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Badass Berlin

Berlin

 

Be careful what you wear

to a club in Berlin

 

Berlin

 

‘Cuz if you’re dressed too fancy

they won’t let you in.

 

Berlin

 

If you own a building

good luck keeping it clean

 

Berlin

 

graffiti is so prevalent

even the cops look the other way.

 

Berlin

 

Berlin could care less

about authority and rules

 

Berlin

 

we might see police and government

they see powerless tools.

 

Berlin

 

But the edge and the punk

isn’t what makes Berlin badass

 

Berlin

 

head to Mitte or Charlottenburg

and you’ll see there’s still plenty of class.

 

Berlin

 

It’s not exclusivity

that makes Berlin so cool

 

Berlin

 

It’s the spectacular diversity

that inspires an inclusive attitude.

 

Berlin

 

World class museums

or a gallery hole in the wall

 

Berlin

 

Classical opera performances

Hip Hop in the subway hall.

 

Berlin

 

Few buck Turkish kebab

or famous Currywurst

 

Berlin

 

Michelin star restaurants

modern cuisine locally sourced.

 

Berlin

 

High fashion design

flea markets in the park

 

Berlin

 

weekend brunch buffets

epic parties after dark.

 

Berlin

 

Hit up the Reggae beach bar

that sits along the river

 

Badass Berlin - 19

 

techno parties and raging clubs

don’t bode well for your liver.

 

Berlin

 

In Berlin anything is possible

and anything goes

 

Berlin

 

the people’s unique expression

exponentially grows.

 

Berlin

 

No limits on possibility

No limits on creativity.

 

Berlin

 

You don’t need a canvas

when you’ve got a city wall

 

Berlin

 

You don’t need a bar

when you’ve got a recycled stall.

 

Berlin

 

You don’t need a venue

when the whole world’s a stage

 

Berlin

 

Taking it to the street

that’s all the rage.

 

Berlin

 

Berlin once symbolized

the devastation of separation

 

Berlin

 

in just 25 years they transformed it

into a symbol of unification.

 

Berlin

 

Even the place full of people

once most misunderstood

 

Berlin

 

Joined misfit forces making Kreuzberg

Berlin’s coolest ‘hood.

 

Berlin

 

Call me idealistic

or perhaps even naïve

 

Berlin

 

But this proves that anything

can be transformed to love when you believe.

 

Berlin

 

When we embrace our differences

we see that we’re in fact the same.

 

Berlin

 

When we embrace our differences

we eradicate our need to blame.

 

Berlin

 

Divided we’re weak

together we’re strong.

 

Berlin

 

When we come together

we can overcome.

 

Berlin

 

When we let our wall down

we return to being one.

 

 

Badass Berlin - 41

 

One Badass Weekend in Berlin

 

Berlin is absolutely massive with a dozen neighborhoods, hundreds of museums, and thousands of events going on at any given time. Faced with the challenge of experiencing the city in just 48 hours (totally crazy!) I’ve put together this guide that highlights a little bit of everything that makes Berlin so badass.

 

With limited time, where you choose to stay is key. I recommend staying near the River Spree in Friedrichshain just across from Kreuzberg, the hippest neighborhoods in Berlin. Here you can find restaurants and hotels suited to all budgets and some of the best nightlife. I stayed at the super hip music themed nHow Hotel (doubles starting at 120 euros) directly on the river, with phenomenal views, an epic breakfast, an aromatherapy sauna (if you followed me in Finland you know how obsessed I am with sauna), and you can even rent guitars, keyboards, or DJ machines to bring up to your room for free. Just up the street across from the Warschauer Str. metro station, The Michelberger Hotel (doubles starting at 70 euros) is one of the trendiest hotels in Berlin. Budget travelers can stay right next door to the The Michelberger for cheap at Industrie Palaste Hostel (dorms starting at 12 euros) which has a communal kitchen and lots of hang out space.

 

To really explore Berlin, public transport is completely necessary, and fortunately is very convenient. Pick up a 48 hour Berlin Welcome Card (20 euros) for free public transport and discounts on hundreds of activities, tours, and restaurants.

 

Friday

After checking into your hotel, hop on the metro and head to the Mitte neighborhood, where you’ll find many of the famous historical sites including the Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom, and Museum Island. If the weather is nice, grab a snack from one of the many cheap cafes in Hackescher Market and have a picnic on the lawn facing the Berliner Dom. If there’s time, visit one of the many incredible museums including the Neues Museum with the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti. Enjoy the sunset by taking a walk along the river that surrounds the island. In the evening, head back to Friedrichshain and grab a beer and a kebab on the street or enjoy a more elegant meal at the gourmet vegan restaurant Mio Matto (3 course menu, 27 euros), consistently rated one of the best restaurants in the city. Afterwards, check out the unique food and drink stalls at Neue Heimat, a former railway depot, with live music and DJs. On the same street at Neue Heimat, Revelar, you’ll find all kinds of hip and creative bars to explore.

