Berlin; a city that is currently in the news, but for devastating reasons. A friend of mine once told me that we shouldn't let one off incidents stop us visiting amazing places, as then the terrorists win. In the past I have cancelled a trip to Egypt as I became worried about terrorism, however after visiting Berlin, it made me realise how right he was. Berlin is a city of such historical significance and liveliness today that it deserves to not fall to terrorism, so hopefully I can convince you that Berlin is worth booking a trip to this year, as even though I spent a very short 24 hours there, I got such a great vibe, that it's on my recommended list.
After a short flight, I landed in Berlin. I decided it wasn't worth getting a taxi, as the underground system is supposed to be pretty good here, and being used to London, I decided to get that. Plus it meant that I'd do some walking through the the city too.
I was vaguely aware that Berlin was known for it's street art, but until I arrived I had no real idea. Turns out, it's pretty darn impressive. All over the city centre there is little alley ways that play host to back street bars and the most incredible street art.
It vaguely reminded me of Belfast, as alot of the art work is political, or has some serious message behind it, rather than just a random drawing. Alot the topics were social media and commercialization, and they are all very clever in the way they are shown,
I thought this was pretty ironic, posing in front of a display saying I wish you were as cute as your profile picture. I'd like to say though, I haven't doctored or "photoshopped" myself in this picture, so whether I'm cute or not, it's an accurate portrayal *wink*
A quick check in at my hotel, a freshen up and it was out again to find somewhere for lunch. Berlin has so many options for great food, but with only 24 hours, time was not on my side, so I decided on somewhere good but close to the hotel. Luckily, it was a very good choice.
Oliv is a small cafe in central Berlin. I guess us Brits would call it slightly hipster, with it's concrete walls, artisan coffees and healthy, but creative dishes.
I decided to go for what roughly translated into pumpkin soup, and a cheese and salad open top sandwich.
The soup was so so good. Honestly, I should have ordered an extra large bowl of the soup and left the sandwich. On a cold afternoon, it was the most ideal thing I could have had.
But with no time to spare, after lunch it was off again back to the hotel for a quick change, before heading to the theatre.
The reason I had come to Berlin was to go to the Chamaeleon theatre to watch the show Underart. Berlin has always been known for it's theatre and especially cabaret for decades, but the Chamaeleon promises to showcase current trends in the contemporary circus scene; something not wide spread in Germany yet.
Chamäleon Theater is located in the Mitte district of Berlin, which is a very trendy arts area right now. It's located in a courtyard dating back to 1906, and has the most gorgeous architecture, which is a reflection of its time.
The show, Underart is about the love of life and of the stage, exploring the forces that put us back on our feet again after a fall. The director explained that he fell whilst performing and broke his back, with doctors saying he would never walk again. Given that his livelihood was acrobatics, this was devastating. So the show is a sort of self biography in his road to recovery and relearning to start again. Thankfully, he did actually learn to walk again, but not wthout the ups and downs.
The show is a mix of contemporary dance, music and acrobats. I couldn't take any photos of the show itself as when someone is doing stunts, there can be no distraction like a camera click. However here are some press photos, so you get a sense of the show.
I was a little apprehensive at first, as to be quite honest I didn't know a lot about contemporary dance and the odd few videos I've seen online are a little odd in my view. However Underart is a wide mix, and it quite literally keeps you on the edge of your seat. When there was people hanging from the ceiling and being thrown 50ft in the air- especially knowing the backstory about how it did go wrong- I was so gripped the entire time.
It really was a fantastic show and well worth booking to see.
Stepping out after show, under the night sky, the beautiful theatre architecture really was apparent and quite something.
It was a shame I didn't really get a chance to see Berlin in the day light, however I'e always found with any place I go, in the nighttime, you get to see a city in a whole new light, and Berlin was no different.
What I noticed was the striking architecture all around the Mitte district. Classical buildings, with a few modern touches weaved in such as the famous Fernsehturm or Needle.
I decided to walk to dinner, as it would give me a chance to see Berlin before I left. Also my route took me under the famous Brandenburg Gate, which I couldn't miss.
However dinner was something rather special. I was having dinner on top of the roof of the Reichstag building which is Germany's parliament building. So it's really the equivalent of me having dinner on top of the Houses of Parliment in London.
The restaurant is called Käfer and as a little insider tip for you. Booking a meal at the restaurant is one of the best ways to beat the tremdously long queues of tourists outside the iconic building. Even at 9pm, there was still a long queue to get in for a tour. However with a dinner reservation it's like VIP access, and you just walk right to the front.
The restaurant also guarantees amazing views across the city. Right up high, you can see all of Berlin. Just make sure you bring a coat, as Berlin seemed so so windy to me!
Up at the top, you really can appreciate how gorgeous the architecture of Berlin is. I know I've been banging on about it, but I think it's really important and one of the great draws of the city.
After a while, I had to head in. Well there is only so much a girl can take in, with the cold battering down.
For the second time that day I had soup. But again, it was amazing. Am I missing something here, is Berlin known for it's soup? If I'd know what was on the menu, I might have chosen different at lunch though as it was Hokkaido pumpkin soup with styrian oil and roasted sunflower seeds. Pumpkin twice. Does that count as two separate portions of veg now?
The main was a saddle of beef with caesar crust, savoy cabbage, a carrot terrine and potato and hazelnut purée with dijon mustard sauce. A vast number of ingredients which I wouldn't necessarily put together on my own, but surprisingly worked well. i loved the beef and the potato puree. The only thing I wasn't too keen on was the carrot terrine- mainly because I didn't really know what it was!
Finally dessert was a Valrhona chocolate mousse with pear sorbet and rosehip pears. Wickedly indulgent and just a perfect way to finish off the night.
Taxi's called as midnight past. The day had gone so fast, I was quite surprised that it was all in just over 12 hours.
Sadly I had a flight that was just after 11am, nearly exactly 24 hours after I landed. I loved my whistle stop tour of Berlin- it's really opened up my eyes to a city I think is quite under rated. Hopefully I'll make a return visit soon, and get to spend a little longer than 24 hours in Berlin!