Thursday, December 17, 2015

TRAVEL | berlin

Dream city right here.

Berlin was always a city I promised myself I had to return to. Last time I had completely underestimated how much there is to see and left Berlin wishing I could extend my stay. But I was on a tighter schedule then and I wasn't about to make the same mistake again!

Back in October I spent two glorious weeks in Berlin with my family. Some people were surprised when I told them how long I had spent there, but I never once felt bored. Even when I decided that some days were going to be "nothing" days--it was so comforting to just take a stroll around my neighbourhood.

Since I was still with family, booking an Airbnb in Berlin was the only viable option. My Mum is a notorious worry wart and a clean freak (aren't all moms like that? ;) ) so it was important that I find something in a nice neighbourhood, close to public transportation/food/grocery stores, and spacious (because being cramped up with family in a small space for an extended period of time is no bueno, ya feel?)

{ Lena's apartment } fit the bill perfectly! It was situated in one of the trendiest of neighborhoods: Prenzlauer Berg. Normally upon arriving at a new city my first instinct is to rush out of my hostel and explore as much of the city as I can on foot before the sun sets. But Prenzlauer Berg was so strikingly gorgeous I couldn't help but push every thing else aside. And as a bonus she has impeccable taste in vintage furniture--it was like getting to live in my dream apartment and in my dream city, no less! 

I didn't have access to a scale for the whole four months of my travels but I'm pretty sure I gained weight in Berlin. I think of all the cities I had visited, Berlin was the best city for dining. Yes, even better than London! Berlin was full of culinary delights. In fact, the food scene reminded me a lot of Los Angeles in many ways, like its abundance of street food and international fare (just swap Mexican for Turkish), but instead of having to sit through hours of traffic to get from one neighbourhood to the other, you just need to hop on the metro, tram, or a bike to get basically anywhere between 15-30 minutes (this depends on how hungry you are haha). 

The best meal of the day has got to be breakfast or Frühstück. Basically you can order a platter of yummy things including but not limited to: salami or other cold cuts, fruit, cheese, jams, and a hard boiled egg. All served with a side of hearty, German grain bread. As you can clearly see, there are no photos from breakfast. There just wasn't enough time!!!

Pictured above is { Burgermeister }

I became a sort of coffee addict during my time in abroad. Not that I couldn't go a day without caffeine, no.. I didn't want to go a day without visiting a coffee shop. I would drink an average of two cups a day because I love the coffeeshop culture of Europe. They all have such a perfect atmosphere that you just want to sit around and chill all day. I find that the customers are also very respectful of that atmosphere; every body is either chatting quietly or just sipping their drinks in silence, enjoying the moment with their friends or loved ones.

{ Bonanza Coffee Heroes } was a personal favourite coffee spot. Not only do they serve an amazing cup o' joe, but the seating area is pretty damn cozy. The kinfolk-y vibe is undeniable, with all the wooden furniture, slate blue hues, and raw concrete walls, and if you know the kinfolk aesthetic, you know what I'm talking about! The best afternoon I spent here was during a cold rainy day; I ordered my usual plus a cookie to snack on and edited some photos from the trip. The perfect, simple day.

That being said, I think I'm beginning to associate the smell and taste of coffee to my Europe trip. I'm definitely not complaining about that. What better way to reminisce than cover a cosy cup of flat white? 

While some people may disagree this is only my own opinion of the locals. I have always been at awe of how Berliners can be so effortlessly cool--from the way they dress to the way they talk...the way they carry themselves, they're just oozing coolness. They can somehow manage to turn the simplest outfits (skinny jeans + tee + trainers combo. *oversized jacket optional*) into a sort of rock & roll chic look. OH, and they wear black..lots and lots of black..clearly my kinda people *heart eyes*

So like I mentioned earlier, our Airbnb happened to be in one of the coolest areas of the city and one of the best places to go people watching is at Mauerpark on Sundays. Picture this: free outdoor concerts every single weekend! Sounds like a dream come true, am I right? Then add an outdoor flea market, and what seemed like a billion food trucks (selling good, cheap food) and BOOM!, you got heaven on earth. And did I mention that Mauerpark is just across the street from Bonanza? :)

I remember, Kelly tried her first currywurst at Mauerpark. To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the stuff but at that moment, sitting on that questionable looking patch of grass, listening to great music, enjoying the sunshine, and sharing food really was one of the highlights of my trip.

Berlin is such a large city and full of amazing spots to visit. Yes, while Brandenburg Gate, East Side Gallery, Reichstag building is not to be missed there are also so many other places to explore. One of my more unique experiences has got to be my visit to { Tempelhofer Feld }, an old military airport from WWII & Cold War days now turned park. In the summers it serves as a host venue for concerts, and other days just a regular park where you can go for a jog, picnic, or take your dog out for a game of fetch.

Many people already know--as I haven't shut up about it all year--that it really is my dream to move and work in Berlin one day. The plans aren't solid and I haven't the slightest clue of how to move there but I've been seriously flirting with the idea, especially after this visit. It's within my five year plan, but I've still got my degree and career goals to commit to first! But still, hopefully some day soon!

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