Hallo! Welcome to my Berlin diary. I’ve just got back home from Germany after a weekend away.
But don’t think I’m writing this diary just based on two day’s experience, I spent my Erasmus year (a year spent abroad to aid language learning) living in Berlin during my undergraduate degree, so know a thing or two about the city. I’ve split my guide into three handy parts…
1. What’s in my carry-on
Getting everything I needed for a weekend away into a teeny tiny suitcase was a serious struggle for me. I tried to sneak my own (large) plastic toiletries bag in, but I was unceremoniously stopped, and I almost had to sacrifice my Melvita face cream *sobs*
2. Favourite places
In London buying hot food at tube stations isn’t common, but most stations in Berlin have these stalls selling freshly baked goods, oh and as the tube runs all night, most of them are open late too.
My favourite place to shop/eat/be is Alexanderplatz, BUT the urban classics store on Friedrichstrasse has the best streetwear and this dope staircase.
I also wrote a detailed guide to shopping in Berlin during my year abroad here.
Last but definitely not least is Unter den Linden. Probably my favourite street in Berlin, I remember walking up and down it in between classes on my Erasmus year here; taking full advantage of sale season at Zara, trying out way too many beauty products at Rossman and buying hot dogs from men on street corners (in a totally legit way.)
Ohne kohlensäure: literally “without carbonic acid” this is helpful because if you ask for water at a restaurant/fast food outlet they will assume you mean fizzy water, so if you want still water ask for “wasser ohne kohlensäure”
Bitte zuruck bleiben: “please stay back” you’ll hear this on public transport, it’s our equivalent of “this train is ready to depart, please mind the closing doors”… But much more efficient.
Tschuss: “see ya” when you learn German or watch any German film everyone says “auf wiedersehen” to say goodbye, then you land in Germany and soon realise that is extremely formal, and everyone is saying tschuss instead.
4. Bonus round: Things you won’t see in Berlin
People shopping on a Sunday – most of the shops are closed, some cafes/restaurants will be open (I forget this every time I visit.)
Pedestrians crossing the road when there’s a red light – people take road safety very seriously, also the roads are so wide there’s further to run if the cars start moving
People avoiding eye contact on the U-Bahn – unlike London, people are not afraid to stare on public transport
Late night revellers stranded – the underground, overground, buses and trams all run into the night, with extended services at the weekend
People connecting to wifi on the underground – phones get reception, even on the U-Bahn
Women in heels – very very rarely will you see the women of Berlin in sky high heels to go out, they prefer plimsoles or trainers