Where to Go: Berlin
In Berlin, or really wherever you travel, there are things you should do and others you probably shouldn’t. This list is highly subjective.
DO eat street food. It’s cheap, it’s readily available, and it’s delicious.
DON’T expect to pay for that street food with a credit card. It isn’t going to happen.
DO walk as much as you can. That’s how you find the street food – and the best neighborhoods.
DO take public transportation. The U-Bahn and S-Bahn systems are convenient, clean, and efficient (similar to the BART in San Francisco – except the ones in Berlin have been disinfected). The bus system is also easy to understand if you can’t take the trains.
DON’T take a taxi. They’re expensive and keep you from really experiencing the culture.
DO be diligent and aware of your surroundings and belongings.
DON’T be afraid. Berlin is no more dangerous than any large city and the people are friendly and helpful. (more…)
Travel Tips: Planning
Vacations may not seem like the time to enforce a strict itinerary but as far back as I can remember there hasn’t been one without the other. My papa used to plan our family vacations from the time we had to wake up to the time we went to sleep back at the hotel, which, if not for a keen ability to adapt throughout the day, could have been intense. Not surprisingly, I am also a planner by nature and, honestly, I’m glad. I tend to choose “vacations” that are active and jam-packed with things to do, opting for the city and its surrounding hiking trails/mountains over lounging on the beach. If I weren’t able to plan out my days accordingly, I would miss out on so many things in each location.
It only makes sense, then, that my first Travel Tips post would center on planning and the best way to go about it. (more…)
Best Of: Berlin
This list is highly subjective and in no way definitive.
Best Walking: East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain, across the bridge, and around the Kreuzberg neighborhood.
You can follow the sidewalk along the entirety of East Side Gallery taking in the art renderings on remains of the Berlin Wall or you can cut away from the wall and traipse along the river with both granting spectacular views and insights into what was once a divided city. Once you reach the end you can cross Oberbaum Bridge into Kreuzberg where you are greeted by more street art on the buildings as well as sculptures that appear to be a part of grounds. The neighborhood’s vibe was decidedly young and eclectic, a stark alternative to the more historically kempt neighborhoods we had left on the other side of the river. If I were to live in Berlin, this would be the neighborhood – it recalled my fondest memories of San Francisco, only the public transportation was cleaner and the locals were more likely to acknowledge you with a smile.
The walk between and around these neighborhoods was charged with history, charged with new beginnings, charged with vibrant colors and equally vibrant people yet somehow entirely at peace with what was to come. Kreuzberg seemed to welcome everything and everyone with a sort of laidback charm that stood at odds with the frenetic energy of Berlin as a whole.
Also, this route has the distinction of including the previously-mentioned Burgermeister, which really, makes the walk worth it by itself. (more…)