 

Saturday

After breakfast at your hotel, walk over to the river to the East Side Gallery. This 1.3 kilometer long stretch remains the largest intact section of the Berlin Wall, and the largest outdoor gallery in the world. While this structure once created immense suffering, it has become a beautiful canvas for creative expression. Plan to spend 1-2 hours walking along both sides. Hop on a metro to Alexanderplatz at noon to meet up with Alternative Berlin Tours for the Real Berlin Experience (12 euros). You’ll spend the next 4-6 hours exploring the city with a guide who has an incredible knowledge of street art and counterculture in Berlin. This is a great way to get an insider view of Berlin in a very short amount of time. (If you have more than 48 hours in Berlin, I highly recommend doing this tour early in your trip, so that you can go back and spend more time on your own in the spots that interest you.) Watch the sunset from the Oberbaumbruke, the bridge that connects Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. In the evening, head over to Kreuzberg, the most international neighborhood in Berlin, for dinner and nightlife. There’s a huge variety of inexpensive eats, but for something really special, dine at Kantine Kohlmann (3-5 euros starters, 18 euros entree). This trendy bar and restaurant uses local, sustainable ingredients to make delicious modern twists on German classics. Do not miss the goat cheese salad, the klopse (traditional Berlin meatballs with potato foam and fried capers), and the seared pike with perfectly roast sunchokes. After dinner, take yourself on a pub crawl through Kreuzberg and end your night at Yaam for Reggae and Dancehall on the river.

 

Sunday:

Nothing goes better after the party than brunch, so head to Markethalle Neun (breakfast market every third Sunday of the month) to sample brunch street food style. Here you can enjoy a lively atmosphere and brunch dishes from all over the world including Eggs Benedict, Vietnamese noodle soup, green juice, and Fair Trade coffee. After brunch go to the famous Mauerpark Flea Market where hundreds of stalls sell anything from fine antiques to absolute junk. The real reason to come is the lively atmosphere, music, and karaoke. It’s pretty spectacular to see the way that the use of this space has transformed. Mauerpark was once divided by the Berlin Wall, and people lost their lives trying to cross it. When the wall came down, citizens created a green space, now used as a wide open place for free public use. Just around the corner you can learn more about Berlin’s history at the Berlin Wall Memorial.

 

A huge thank you to Visit Berlin for helping me make my Badass Weekend possible, to nHow for putting me up, and to Kantine Kollman for showing me what real German food is really about. 

 


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Comments

  1. This was beautiful! And exactly why I love Berlin. Such a great, diverse, crazy city, that makes me believe that absolutely anything is possible!

  2. Great photos, now I would like to visit Berlin! :)

  3. Love your writing style.

  4. AHHH Thank you! Such a cool post. Planning a short trip there in a couple of months – and was worried about what to do without a keyboard (piano) on the road. They have rentals! SOOOOOO COOL!!!! :)

  5. such a cool post – love following your travels Camille. I’m headed to Berlin next, can’t wait! xx

  6. Back again and was hoping for some advice. About a week away from my flight to Berlin! I’m new to travel and coming from a small Midwest town, I’m DEATHLY afraid of public transport …which as you can imagine, sucks the possibilities out of travel. I don’t want to be stuck near the aiport forever. I’m afraid of getting lost, getting on the wrong train…do I use a bus, a taxi, a train, the u-bahn, the s-bahn…I have no idea! Especially with no wifi when traveling…if I do get lost, how do I ever figure out where the heck to go? So. I fly into Berlin. And then what? Can I get the Berlin Welcome Card at the airport? That will cover whatever transport I need to get me to say…the nHow Hotel? Or the Circus hotel in Prenzlauer Berg? The latter of which says it’s on the U8 line. Is that something entirely different? Man, I feel stupid. Traveling is overwhelming. I’d appreciate any help!

    • Camille Willemain Says: June 7, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Sam. Here is my #1 advice: learn to embrace getting lost. I was lost constantly in Berlin, confused with the public transport, and had to ask directions a lot. Everyone speaks English so you will be fine, but yes you will get lost. Let it be fun so you don’t go crazy 😉 And you can walk a lot too! Also, consider doing guided tours while you’re there and that way you can see a lot without having to figure out the transportation for yourself. As far as getting form the airport into the city, I recommend looking on the website of the specific airport you’ll be flying into. They will have all sorts of suggestions for how to get into the city. Personally, I took some sort of airport commuter bus, missed my stop, got confused, and just asked other people on the bus for help. A man sitting near me happened to be a local tour guide and showed me how to get to my hotel. Remember, getting lost and asking for directions is all part of the adventure 😉

      • Thanks so much for replying! It makes me feel a bit better to know that even travel bloggers get lost sometimes. I always pictures the lot of you just travelling effortlessly with no mishaps. I guess we’re all human! Thanks again. :) It certainly hasn’t been an easy trip so far but I guess that’s why I set out in the first place. Just needed a reminder.

        • Camille Willemain Says: June 9, 2015 at 10:01 am

          You’re so welcome! Oh my goodness I have mishaps alll of the time! They make for great stories later 😉 Embrace the adventure, go easy on yourself, and have fun!

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