It's always great to visit the favorite Berlin. My favorite places feel a bit different now, when I don't live there anymore. Still two years in Berlin were enough to collect a handfull of great things to do, see and taste in an extended weekend.
And that's exactly what we did on our last trip there. Voila - a perfect weekend in Berlin.
Extreme hipsterness was always Berlin's trademark, but now some parts have become so heavily gentrified, that it's painful to see the original inhabitants being pushed out, because they can no longer afford the rent.
Still, scenes like this improvised station are quite common in Berlin and it's really easy to feel at home in cafe's that look like they've been furnished at the flea market and arranged in someone's room. I've always loved how East Berlin is wondefully casual and anti-posh.
The really amazing thing in Berlin are the parks. Always full of people hanging out and often filled with smoke from grilling. Grills are great and almost everyone has one. I've hardly used mine since I've moved to Brussels.
Other cool things to do in Berlin is go bookshopping (e.g. in Dussman) or see one of the many great museums and exhibitions. After all, it'sa city of artists and whether you're into street or high art, you'll find something.
Parks and markets are almost a must. My favorite parks in Berlin are Görlitzer Park, Volkspark Friedrichshain (both are great for picnics) and Mauer Park. The latter hosts a great Sunday flea market with old things as well as new creations from Berlin artists and designers (think photos, lego earings and crafts clothes)/ In the summer Mauer Park hosts extensive Karaoke sessions and you can always find young musicians and unknown bands, jamming away and selling their CDs. It's one of the things not to miss on your weekend in Berlin.
And of course there is food. Though I have to admit I never really warmed up to the German food, Berlin has great places for foodies. Favorites: Pakistani restaurant Sadhu has the most amazing dishes and very affordable prices. It remains my favorite restaurant. Of course it helps that just across the street there is the best ice cream in town.
ChénChè - Teehaus Berlin has the most amazing Vietnameese dishes, deserts and cocktails that taste like smoothies. It's a little hidden garden in Mitte and you won't even notice that you're in the city.
For a quick snack, the best places to go are Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap and Nil Imbiss (Sudaneese snacks). It's hard to miss the first because of the large cue (that is totally worth the wait) and at Nil's they have an amazing tamiya halloumi (sort of falaffel with fried Cypriot cheese). It's easy to get addicted to their yummy peanut sauce. Meat lovers will not be dissapointed either. For example the meat loving part of Foodiesgotravel likes to pop by Curry36 while I am waiting for my Gemüse Hebap at Mustafa's.
If you like burgers and rock (we do), White Trash is the place to go - all burgers are creative and a tasty combination of differenr flavors and in the evenings... rock'n roll! I ahve to say the Tatoo studio is a bit odd in combination with the burger place, but oh well, when in Berlin you might as well live on the wild side.
But the Queen of all food in my opinion is Café-Bar Datscha. Located in hipster Friedrichshain area has the cool of Berlin as well as everything you need to make a foodie happy. In fact, just thinking about it makes me hungry.
This soviet cuisine make the most delicious dishes, even plain scrambled eggs taste like heaven there. If you plan a weeken in Berlin make sure you stay for brunch. I never had a better one anywhere else and they have a decent coffee - not a given in this great city.
Auf Wiedersehen, liebes Berlin und zum nächsten Mal.