So I ended 2015 and started 2016 in Berlin with lots of fireworks and lots of all night shenanigans. I had been to Berlin 10 years prior when I was studying abroad in Spain and was doing some European travel and it just so happens that I keep visiting Berlin in the winter (not gonna lie–I don’t fully recommend visiting in the winter!). Berlin is so cold–and not cold like oh I need a wool coat, even that won’t do. On my last day there it was 17 degrees (fahrenheit), so yes, it’s the kind of cold that you probably wouldn’t really be so inclined to leave the house during. But alas, as a tourist and traveller, I wasn’t going to spend the entire vacation inside.
Even with its blistery cold days, there still is so much to do and see in Berlin. The night life is seedy and edgy, the cafes and coffee shops are cozy and relaxing and the neighborhoods all shine a light on Northern European architecture.
Since I had been to Berlin before I didn’t go to all the historical sites again, but I did feel inclined to go visit the Brandenburg Gate again because it’s such a momentous structure and arguably the most famous in Germany. I also went to the Holocaust Memorial, which actually had just been built when I visited the monument 10 years ago, but it was really interesting to see it again. The memorial is made up of concrete pillars that range in height because of the sloping field on which it’s situated. Looking into it from the outside, it appears all the pillars are the same height, but as you start to walk and explore you see that the pillars rise above you and leave a narrow view of the sky above. The entire experience is meant to create a sense of discomfort and even claustrophobia–to imagine the experiences of all the Jews in the Holocaust. It’s a powerful and thoughtful memorial and it has struck me twice in my life now and I implore any visitors to Berlin to visit the memorial.
Now on to some less serious sides of Berlin:
I stayed in Prenzlauer Berg, which I compare to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It’s a beautfiul neighborhood, filled with shops, resturants, cozy stores and lots of young families. It’s a really nice area to stay, walk around and eat. For a more lively night out and a taste of Berlin’s underground seediness though, head to Kreuzberg, which is the very hip and happening area: think Williamsburg, LES, or the East Village.
Looking to do some clubbing? Although, I didn’t make it there, Berlin is home to Berghain: one of the most famous clubs in the world. Apparently, you can enter on Friday morning and stay through Monday! It’s wild so be prepared for some serious partying and it’s not so easy to get in–you must have that “cool” vibe and look, so be prepared to line up for a chance to enter.
Below I have documented my trip in photos…take a peek!
Above: The view from our Airbnb in Prenzlauer Berg — the North European architecture is reminiscent of Amsterdam, Sweden, and more.
Above: The Brandenburg Gate, located in the city center: Mitte.
Above: Found some bright colors on a somewhat dismal and cold day! Also, wearing a wool coat and a fur on top of it: the only way to stay warm in Berlin in the winter.
Above: an adorable cafe called Betty n’ Caty in Prenzlauer Berg with delicious eggs, prosciutto, toast, coffee, and juice!
Above: The Holocaust Memorial view from the sidewalk, where the pillars all appear to be relatively the same height. See a view from the lower sections of the memorial in the gallery below and a video as well.
Above: a chic boutique in Berlin (of course I did some shopping!)
Experience my trip through some of my video content as well.
Below is a glimpse of the harrowing and somewhat confining feeling of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin:
Berlin explodes (literally) at midnight on New Year’s Eve with lots of fireworks–here was the show from my perspective:
And now a little fun in da club! Make sure you’re following me on Snapchat to see moments like these in real-time!
All in all, I advise you to visit Berlin but perhaps in the spring or summer, when you can experience the beer gardens, the lakes that surround the outskirts of the city, and take leisurely strolls in the streets. Otherwise, be prepared for the cold!
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