Although we’d heard that Sunday brunch is a traditional part of Berliner culture, we decided instead to head out to Friedrichshain for a much anticipated vegan kebab at Vöner. I’d been looking forward to this absolute treat for MONTHS so you can imagine how excited I was as we hopped on to the tram and headed off. I’m glad to say that it absolutely did NOT disappoint – Vöner is amazing as they have an actual proper vegan kebab spit thing and they carve the meat off just like a ‘real’ kebab. Just thinking about it now is making me pretty desperate to go back in fact as it was so delicious!
Feeling full of kebab, we strolled past the cathedral and rolled to Museum Island to take a look at the Bode Museum, which specialises in wonderful sculpture from the Medieval period onwards. The real star here is the actual building, which is absolutely stunningly beautiful in its own right.
The Bode was originally opened in 1904 and has only recently reopened again after almost a decade of being closed for extensive repair work. It really is magnificent and definitely my most favourite of the museums on the Museum Island. Luckily (or perhaps sadly?) it was pretty much deserted even on a Sunday afternoon so we had it pretty much to ourselves, which was lovely but yes, rather sad too. Maybe it’s usually heaving with people though? I do hope so but on the other hand, it’s lovely to have it to oneself. Oh dear, CONFLICTED.
If you DO go to the Bode though, then you’re in for a real treat as it has the most lovely collection of amazingly opulent Medieval sculptures, mostly of religious subjects and including some really superb gilt encrusted wooden altar pieces.
There’s also some excellent Renaissance sculpture there too, all really beautifully and harmoniously displayed in a way that highlights the beauty of both the museum and also the objects within it. I could honestly have wandered through those galleries for hours and never tired of looking at the gorgeous objects displayed within.
Oh it was so beautiful. I hope to go back again one day.
Eventually though, even I felt myself to be completely museumed out and so we headed off towards Alexanderplatz to get burritos from Dolores, which I had been assured was THE very best place to get Mexican treats in Berlin. We were a bit astonished to find an enormous queue snaking down the street when we arrived there and it turned out that it was FREE BURRITO DAY in honour of their anniversary. Naturally we then had the very British dilemma of wondering if we ought to queue to get something for free when we had gone there with the intention of paying plus we both REALLY hate queues. Free burritos though!
They were delicious.
After enjoying our unexpectedly free treats, we decided to take a boat trip down the Spree as if there’s one thing I love, it’s boat trips. The one in Berlin was especially good as there was a bar so we had nice beer and snuggled up together romantically while watching the sights go by. While Berlin might be lacking the charm and beauty of Paris, it’s still an impressive sight and it really is worth seeing it from the river if you can as it gives an interesting perspective on buildings like the cathedral, Reichstag and museums. I loved it.
After this it was time to experience a little taste of that infamous Berlin night life. Dave and I aren’t exactly great drinkers any more but we more than made up for it during a night that involved playing shuffleboard with an old and new friend then heading off for a night of drunken inquity that ended with a 3am stroll though Alexanderplatz while shovelling falafel kebabs in our faces. It was ace.
I felt distinctly unwell the next morning though, which was badly timed as we had to pack up and get ready to go home. We had time though to pay a visit to the Pergamon, which had been off-puttingly busy over the weekend (we hate queues remember!). I’d been keen as mustard to take a look inside but it was actually a tremendous disappointment. This is probably due to most of it being closed while they do extensive renovations but even so, it just felt, really lacking. The only really amazing thing for me was the Ishtar Gate, which is absolutely stunning. I’m a massive fan of Babylonian art anyway but this really blew me away – it’s HUGE and that blue! Incredible.
After this, we did a quick tour of the shops to pick up some souvenirs for the folks back home (including a sack of Ritter Sport bars from the Ritter Sport shop, which has to be one of the most insane shops ever) and then it was time to sadly head off to the airport for our flight back to Bristol.
It’s almost two weeks now since I boarded my plane and flew back to Bristol and I’m still thinking about our time in Berlin and mulling over my feelings about it. Although I can’t say that I fell over heels in love with the German capital, I was certainly impressed and intrigued by its fascinating history, vibrant street culture and wonderful architecture. It’s an astonishing, surprising and complex city and one that I hope to return to again one day.
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