27 February 2014

Berlin - The Golden Stop

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to share with you from trip numero 4 to Berlin and I decided the best gift I could give you was time

You think I've gone mad, or else I'm getting overwhelmed and sentimental. Oh, how you are wrong. Berlin is the perfect weekend away and hell just for you, I'm going to make it a perfect easy last minute weekend away. All you need is one U-bahn stop, a golden stop. I present to you....



I can't claim that it is perfect, but I can tell that if you log off your computer on a Friday evening, book yourself a flight for Saturday morning, pack your bags and get yourself to Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz U-Bahn station you can enjoy a hassle-free weekend in Berlin.


Sleep

We stayed at Wombats City Hostel, Berlin and were really impressed. Despite being a larger hostel it still had a great, friendly atmosphere. Yes it had the stag do and the student group but the Sky Bar had a great view and 5 euro jugs of beer.



Aim your euro coin at the jug on the wall and you could win lots of shots (Lucy and the boys we met won 14 shots).



The wifi worked in the aforementioned bar and downstairs, but not in our room. Not that you go on a city break to spend time on your gizmos, but it's great for booking the Reichstag last minute, or checking train times.


Around the pillar are photobooth strips from previous visitors. There is a booth opposite.



One of the best things about the hostel (apart from free towel hire and X    L    lockers) was the information wall which told us about a vintage clothing/dance/bar/hairdressing event located in some old containers down the road. It was as alternative as vintage sales come and really made our trip to Berlin unique.




There are plenty more accommodation options nearby including St Christopher's. I have stayed in their Brighton hostel and it was great, so that gives you another hostel to consider. Alternatively if you fancy something more upmarket then the Schoenhouse Ferienwohnungen Apartments have come up in my search several times and have solid trip advisor reviews.

Eat

Monsieur Vuong


I first ate Vietnamese in Shoreditch, London. Vietnamese food was described to me as "the freshness of thai, but without the spice and lots of lime and coriander". Though I'm sure many would be able to contribute a more accurate description of glorious Vietnamese food, it prepares you for what to expect from a trip to Monsieur Vuong. 



The place seems to be constantly busy and you will often have to wait outside before getting a table. They fit you in wherever they can so the place is spilling over with animated people enjoying their food.



The menu is limited, but changes frequently and they offer a [much wider] selection of drinks, smoothies and cocktails. It is also worth noting that they do take out. While you wait they give you a warm spiced tea. For 7 euros it's worth it as they present you with a huge portion and itisgoddamnscrumptious.




Bistro Kneipe

For our second night we wanted something a little more German, though we'd already given the beer a good shot. After missing our room mates on multiple occasions due to midday napping, we finally met them and they recommend we go to the place below. It is located right by Alexandaplatz and me and Lucy would never normally have looked twice at it.



 The restaurant sells a wide variety of schnitzel and home brewed beer. If you're imagining a just a pint, then you're in for a shock. You can buy the beer in litre tankards (steins) or 3 litre towers (see our happy faces below).



All beers aside, they also offer at least 6 types of schnitzel (named after cities which is cool) and numerous other dishes. We stayed until closing and the waitress was trying to politely hint that we should leave.


More food...

Perhaps the hardest meal to advise you on is breakfast. For some a coffee will do, for some it must be a full cooked breakfast, but for us we like a pastry or two. The place on the corner of Torstrabe and Schonhauser Allee fit the bill and saved paying for breakfast at the hostel.

Drink

Kaffee Burger

This little bar was just about the only place we found open on a Sunday at 2am (across the city) and was in crawling distance of the hostel - "well isn't this ironic" I hear you sing. I must say I was shocked, given Berlin is known for the wild nightlife, there certainly wasn't much going in the wee hours of Monday. The taxi drivers knew nothing, but we were assured that if we went back to the hostel, Kaffee Burger down the road would be open.



The closest comparison I can made with this place is Hot Tub Time Machine. Wood panelling, a large disco ball and a variety of quirky people equals one weird and funny night. The beer is great value at 2 euros a pop.



I included the photo below for comedic value only as this dude doesn't love New York, hell no... he loves 'Irland'.



Another Bar on Schönhauser Allee

Now this is blogger's regret for you... we went to this bar in a blur of beer and a dose of spontaneity. It looked someone had forgotten to take down the Halloween decoration and just thought "Fuck it, we're already in February and people don't seem too bothered yet." There were tables made of coffins and skulls that leaked beer.


I don't really know how I can persuade you to go and check it out, because really if that description doesn't intrigue you then you shouldn't bother. Don't be persuaded by the 'free shot' offered as you have to buy a drink to receive it and the shot is basically orange juice.


The bar is located on the right hand side after Bar Marrakech - name unknown, despite my research.

Cast your net further

This was the view from right outside the U-bahn station and the hostel - the TV tower! We were told gong up the tower was a 'tourist thing', rather than something that would add any real value to our trip. Berlin is quite a flat city, so you end up just looking down on all the rooftops. The Riechstag lends some impressive views, is free and has an audio guide to tell you what buildings your looking at. Convinced? That said the TV tower is good for getting your bearings, no matter where you are in the city.



The main Alexanderplatz station is only a few minutes walk away. It is much larger than Rosa Luxemburg Platz so if you fancy a brief stroll you may need to make fewer changes going from Alexanderplatz. There was a band busking in the big square. Some strangers joined in dancing with a few locals and it was a great moment.




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