529668424233/

 

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE
After eating our bodyweight we walked (or rolled) ourselves to Check Point Charlie which is the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West. Honestly no idea this is recommended in so many guides?! The recreation of the checkpoint is a naff, and full of tourists being charged to take photos with acting guards, save yourself the misery and miss. On the plus we did find a beach bar down the road, with deckchairs which is nice to relax and digest all the yummy food from the food tour.

DAY TWO
HOW TO TRAVEL AROUND BERLIN
Berlin is quite spread out (but luckily flat) and we found the best way to travel was by bike. Throughout the city there are numerous hire companies, where you can download the app, find your nearest bike and hire for either a set time or as pay as you go. As a petite girl (5ft 3 – on a good day) I did find many of the bikes too big for me. I found the Donkey Republic brand https://www.donkey.bike/ best for my height. You can hire regular and electric bikes available at a slightly higher price if you prefer a bit of help.

ICONIC SITES
We cycled down to Brandenburg Gate, one of the most iconic sights in Berlin, and on to the Reichstag Building to visit the roof terrace and dome. You can book online and Admission is free ( advance registration required). At the top pick up a free audio guide to learn about sites and history of Berlin. Then If the weather is a as glorious as we had it, reward yourself with an ice cream at the end and enjoy one of the best views of Berlin for free.
https://www.bundestag.de/en/visittheBundestag/dome/registration-245686

BERLIN HISTORY
Walking distance from the Reichstag building is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial which is a sea of grey obelisk which to the eye looks like a never ending maze, a thought provoking and eerie place to pay your respects, before walking to the Topography of Terror. The TOT is a free indoor and outdoor museum built on the remains of the SS headquarters. It has remnants of the Berlin wall, and nothing I can say will prepare you for the haunting and heartbreaking story and the horror of the past, take tissues, and wear waterproof mascara.

EAST SIDE GALLERY
After a sobering morning we jumped on a couple of donkeys (bikes) and headed to the East Side Gallery which the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall still in existence, and transformed into an open air art gallery. Worth a cycle along, and to see a grittier side of Berlin with its diverse cultural life and street art. Nearby is Badeschiff ( a cool harboured barge functioning as a floating swimming pool, which would be a perfect way to spend a few hours if you have your swimmers. After a long day we enjoyed at late lunch of authentic Asian food at Umami http://umami-restaurant.de/

THE PRETTIEST PLACE IN BERLIN
Around a 20 minute walk from the hotel in the area of Prenzlauer Berg, which was my favourite and prettiest area of Berlin to explore, it has a more Parisian style feel, with wide avenues, pretty buildings with cafes and restaurants on every corner. A perfect place to meander on summers evening, and enjoy a glass of wine and watch the dusk fade into night.

DAY THREE
MUSEUM ISLAND
Our faithful Donkeys took us to the UNESCO heritage site of Museum Island, a collection of 5 museums most famous for the bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, the Pergamon Altar and the stunning Ishtar Gate. I would recommend booking a 1 day ticket (18 euros pp) online to save the queues, this is also a great money saving way to visit as entry to the Pergamonmuseum entry alone is 19 euro. We visited the Pergamon and Neues Museum, both provide free audio guides. Although there are some great highlights the exhibits aren’t interactive, therefore I wouldn’t recommend for families and after visiting 2/5 of the sites we were museum out. A great coffee break from the museums was “CAFÉ I’M ZEUGHAUS” a short stroll away on the banks of the river, with views of the Berliner Dom and next to a cute market.

POPULAR FOOD PLACES RECOMMENDED BY LOCALS
For lunch we wandered back to our food tour area of Mitte for a kebab at the famous Mustafa Demir’s, budget friendly and super tasty, it lived up to expectations, before enjoying a “Salted Caramel Dude” at Paul Moehring http://paulmoehring.de/ 

WHERE TO SPA
After all the walking and cycling we decided to relax with an evening Liquidrom Spa https://www.liquidrom-berlin.de 2 hours for the thermal bath and spa is 20 euros pp. A word of warning for us Brits who are a little more shy than the rest of our Europeans there is some compulsory nudity, which was a bit of a shock!! The spa signature is a silent warm salt water pool with relaxing music ( swim wear compulsory) which connects to a mini outside pool area (swimwear optional) through to the thermal area. The thermal area contains two saunas with different heat and infusions, a Himalayan salt sauna, steam room and plunge pool. The rule is no swimwear which I found especially uncomfortable and shuffled about in a towel. I do believe that men should only be allowed entry with a woman. Most men were respectful but there were some young men who leered, were loud and made a lot of us feel uneasy. The facilities itself were fab, but I was too stressed to enjoy it, which was a shame, not one for the feign hearted.

DAY FOUR
The final day we decided to have a ride around and see where we would end up, we stumbled across Berlin Zoo. Without any research, and on a limb we decided to give it a try, entry was 15.50 euro per adult. I honestly wish we hadn’t, after visiting Chester Zoo last year and seeing how well loved, and looked after the animals were with big, clean and interactive pens, Berlin Zoo was a heartbreaking place. I left feeling upset, and ashamed we even entered, tears well as I write this, I would not recommend a visit.
For lunch we fancied Tapas with the warm weather and found YOSOY Tapas Bar https://www.yosoy.de/index.php in the Mitte area for all you can eat tapas, when you buy a drink which was Great value and a great way to try new dishes.

This blog should have ended here with information about travel to the airport however out flight got cancelled and we ended up in emergency hotel at 2am and an extra night in Berlin but with no luggage! At 2am we managed to get a booking at Schulz East Side Gallery https://www.schulzhotels.com/en/, which has great views of the wall with the art work. Its a quirky place, but we preferred the comfort of the Hampton.

I’m thinking of writing a blog on what to do when you’re flight is cancelled as I didn’t have a clue before!Would you find it a useful read? Please comment below.

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