I have just returned from a pretty crazy week in Berlin where I spent New Years with a few friends from university. This was my third time to Germany’s capital, but the first time being overage and without any adult supervision. Unfortunately, I managed to sprain my ankle on January 2nd (2017 is going GREAT) and spent the last couple of days in our airbnb, but four days had actually been enough to see what I really wanted to. So I wanted to write an article with all the highlights of my trip.
TOUR: The Famous Insider Walk, guide: Brian Bell, price: €10-€14
We did this tour the first day and it was amazing! This takes you to all the famous places (Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler’s Bunker, lots of memorials,….) It’s about four hours long but includes a 30min lunch break. This tour is great if it’s your first time in the city as it explains all of Berlin’s history and shows you all of the ‘big’ places. Our tour guide Brian (who studied Theatre Performance) was fantastic, listening to him was like watching an entertaining one-man show. Even though I had already studied most of the things he explained, there wasn’t a single moment during the tour when I was bored. Would highly recommend!
BARS: Möbel Olfe / Roses
Now let me start by telling you that both my best friend Ciaran (whom I spent most of the trip with) and I are queer. As Berlin has a lively gay scene, most bars we went to were gay bars. Möbel Olfe, situated in Kreuzber, is described as a rowdy alternative gay bar. We went on a Tuesday and it was absolutely packed which is why we only spent a couple of hours there, drinking mixed drinks and making friends from around the world. After that we headed to Roses, a gay bar we had already discovered the previous evening. Roses is fully decorated with pink fluffy walls and pictures of pornstars on the tables. It gets extremely busy and crazy as the night persists so if you’re not into that, just go for a couple of drinks (just the interior is worth a visit). Ciaran and I stayed both nights until 5am and both nights ended up basically being the most insane nights out I’ve ever had (which says a lot). So if you’re not into that, don’t stay that long or be careful with what you drink and what people might try to sell you.
VEGAN FOOD: Brammibal’s donuts
Brammibal’s donuts, not surprisingly, is famous for its vegan donuts. However it also has lunch options, coffee, milkshakes, etc. They have a very nice interior and a lovely variety of donuts. I had the chocolate peanut butter fudge and a hot coco with oat milk, while Ciaran had avocado on toast and later the salted caramel donut. The staff was really nice and I could not recommend this place enough. Just look at their website, you’ll understand.
MUSEUM: Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Filmmuseum)
This is my favourite museum of all times. I visited it twice in the past three years and love it. Even though I already wanted to study film when I first went at 17, this museum made me want to study it even more. Although it concentrates mostly on German film and on the very first big films (most of them silent and B&W), what really interests me was the part about film during WWII and it’s role in war propaganda. There’s also a full room dedicated to Marlene Dietrich which is fabulous. If you have even the slightest interest in film, go there (it’s only €4,50 for students).
Other recommendations: definitely take a stroll alongside the East Side Gallery, have a cocktail or some food at Südblock (it’s vegan friendly and gay, which is all you need), take pictures at one of the famous photoautomats, if you go during the holidays: enjoy a nice cup of glühwein at one of the 60 Christmas markets (!!!), and if you’re into a crazy New Years eve, spend it at the Brandenburg gate.
Happy New Year,