Our time in Berlin has more or less been a wet one and this day was no different. We took the train to Sachsenhausen – a concentration camp that was used from 1936-1945 to the end of the Reich. It had interned 200 000 prisoners during its time. The came is about 1.5 hours outside of the centre of Berlin by train. Remember to get a train ticket for zone ABC. There are street clothed transit police on the trains who come around and check your tickets and 2 other tourists got caught and fined for not having the proper ticket for the zone.
To visit is free but you can pay 3€ for the audio guide and it is definitely worth it. There is so much information that we were only there for 3 hours and barely scratched the surface. The moment we arrived, the whole mood was set with heavy rain coming down upon us. We were drenched.
We hopped back onto the train and back into the centre of Berlin we went to meet with Lea for a late lunch and to grab tickets from her. She recommended a theatre production and wanted to take us our first night but we arrived too late. There is an abundance of Vietnamese living in Berlin and many restaurants specializing in an array of Asian cuisine in one – Viet, Thai & Japanese cuisine served in one place is the norm here.
After lunch, we parted ways so Lea could go back to work. We went to check out Tempelhofer feld – once a concentration camp and an old airport which now serves as a working natural habitat, park, concert venue, skatepark etc. The weather was a little better in Berlin than where Sachsenhausen was. This park would be nicer to visit on a sunny day to bike around in.
We’ve been told by many people here in Berlin that we must check out Klunkerkranich and so we did. Who would have thought to turn the top floor of a mall parking into an outdoor garden dance club venue. When Google maps told us where to go, we were very confused as this wasn’t your typical mall either. It is actually very quiet up there. Not to mention the views you get of the city line from there. You have to enter by going to the 5th floor parking and walk up the 6th floor ramp. It does cost a fee to enter (3-5€).
We ended up going back to the main area in the city but this time it was to try out this bakery called Berliner Pfannkuchen Café – Backerei & Konditorei. We grabbed ourselves a raspberry donut – not too sweet but the filling was plenty. Apparently these aren’t donuts but German pancakes according to the name.
We met up with Winnie’s friend Sarah at Cafe Cinema who is working for the Canadian embassy in Berlin. We were talking about Futurism and how there was a part in the exhibit discussing whether we would want our life data to be stored on USB’s for future access or deleted. Sarah’s response to that topic was “German people with their past history would rather have that stuff deleted. Germans don’t trust that data to be out there and that is also why everyone pays for everything in cash – no trace.”
To end the night, Lea recommended this play at the Deutsches Theater Berlin called the Ugly Duckling. The Ugly Duckling, the Little Mermaid mixed with Berliner dragqueens, what more can you ask for. It was such an amazing show that touched upon each individuals story. Definitely recommend!
Our time in Berlin was definitely short lived. Here is a list that my friend Jaclyn sent me of her favourite things to tell visitors to see, do and eat/drink.
The touristy things:
Berlin Victory Column
Reichstag (if you want to go inside, I believe you have to apply a few days before)
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
KaDeWe – upstairs market
East Side gallery and/or Berlin Wall Memorial berlin
Mauerpark flee market – Karaoke Sundays
Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park)
Viktoriapark – Kreuzberg look out
Landwehr Canal walk Kreuzberg (Maybachufer), grab a Brammibal’s handmade vegan doughnut on the way
Five Elephant, Companion, Bonanza coffee
Do you read me? – Mitte books/magazines
C/O Berlin – Photo
Helmut Newton Foundation
Best schnitzel – Felix Austria (Bergmannstraße 26)
“Secret” Berlin Unterwelten tours – (Limited tickets and dates, book in advance) This was awesome when we did it.
