So as it happens every 4 years a bunch of my mates who live in various places across Ireland meet up and go on a weekend city break together in celebration of a birthday. The first time we went away it was Paris. Next we went to Rome. This time it was Berlin’s turn.
One of the girls booked a 2 bed apartment in Friedrichstrasse on booking.com which was spacious and comfortable. IT was thoughtfully decorated with some lovely extra touches like leaving some umbrellas and guide books for our use. They also provided tea, coffee and yummy little chocolates for us. If I was staying with a large group I would definitely stay here again, the location was perfect, close to everything and there is a direct train connection to the airport from the station a few minutes walk away.
We dumped our bags and went for a wander along the River Spree as the watery sun did its best to shine. We ended up in Hackersmarkt a lively area with a market on the square surrounded by lots of bars and great choices for lunch. We sat at a table outside under heaters at Restauration 1840 chatting and giggling away. They offered the usual traditional hearty menu with all the usual worst dishes and pilsner beers.
Later we ventured to a buzzing bar/restaurant around the corner from the apartment Die Berliner Republik. Dozens of framed photos filled every space on the walls and the bar operated its own stock exchange. It was based on the demand for beer, the more popular the beer the more expensive and the prices continually fluctuate. With the less well known brands tending to have a more favourable price.
With a tick beside the cultural activities; Reichstag building, Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Tor, Potsdammer Platz and Alexanderplatz. We headed out for pre-dinner cocktails to the Bellini Lounge. They were strong but not cheap so we wandered on to Keyzer Soze’s for some grub. A few post dinner chats and beverages later we noticed that we were the only ones left. Always a sign of a good night.
On the way home we passed that tempting of all signs “open til 6am” . The dive bar was filled with cigerette smoke, Californians, a stag from Newcastle, a lunatic london chic and two welshmen headed straight to the airport. Needless to say dawn came as a shock.
A stroll along the East Side Gallery did nothing to clear my head the next day. Not even a visit to Yaam could lift my spirits, the tropical reggae tunes seemed misplaced with the cold winds and damp sand underfoot.
We crossed the Oberbaumbrucke bridge into the gritty hipster hood around Schlessisches Tor. As the drizzle descended we took refuge in Tante Emma’s a cozy cafe with large windows and happily people watched while drinking recovery tea.
I wonder where we will be four years from now?