A couple of months had already passed since my trip to Berlin (not to mention there was also an amazing trip to Rome beforehand- but I will save that for a different post- ’cause who said we need to be chronological anyway?) 🙂
My decision to visit Berlin had one purpose, and one purpose only- to experience this mind blowing band that I literally can’t describe in words how magical and unique their music is to me. After seeing them for the first time in 2013 I just knew it was going to be a long affair…. so if any of you have a chance to see the great Jamiroquai live- don’t miss out on it! Take my word for it.
I’ve been to Berlin before but felt like I missed out on many of it’s local highlights…so I was eager to explore the city from a different angle this time (considering the short time I had). My partner for this Berlin adventure was no other than my super-cool aunt, who was the perfect choice for wandering around the city with and running all the way to the front row of the arena with, with no mercy whatsoever 🙂
I will start by saying that I usually know from the very first minute if I have that special connection with a new place (that goes for new people too…) and I didn’t have that with Berlin in my first visit.
And although after this second time I can still say that my heart didn’t go racing like it did in Italy, but there was a small shift and a new excitement about discovering the vibes of this unique city.
So, some of the new places I’ve discovered and fell in love with consist of the BEST burger I’ve eaten in my life, two cozy and relaxing cafe’s, an amazingly cool arena and one neighborhood that I had too little time for.
Our apartment was in Kreuzberg, only a few minutes walk from the famous Mustafa– a small joint that sells amazingly delicious doner kebab, which was the first thing we ate when we arrived to the city, and come to think of it- the last thing we ate at the end of our trip (at 2 in the morning, right after the gig… we just couldn’t leave Berlin without another bite…)
But the highlight of our location was the perfect coffee place we’ve found and spent long hours in- Blinis Cafe. Blinis had become our second home for the trip. We started every morning there and went back for an afternoon coffee and cake almost daily. We found the atmosphere absolutely alluring, and very different from what we’re used to. It’s a very relaxing place, with sofas and smooth lightning and almost everyone is reading either a book or a newspaper and seem to know each other (either that or everyone is extremely friendly). The staff is super-friendly as well and the coffee is great! They also serve really good sandwiches and cakes (we tried the apple pie which was amazing!!) The place has free wifi and the vibes are laid back, a place you can hang out in for hours.
Blinis Espresso Lounge-
Bergmannstr. 92, 10961 (Kreuzberg)
Open all week 8:00-18:00
If you’re a burger fan, you just have to come to this joint.
Burgermeister is located in Kreuzberg and has a classic Berlin feel- it’s cool, it’s surprising, it’s open until the early hours and has a fantastic location- located under a bridge right on Schlesisches Tor in a space that used to be a public toilet. When you come to Burgermeister you will almost always encounter a line- but is it definitely worth the wait. And who will be in this line? Everyone! Both tourists and locals and basically any hungry soul. The most famous burger in the menu is the Meisterburger- AKA- burger heaven! Layered with caramelised onions, bacon, BBQ sauce and mustard… and not less important- the fries are amazing as well! I can go on forever about this delicious spot but will sum it up by saying- do not miss out under any circumstances!!
This neighborhood has won them all! We had arrived here with no intention, spontaneously on the day of the gig because of the fact it was in the area… and all we could think of was that we’ll just have to visit Berlin again, just so we could experience this neighborhood properly.
Prenzlauer Berg is on the east side of the city and combines a stunning mix of old pre-war architecture and luscious, green parks and has developed into a thriving district, popular for its abundance of some of the best restaurants and cafe’s in the city.
This colorful neighborhood also has some of the city’s most popular markets, Mauer Park being the most famous- a must see attraction! Another important fact is the still standing Berlin wall, an interesting piece of history that shouldn’t be missed.
Some of the places I had the chance to enjoy in this amazing neighborhood:
No Fire No Glory Cafe– We had such a great time sitting in this friendly Cafe, that it took us quite a while to say goodbye and start our day. This is a relaxing, laid back and chic environment that uses both German and Danish coffee that is freshly brewed and retailed. The coffee is good, the staff is super-friendly and the food is simple and delicious. A great spot to either start or finish your day- trust me, you won’t want to leave!
NO Fire No Glory- Rykestr. 45
Victoria Met Albert– A cool concept store that stocks a charming collection of fashion, accessories and homeware. You can wander this store for hours and still manage to find more surprises. Unique, stylish and inspiring.
The lovely streets of Prenzlauer Berg
After strolling around this lovely neighborhood, we started making our way towards the venue, because once you’ve experienced the front row- there is no way going back! Waiting at the queue for hours is part of the fun (not so fun when it’s 4 degrees outside and you’re standing in the freezing cold, trying to warm up your feet and praying for the gates to open so you could start running, wondering if your legs can make it after standing and freezing for approximately six hours…but you know what I mean).
I was surprised of how beautiful the place was, the venue is almost completely sunk into a plateau, so from the outside you can only see the spectacular steel roof with apple trees all around. The place has formed into a beautiful park, and just filled us with good and relaxing vibes- exactly what we needed before the show.
The arena was originally built for cycling tournaments, but nowadays holds a range of different events- from table tennis championships to horse shows, and obviously- concerts and music events, thanks to it’s perfect acoustics and production facilities. The building was designed by a French architect- Dominique Perrault, who has won an international design competition and was rewarded a second prize award for the Velodrome. Impressive 🙂
After hours of waiting and meeting new fans, we had reached our destination- The front row. The feeling of being so close to this fantastic, talented band cannot be described. Seeing every move and expression and knowing that they can see us just as well as we see them is amazing. It’s an incredible musical experience and there’s nothing like it! The show was perfect, we had such a good time… I remember that the first thing my aunt said to me when it was over was that *now* she can understand the madness 🙂 A new fan was born!
The gig was the cherry on top, and had ended our visit to Berlin in a perfect way.
Up until this day, my aunt and I keep reminiscing on our lovely Cafe’s, street food and one spectacular, unforgettable music experience.
Berlin has been good to us!