July 17, 2012
My special man friend and I recently returned from a three week sojourn to Europe where we laughed and ate our way through four amazing countries. Although I would have liked to blog on the go, I was too busy enjoying myself. (Laziness is the moral obligation of all holiday makers!)
So here to start us off, is a salt-encrusted, cinnamon-dusted, chocolate-dipped aftertaste of Berlin.
There are so many unusual places to stay in Berlin, we didn’t limit ourselves to just one. The first 2 nights we spent in the Radisson Blu in the heart of the city. The lobby of the Radisson sourrounds the world’s largest circular aquarium (housing over 1500 tropical fish) which always bathed our hotel room in a weird blue light. We also took in the underwater views from the two-story glass elevator inside the aquarium itself which is where this photo was taken. The Raddisson also holds the title for the trip’s best buffet breakfast. We totally peaked too soon.
The next two nights we spent in this light-filled loft room at the quirky Michelberger Hotel in Friedrichshain. A 2 minute walk across the Spree river takes you into the the Kreuzberg district (pretty much the birth place of the hipster) and along the largest remaining stretch of the Wall.
In order to justify six platefuls of buffet breakfasts each day, we usually skipped a sit-down lunch and made the most of Berlin’s awesome street food, snacking on currywurst and pretzels.
Most pretzel purchases were followed by eating the purchase into a crescent shape and posing for pretzel-smile photos in front of tourist attractions. Here’s one in front of the Reichstag, where German Parliaments met from 1894 to 1933 and again since 1999.
When there were no pretzels to hand, we usually fell back on that old standard, the jumping photo. Here’s one in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the only remaining town gate of Berlin.
The weirdest thing we did was visit an abandonned GDR-era amusement park, Spreepark in Treptower Park forest. It was caught halfway between a horror movie set and a really kitsch place to have a picnic.
The highlight was discovering this rickety old teacup ride just as it started to rain! (Sidenote: How cool would it be if there were jacuzzi tea cup rides?!)
The creepiest part was the creaking ferris wheel and the dinosaurs all keeled over and cracked open.
This one survived!
Berlin has been called ‘the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world’ which has helped the city to earn a UNESCO’s City of Design nod. This was taken in an alley off Rosenthaler Straße, in the old Jewish quarter of Berlin. Check out Bubble Jesus!
No graffiti tour of Berlin is complete without a walk down the longest remaining stretch of wall, the Eastside Gallery in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. For me, the Cold War represents the most fascinating jigsaw piece of Berlin’s history. And the wall tells the story better than any history book – On one side of the wall, the free expression of democratic West Berlin, and on the otherside, the blank walls of repressed East Berlin. It blew my mind.
Other Berlin favourites include the DDR Museum (an interactive exhibition about everyday life in East Germany) Tiergarten Park (the city’s largest park where everyone nudes up as soon as the temperature rises above 21 degrees) and Berlin Unterweldten (guided subterratean tours of historical Berlin).
Then after Berlin we flew to Zagreb, but that is a story for another day!
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