Travel | Berlin, Part 1... The Brandenburg Gate, Charlottenburg Schloss & Street Food Thursday...

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Guys! I have SO MANY Berlin Photo's it is INSANE! At first I was going to put them all up in one post but after looking through the 412 photos in my album, I thought that might be a *little* too many for one installment! So today I am just sharing a few from our first couple of days there.

We'd booked a really early morning flight out so that we could get a full 5 days in Berlin. While the 4 am wake up call was a little brutal, at least it meant we were in Germany by 10am, had our bags dropped off at the hotel by 12 and were eating strudel by 1pm. If like us, pastry is high up on your list then I can confirm that Cafe Einstein is as good as the guidebooks say it is! It's also only a stones throw away from the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the Holocaust memorial.

When you think of cities, certain buildings or sights are obviously iconic, and one of my favourite things about trraveling is seeing these sights for yourself and being filled with that 'I'm really here' feeling. That's what happened for me when within 3 hours of being in Berlin we were stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate. In many ways it is easy to look at the gate and think, it is just like gates scattered all over Europe, but some places seem to literally vibrate with their history don't they? 

After taking about a hundred photos of the gate, and photos of us at the gate, and photos of other people taking photos of the gate, we headed towards the Reichstag building. We'd booked to go up into the dome later in the week as you have to do this in advance, so we weren't heading inside. One thing I would definitely recommend is visiting as much as you can mid week, like all capital cities, while Berlin might not have the same claustrauphobic bustle as say London, it is never exactly quiet, but midweek in November was definitely verging on it!

We also managed to fit in a quick wander around the Holocaust memorial before checking in at the hotel. Both the young man and I were surprised at how moving we found it. I hadn't realised just how big it was, or how high the stones rose. Of course, my tourist ad luck struck again and the visitors centre that accompanies the memorial wasn't open! I've also since heard some opinions and stories that have made me feel slightly differently about it, but I'd still say that it is worth walking around, not only as a piece of art but so that you can make your own mind up about it.

That evening we headed to the firs of many Christmas markets that were to come that week (which was no bad thing, that was the main reason we had visited in November after all!). The Gedenberg market is the only market you have to pay to get into, but at 2 euros it hardly breaks the bank. It is tucked away just next to the Opera house, and which gives it a very picturesque backdrop, and out of all of the markets we visited, it was also one of the most authentic, in terms of what was on sale! Not only that, but there was also live entertainment (although the German panto was a little lost on us) and the food stalls had their own eating areas, like smaller pop up restaurants. 

The next day we headed out to Charlottenburg to visit the Schloss (palace). When we were researching where to stay, we were under the impression that Charlottenburg was miles out, but actually it was only about half an hour on the S Bahn, and probably slightly less on the U Bahn. It actually took is longer to find the Schloss once we got to Charlottenburg than it had for us to travel there. Not because it's a long walk, but because we got lost! I didn;t mind too much though, getting lost in a new city is one of my favourite ways to really see a place!

When we did arrive at the Schloss it was just as pretty as we'd expected, although perhaps slightly more scaffolding than we'd imagined! We spent a whole afternoon wandering around the gardens, despite it being pretty chilly, before accidentally finding ourselves drinking Gluhwein again. There is also a Christmas market on the palace grounds, and the Schloss, makes for equally as pretty a backdrop as the opera house! If we're being honest, we might have a spent a little longer than we meant to drinking Gluhwein, but we were on our holidays, and the Young Man and I agreed, we it a pretty good balance between making sure we saw everything, and actually spending some time just relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

As if we hadn;t had enough of markets that night we headed to the now pretty famous Street Food Thursday Market over in Kreuzberg, where each week independent food and drink traders take over the market hall. Kreuzberg itself had a very hipster feel about it, and while we were trying to find the market (getting lost again) we saw loads of great looking cocktail bars, where I imagine, if it hadn't been Christmas market time, we'd have spent a fair few of our evenings.

The street food market was worth eventually finding though! I only wish I'd taken mre instagram worthy photos! Eery stall smelt and looked delicous, and there was something for everyone. Vegan, veggie, cheese lover, drinker, thai food, tapas, burgers. You name it we could have eaten it! The place was PACKED. And while it wasn't really full of tourists, from the amount of British and American accents I heard, I would guess it's a favourite with those expats living in Berlin.

And there you have it! Our first couple of days in Berlin! I hope I haven't overloaded you with 'then we went here, and then we did this...' I want to share as much of Berlin as I can in the next week, as the trip was so festive, it just doesn't seem right saving it until January! Guess that's my own fault for being such a rubbish blogger lately!

Live life & drink more Gluhwein x

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