Ora – drinks
Mexican @ La Lucha
Zola – Pizza
Black Lodge bar
Herr Lindemann bar
Markthalle Neun – food market (T, F, S)
Curry wurst – Curry 36
Treptower Park – paddle boating (with wine)
Templehofer Feld (bring bikes to ride on the airport runway)
Klunkerkranich, roof top bar in Neukölln area
Open air clubs: Sisyphos, KaterBlau (day or night experience)
Max und Moritz – good German food and beer
Saam – Korean BBQ
Paris Bar – in the West – Suspiria filmed there
Hallesches Haus. Good eats, brunch and fun general store
Berlin, Germany – Edinburgh, Scotland
Berlin was fun but also very wet. We bid farewell to Lea early in the morning and made our way to the airport in the rain.
Next stop, Edinburgh. The warm sun welcomed us even though it was still around 9-10°C. It was 29-31°C in Toronto the previous day. Must’ve been nice.
We took the bus into the city (not too expensive but takes some time as it is a local bus that stops frequently). Our bus driver did a sweep of the bus before letting us on and found a forgotten watermelon. Once we finally got to our destination, we we’re welcomed by Winnie’s friend Maya and her roommate Nuala. They both are also from Toronto but have been living in Edinburgh for university.
They took us around town but first stop was for food. The Golden Chicken Chili from Union of Genius was absolutely delicious! We ate it on the grass on the university campus.
We walked the Water of Leith Walkway, Dean village, the Princes Street, near the Royal mile, plus many more. We even went all the way up to Calton Hill. You can see the whole city from up there and many monuments to scholars.
We stopped by Red Kite Cafe for some Almond black tea (one of Maya’s favourite coffee shops and tea choices at this place). Slowly made our way back to their place but stopping off to grab groceries as we had decided to make a home-cooked meal together.
Joining us for dinner festivities was their friend Alice. We made fresh basil lemon ricotta ravioli and for dessert, we (Winnie mainly) made ginger cookies.
Started off the morning with the most strenuous of activities for the day – hiking Arthur’s Seat. It was an overcast day for the most part but the 360 view was well worth it.
Walked Princes St and the Royal Mile before stopping for lunch at Henderson’s where I got the vegetarian haggis with potato and leek soup – delicious.
We met back up with Maya and she took us through Princes St garden, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Grass market and Victoria St – Harry Potter fans rejoice in this street that inspired JK Rowling.
With the weather not being the best outside, we went indoors to the National Museum of Scotland (free admission). This museum is housed in a beautiful building and it is a mishmash of the Ontario Science Centre, ROM and the AGO all rolled into one. It also houses Dolly the sheep.
We walked past this Korean restaurant the day before that Nuala and Maya were raving about and we decided to go there for dinner. Kim’s has been Michelin marked and always has a line as they are only open from 530-8PM. We got there in time to be part of the first group of people in. We ordered the beef bulgogi, kimchi jeon, kalbi beef rib stew and bimbimbap.
To walk off the delicious food we ate, we walked over to the canal before heading home.
The chilly morning feels where you don’t want to get up from under the covers type of day. It was a chilly overcast 10°C.
We had a lazy slow start to the day but I guess it’s needed once in awhile.
Our first stop was to the Dovecot Gallery where we could watch artists making tapestries.
We walked for about 45 minutes and made our way to the Scottish Museum of Modern Art. The main floor was under renovation but at least the second floor has art pieces from one of my favourite artists such as Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. We were told that the first floor exhibit is the main attraction – bummer we didn’t get to see it first hand.
We continued on towards Edinburgh Castle where we stopped by a cafe called Deacon’s House Cafe. We ordered the Scottish Cream Tea – plain scone with jam and cream served with tea. We also ordered the carrot cake loaf.
Earlier in the day, we had decided we would do a traybake for dinner so we met with Maya to do some grocery shopping. We also stocked up on snacks for the next few days. We also stopped by some really cute design stores along the way.
After gathering supplies, we made it back to Maya and Nuala’s and prepped dinner. The traybake consisted of red onion, peppers, artichoke hearts, zucchini, thyme, tomatoes, basil, lemon, olives and feta cheese.