Berlin Bucket List

Monday, August 4, 2014

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I know two weeks' time is short in theory, but my trip back home felt even shorter! Like, didn't I just arrive two days ago? And now I'm back in Germany, I landed an hour and a half ago and here I am, sitting at the uni, waiting for the class. Again, in theory, I have two months here before I move to the Netherlands. But I'm planning to do some travelling in September, and maybe road takes me somewhere at the end of August too. We'll see. So basically, I feel as if I only have three weeks left to enjoy Berlin and Potsdam, and besides attending my Scientific Writing course and writing proposal for my thesis and thinking of what I want to do when I grow up (PhD matter again), I want to do all the things I've been planning to, but just thought I'd do them sometime. Well, a similar thing happened to me in Finland, and in the end I never visited the city museum, for example, so I don't want to leave Germany with a similar feeling of "I should've done that". That's why I have some sort of Berlin bucket list with things to do before I leave.


The Zoo. Berlin actually has two zoos - one is in the former Western Berlin, and the other in the Eastern, but I'll just be modest and go to one, the bigger and the more well-known. It's called Zoologischer Garten and it's considered to be the most visited zoo in Europe and one of the most popular worldwide. I pass by it every time I go to Berlin or get off at that train station, and several times I even had coffee in a place where you can watch the monkeys from above, but I never went to the zoo itself. It does look nice (from above! :)) and I've been told that indeed is nice, so I want to see it for myself.

Museum Island. When I first learned I would live near Berlin (has it already been more than a year and a half?!), a friend of mine told me I had to visit Museum Island in the center of the city, with numerous amazing museums. At first I wanted to do it back in September, but somehow I didn't have time, I guess the month was filled with excitements because it was my first time ever living abroad, so I wanted to get to know cities, and I was also more focused on Potsdam than Berlin. Then, when I missed my chance in September, I wanted to do it in March, because I didn't have many classes. Well, as you might remember, my March was spent almost everywhere but in Germany, so it's August already and I still haven't been to any of the museums. I will now!

GDR Museum. Yes, this could've also been a part of the previous task, but it's not. As for the Museum Island, my plan is to google the museums and then decide which ones I want to visit (except Pergamon, Pergamon is a must-see, it's like Louvre or British Museum), but GDR Museum I just saw by the river and decided I needed to visit it. I'm all into the second half of the 20th century, and Berlin was beyond interesting in that period (GDR meaning German Democratic Republic, i.e. Eastern Germany), with the division and difficult life in the eastern part. Once again I recommend The Lives of Others, don't miss it!

Spree boatride. I love water. I love seeing a city from the water. But I usually never do it. Why? I have no idea. I did it ages ago in Prague, and then last fall in Saint Peterburg. Berlin has the river Spree, and a whole lot of canals, and you probably cannot walk for more than 10 minutes anywhere, in any direction, without crossing a bridge. So I though to myself: I want to get to know Berlin from this point of view. Yeah, it may be expensive, but nevermind, let's just do it. And I just googled and found out that there are A LOT of different boat rides and tours and they're not even that expensive. OK, they're not really cheap, but still, I think it'd be worth it. I'll let you know!

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Walking Tour. A lot of cities Europe-wide and maybe even worldwide have these walking tours. I think that by now I've got to know the major sights quite well, but maybe I've missed something. I want to do it all at once, like a real tourist, haha!

Alternative Tour. Another walking tour, but with an emphasis on street art and such. Berlin really is the place to see street art and everything hipster!

Reichstag. Reichstag is the building where Bundestag (the Parliament) meets. It has a rooftop terrace and a glass dome with free entrance to the public, offering what I heard is a spectacular view of the neighborhood. And the neighborhood is the very center of the city with the major sights, so yeah, count me in!

