25 years ago today the Berlin wall came down, so I will take this time to urge you all to go to Berlin!
I took my first and only trip to Berlin in October 2011 and I have been dreaming of going back ever since. At the time I was living in Rome so I found a fairly cheap flight on EasyJet and took the short ride over. As with most cities, I knew someone living there, so was happy to have a local guide throughout my trip.
Berlin is amazing. It is one of those cities that you go to and you immediate fall in love with. This city has a soul that is vibrant and artsy and very alive. My favorite neighborhood was Friedrichshain which was packed with restaurants, bars, flea markets and loads of beautiful art. Berlin is definitely for artists.
If you love flea markets as much as I do, be sure to check out Boxhagener Platz Flea market. It is one of my favorite flea markets in the world, not just because of all of the vintage goodies, but because of the energy of the stall owners. Everyone was very kind and open and happy to tell the stories of the beautiful wares that they were peddling.
We of course did a lot of the historical tourism such as visiting the ruins of the wall, Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate. We got very lucky with the weather considering it was October so it was very nice to mostly view the city by walking endlessly through the different neighborhoods.
The remnants of the Berlin Wall are definitely a site to see. We went to the East Side Gallery which is the longest remaining section of the wall and boosts 105 pieces of art by 118 artists from 21 countries. The artwork that covers it is vibrant and some is very moving. I do not know much about the history of the wall and West Germany, but I could not miss the opportunity to visit this iconic wall.
Another great thing about Berlin is that it is relatively cheap compared to most major European cities. Coming from Rome, I was very happy to have “ethnic food” (e.g. Thai, Vietnamese – hard to get in Rome) for under 10 Euros. Also accommodations are very cheap. Though I didn’t need to find accommodations for my trip, I highly recommend air bnb. If you do not know someone in the city, this is usually a better option than a hotel because you get advice from local people about where to go in the neighborhood. Trust me, its much better than the typical concierge at a mid-range hotel chain.
All in all Berlin made its way onto my list of my favorite European cities and I cannot wait to go back.