Today, Katharina Berlet tells us about her hometown Berlin, Capitol city of Germany! I have been particularly excited to read this interview as I was born in Berlin but left as a baby and it has long been on my bucket list to go back to visit! Katharine keeps a german language blog with her hubby Henryk Berlet as they explore the world together. You will find blog entries from Hawaii, Costa Rica, Argentina, Nepal and many more! To read more about their adventures see www.oooyeah.de Top tip, if your german is as poor as mine, use google translate! It translates perfectly!
Where are you living?
Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg!
Tell us about yourself?
Hi, my name is Katharina, I have been living in Berlin for 10 years now. Four years ago, I quit my job to travel around the world for several months together with my husband. At that time, we also founded our blog Out Of Office www.oooyeah.de which is a growing business! Beside the job as blogger I am working as a press officer for a Berlin based online start up.
What is your favourite thing about Berlin?
Berlin is a vibrant, creative city, a true melting-pot of ideas and visions – and at the same time it is quite relaxed. It’s all about freedom. The freedom to create your own concept of living and to follow your passions. And Berlin has a variety to offer: You can visit plenty of the historical places, enjoy concerts, theatres, gallery openings every day of the week. You can go clubbing even on a Sunday afternoon! Or just hang around with some friends in one of the parks, having a BBQ and drinking some beers. It’s your choice! Overall, Berlin is one of the most open-minded cities I knew.
What is your favourite thing to do in Berlin with a day off?
I really like to discover Berlin by bike, just ride along the streets and explore the hidden backyards and rather unknown areas besides Mitte, Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg. There is, for example, a track in Berlin following the former Berlin Wall. Riding along this track, you will discover both the former inner city border (along Brandenburg Gate and all the famous sights) but also the former communism areas as well as the green surroundings of the outer city. Don’t forget to bring a picnic and take a rest, e.g. by the river Havel or at one of the lakes around Berlin. www.berlin.de/mauer/en/wall-trail/
What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Berlin?
If you visit Berlin for the very first time, you should, of course, stop by all the historical sights, like the Brandenburg Gate, the parliamentary district with the Reichstag building (don’t miss to visit the glassy dome) and the Eastside Gallery (last remaining parts of the Berlin Wall with Graffiti all along) Instead of taking an expensive touristic bus you could also take the regular public transport (line 100) – it will take you to the most popular sights. Take your time when stopping by at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe – it’s one of the most impressive places I’ve been to, a sad place but a must-see to remind darkest part of history nobody should ever forget about.
Any top tips where to go/ what to do on a rainy day?
On a rainy day, you can go to Berlin Underground. There is a tour operator in Berlin Wedding who provides walks and excursion to former bunker from World War 2nd and from times of the Cold War. This is a great adventure and maybe the best way to experience Berlin at worlds. There are several themed tours and there are always some free spaces on them, you don’t have to book it in advance. Just go to the meeting point and follow the guide to hidden places beneath Berlin Streets. www.berliner-unterwelten.de/en.html
Where is your go-to restaurant?
I love NENI, which offers a culinary mixture of Mediterranean, Persian and Austrian cuisine. It’s all about sharing, so you get small dishes to share with each other. The atmosphere is quite lively, the service is lovely and the quality of food is excellent. In addition, you get to enjoy the perfect panoramic view over Western Berlin, as the restaurant is located at the very top of the new 25Hours Design Hotel, next to the Berlin Zoo. www.neniberlin.de/en/ www.25hour-hotels.com/en/
And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening?
Next to NENI you’ll find the Monkey Bar, which is one of the hot spots of the city at the moment. Enjoy your drink on the rooftop terrace and listen to the exotic sounds of monkeys, lions and bears coming from Zoo around while the sun goes down and the city turns into a jungle of lights.
Is there one thing not many people know about?
Prepare for not being understood! Berlin is quite inconsistent when it comes to English. There are cafés, shops and restaurant where only English is spoken (which makes it actually difficult for some Germans who do not speak English so well) At the same time, there is hardly any bus driver in public transport who is able to answer questions in English. But don’t worry, you will make it anyway and will find someone who supports you! They say that people in Berlin are quite rude, but if you smile at them, they will smile at you! Just be a little patient with us!
Anything else you think we should know?
If you are interested in art, there is a very special private collection which is presented in a bunker – the Boros Collection. If you are interested in modern art and sculptures, this is a fantastic place. But you need to book your guided tour in advance, as it is not open to public regularly. But it’s definitely worth to visit, not only because of the exhibition but also because of the outstanding architecture of the building. Link: www.sammlung-boros.de/boros-collection.html?L=1
Have you enjoyed this insight into Berlin? Read more of Katharina and Henryk’s adventures at www.oooyeah.de
Please feel free to comment below! Have you been to Berlin? How was your experience? Do you have a favourite place?