Flea Markets. Back when I lived in Belgrade, I heard that flea markets are amazing places to find excellent clothes/accessories/everything for extremely low prices. I remember browsing forums and writing down where I should go and on what days of the week, but, you guess it - I never did. My first real flea market was Mauerpark in Berlin last September, and I was swept away by the energy, colors, old books, records. I love that place, but I read that actually this is the most touristy flea market in the city - and the city actually offers many more, that are even more genuine. (Touristy also means having high prices - I remember buying a pair of earrings that a friend of mine could make for like half a euro - I paid 5, just because I wanted to get something from there.) And trust me, I do have a list of flea markets in Berlin I want to visit, with their locations and instructions on how to get there, I've had that since April or May, just never took the time (I guess I will need two weekends, or at least both days of one weekend). Well, it's now or never! (OK it's not, but I want to.)

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Currywurst. Urgh. Ok, here it goes. As you may know, Germans have a passion for sausages. And their sausages are really good. They eat them in buns with ketchup or mustard, or with potato salad, and you can find them anywhere. Berlin, however, has a specialty of its own - currywurst. It's a sausage you top with ketchup and curry powder. Everybody eats it all around the city, they are sold everywhere, and I cannot help but wonder - dear god, how?! To be honest, it looks awful. Maybe it has to do something with the fact that I'm not really a ketchup person, I can only stand it in a sandwich or on pizza. (My Italian friend would probably go crazy here, because hey, who on Earth adds ketchup to a pizza?) But on the other hand, currywurst being an original Berlin treat, I feel I have to just taste it. Once. I probably won't like it, but since I tell everybody they have to taste the food of the place they travel to, I definitely have to try this thing because I've been living here for months now. Just so I can tell everyone that Berliners are crazy.

Berghain. This is the shy part of my list. Can you keep a secret? I'm not really sure I will actually try and do this. Everybody's heard of Bergain, you too, probably. It's a night club able to host 1500 people, and if you go there on Friday, you might actually finish your partying on Sunday morning. Or at least Saturday afternoon. I mean, look at last weekend's schedule! From what I've read or heard, taking photos is not allowed inside and it's possible to stumble upon a couple having sex here and there. Anyway, another big thing about Berghain is that they don't let just anyone inside. In theory, you can wait outside in the line for hours, and once you get there, you can be told "no". As simple as that. No explanations, no way of getting inside once you've been rejected. An adrenaline rush or what! I feel I should at least try. And then brag about it - or not, of course, if I'm not hip enough! :)

Fernsehturm bar. I've said it on the blog occasionally - Fernsehturm, or the TV tower, is my favorite sight in Berlin. For me, it's the symbol of Berlin - maybe because it's one of the first things I've ever seen here. I love seeing it from different parts of the city, makes me feel... I don't know, as if I'm home. But what I didn't know up to recently is that you can actually go all the way up and have a coffee there. Perfect! I love coffee and seeing things from above - I do have a fear of heights, but only when there is a chance of actually falling down if you're as clumsy as I am - so I mustn't miss this!

I hope I make it all. Do you ever feel you don't really know your city and want to see some things, but never find time, or are you a real pro? If you have any further recommendations about things not to miss in the last few weeks of living in Berlin, let me know in the comments! (But I'll be back next year, hehe:))

Have a nice week!

P.S. On loving Berlin, and one of my favorite places in the city.

3 comments:

  1. Ha! Imamo sličnu Berlin bucket list :D (uključujući i Berghain ;P)! Ok, zoološki sam MORALA posjetiti (pingvini!), DDR Museum i Pergamon isto (svakako preporuka), a na dan kad sam bila u obilasku Reichstaga je padala kiša, tako da pogled nije bio toliko spektakularan :(.

    Inspirisala si me s ovim walking tours (iskreno, na walking tours sam išla samo u gradovima u kojima ranije nisam bila, ali vjerovatno bi bilo cool otići na alternative walking tour u Berlinu :)).

    Možda bih jedino dodala Wannsee (nisam ni ja ranije bila) - vrijeme bi trebalo biti dovoljno fino za kupanje ;). Uživaj! :)

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  2. Za jezera si u pravu, pročitala sam da ih ima 200tinjak. Samo, kad da stignem :D no dobro, Wannsee može, blizu je, hvala :)
    A u Berghain možemo kad dođeš :))

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