Getting there: There is a new cheapo airline called Air Berlin (www.airberlin.com) which goes from Stansted for around 20 quid one way. We went with Lufthansa (www.lufthansa.
There is a new cheapo airline called Air Berlin (www.airberlin.com)
which goes from Stansted for around 20 quid one way. We went with Lufthansa
(www.lufthansa.co.uk) as we booked early and got a cheap deal. There are
plenty more cheap flight operators, so no problems getting there. Fly to any
of the three airports, they're all about the same distance from the city. We
arrived at Tegel, got the x109 express bus (cheap at E 2.20) into town which
takes about 25 mins. The U-bahn runs until 1am, but some lines run all-night
at the weekend which we found very handy. Taxis were around the same price
as here. Buy a day travel card if you've out for the day, cheap at E5
We were there for a birthday treat so sayed at the Ku'damm 101 hotel
(www.kudamm101.com) Dripping in designer details, this was an
excellent hotel, staff couldn't have been friendlier, and they have a DJ
night in the bar on a Thursday (Hotel bar open until 2am every night). The
hotel was a bit further down the Ku'damm that we had expected, but I'd have
no hesitation recommending it. Room for 2 was E158 (dropped to E110 during
December). Have breakfast, it's worth it!
As is common in Berlin, many of the places I wanted to re-visit since I was
there a couple of years ago had simply disappeared. Don't reply on guide
books as bars etc appear and disappear very quickly! We didn't have too much
trouble only speaking English, but it's worth learning a few basic German
phrases before you go.
It was the start of the Christmas festivities and they make the most of it!
The whole city centre was lit up, decorations on anything that would hold
them. Lots of Christmas markets selling decorations, hot snacks and best of
all Gluehwine (hot mulled wine). We didn't do much on the tourist trail but
if you've never been before it is worth taking the time to check out the
galleries and museums. The Reichstag still has a 2 hour queue outside (even
in December!) but the Brandenburg Gate is always impressive. We went to the
new Jewish Museum (Linden St), brilliant building but unless you're really
interested in jewish history, can be a bit overwhelming.
The East of the city is definately where it's all going on culture and
entertainment wise. Previous hot spots like Oranienburger Strasse are now
dead or have become very dull and posh. Avoid the big semi-legal squat
there, only for tourists. Head further up into the Mitte district and
especially Prenzlauer Berg, get off at the Eberswalder Str. station and
start browsing the streets near by, lots of great bars, cafes and quirky
shops including lots of record shops. We spent most of our time in the
Prenzlauer Berg area, but doubt I can even remember the names of most of the
places we went! Sunday breakfast is a good time to visit (huge breakfasts
are served all day in most cafes)
Food: Didn't do much eating out, as we tended to snack all day. One place
that was interesting was the Unsicht-Bar (Invisible) Gormannstrasse in
Mitte. Where you eat in complete darkness! You choose your food outside,
then are led into the restaurant by a blind waiter. No cigatettes or
luminous watches etc allowed. It is completely black inside! Got abit
oppressive after a while (the meal lasts about 2hrs) but fannying about in
the dark can be quite fun ;) Not cheap either, came to around 35 quid each.
Clubs: Didn't do too many as we were there mid week and the bars are open
until 2-3am anyway! Best night was at the Watergate Club (Ritchie Hawtin was
playing but the local boy Andre Galluzzi was our fav of the night).
Watergate seems to be the best popular techno/house club
(www.water-gate.de). The place being hyped the most was the Sage
club, nice building shame about the music! Terrible chart RnB in the main
room and lame house in another. Pity 'cause the decor was fantastic. Avoid.
Tresor is still going strong, but pick up any of the free listing mags in
records shops/cafes to find out whats going on.
Bars: too many to mention, we had a good night just wandering down the
OranienStr. (including the kitchest bar I've ever seen called Roses). Infact
bar hopping is one of the best activities. The old school gay bars around
the Charlottenberg area are still going strong (Tom's Bar is still the place
to, ahem, hang out) and the bars never seem to close. The gay bars in
Prenzlauer Berg are 'cooler' but just as much fun.
Record Shops: I purposely tried not to record shop as it wasn't my birthday
and I didn't want to bore my partner with endless trips to vinyl emporiums.
Hard Wax is still there and going strong (got lots of nice Basic Channel
clear vinyl re-presses!) and the staff are very helpful. Found a gaggle of
shops around Zosser Str just before Blucher Str (Kreuzberg). Again too many
to mention, but check the listing on this web site for details and
Berlin still has a lot going for it, it was cheap for food and esp drink (E3
for Becks in a Bar/club). But don't rely on guide books as the scene changes
so quickly. If anyone /is/ heading off there soon and wants any info drop me
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- airberlin.com - Your Airline. Flug online buchen www.airberlin.com (Visit)
- Lufthansa - Book your flight online | Flights to Europe from £49 | Fly worldwide www.lufthansa.co.uk (Visit)
- Ku' Damm 101 Hotel am Kurfürstendamm in Berlin www.kudamm101.com (Visit)
- watergate www.water-gate.de (Visit)
- circonium : welcome www.circonium.de (Visit)