The minute I stepped off the train in busy, dirty, loud, 24-hour, overwhelming Berlin, I immediately felt relief. The history, the architecture, the art, VEGAN food and beer that actually has a PERSONALITY, people speaking a form of German that is not the horrible Swabian dialect – I love Berlin!
1989 – 2019: The Fall of the Berlin Wall
The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is being celebrated all over the city with wonderful art and history installations. A visit to the East Side Gallery is free, though the adjacent museum is not. But just strolling up and down the gallery, while not offering any true original, untouched pieces of wall, you can see some interesting works by artists from all over the world.
There are many places to learn more about the Wall and life in the former DDR. I already have visited most of the places on previous visits, so I was content to skip them this time.
Quite close to the Bröhan Museum described below is a very tiny but cool art exhibit being put on by the Kunstforum der Berliner Volksbank (Kaiserdamm 105). It concerns some choice works dealing with life in the DDR.
My Favorite Museum
The Bröhan-Museum (Schloßstraße 1a, 14059) is not one of the big, flashy museums that Berlin is famous for, but it remains my personal favorite. It features Art Nouveau and Art Deco home furnishings and I find it utterly enchanting. Sometimes a little museum is all you have the mental space for.
My Favorite Spot
I don’t know why, but I have always loved slick Potsdamer Platz. When I first went to Berlin in 2002, I would often go there to watch movies in English and just sit and enjoy a coffee.
The newly renovated train stop has a Metropolis-feel. Beautiful, futuristic, cold and bright.
Vegan food? And beer that is not a shitty, mass-produced pils? Am I dreaming?
The minute we stepped out of the train station and onto the street near Humboldt University, I was greeted by a giant sign proclaiming vegan burgers were on offer. We weren’t in Stuttgart anymore.
I don’t need to yammer on about eating plants in Berlin, because vegan food is everywhere, but OS’Kitchen in Neukölln (Anzengruber Str. 20, 12043) needs to be busier than it is. It’s not strictly vegan, but it offers an amazing vegan plate for two that is monstrous and delicious.
I highly recommend Bräugier Craftbier BrewPub in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg (Stubbenkammerstraße 6, 10437). Founder/owner Brian and staff offer a warm welcome and beers that will offer expats from the English-speaking world a superb taste of home. The IPAs and the dark Nachtschwärmer are masterpieces.
I stumbled into a piece of heaven called Yuma Bar in Neukölln (Weserstr. 14, 12047). They specialize in Belgian beers and their cocktails are excellent. This place looks dark and seedy but the service is actually prompt and friendly and of course I love that. People in Stuttgart love to say Berliners are rude, but in my experience, it’s never been true. Nobody will “complain you to death” like a Swabian. Berliners just don’t have the time.
An honorable mention for craft beer if you’re near Alexanderplatz is BraufactuM (Memhardstr. 1 – 3, 10178). It’s a bit overpriced, but the beer is pretty darn good and the inside is gorgeous.
Go to Berlin. Go now. I can’t believe I waited over a year to get up there again since moving. It was a relatively smooth 6-hour trip via train. For Americans, this is nothing! Berlin is a big beast and I will go back as soon as possible.