During our first few nights in Berlin, we stayed in the busy centre of the city. Our first hotel was the Novum Select Checkpoint Charlie and was located in Kreuzberg, just outside of Mitte. For those of you that don’t already know, Berlin is split up into separate districts that are all made popular for different reasons. I’ll give you a brief description of 3 of these districts to give you an idea of what I mean but there are so many more that I’ll find more about as I visit them.
There’s Mitte (conveniently translating to ‘middle’ or ‘centre’), which holds a lot of the city’s tourist sights such as Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building and the Holocaust Memorial. Since it is such a popular area with tourists, it can get extremely busy and expensive but it’s a really interesting place to spend a few days and experience the sights.
Charlottenburg is a district which has a very historic feel to it, especially as it holds the Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace) and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church but it is also Berlin’s shopping district with too many high-end bars, restaurants and hotels to keep count.
Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain is the district you have to live in if you’re ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ (and I’m pretty sure using the words ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ stop me from ever being in this category). It’s one of the most well-known areas with the younger generations as it plays host to everything hipster and is a beautifully artsy neighbourhood. It’s also known for being the hardest area to find a place to live because it’s in such high demand and if you ever do find somewhere, it’ll be a cardboard box that costs €2,300 per month/person (utilities not included).
Hopefully you see what I mean about each district having it’s own little quirks. It’s definitely something we’ll have to consider when we begin flat-searching but you know…’beggars can’t be choosers’ and all that.
While staying in our first hotel, we were only a 5 minute walk from Mitte so thankfully, on the one day that we had together before Jordan’s meeting, we didn’t need to venture too far. Since we had come to Berlin together back in March 2015 for my birthday, we had seen a lot of the major tourist sites before so instead, we decided to just walk through Mitte and see what we came across. The first thing that we came to is one of my favourite places in Berlin so far – Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus – a 3-story bookstore filled with stationary, music, and obviously…books. It even has it’s own separate, 2-floor English section. For those of you that don’t know me personally, I go crazy over both stationary and books so this place is like heaven for me. If you’re a booklover yourself and ever find yourself in Berlin – check this out on Friedrichstrasse, you’ll love it!
After spending WAY too much time in the bookstore from heaven, we headed to the office Jordan would be going to the next day. We wanted to make sure he’d be able to find it so he wasn’t late for his meeting in the morning. Thankfully, it was in Mitte and was fairly easy to find so we had some time left to take the long route back to the hotel so that we could stop by the Brandenburg Gate. It was a little less busy by this point in the day which was perfect as I wasn’t having to worry about stepping in front of people’s cameras or bumping into people posing which I always do.
When we got back, the hotel bar served as the scene for laptop club. Jordan sat with a beer and prepared for his meeting in the morning whilst I prepared for my first day in the big city on my own. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly nervous since I do have a tendency to lose my belongings (normally the more expensive it is, the more likely I am to lose it) as well as myself which was bound to happen since I’m awful with directions. I was so determined to have a successful day and prove myself wrong so I researched public transport routes, walking routes and opening hours, and wrote it all down so that I wouldn’t get lost.
I should have known that planning things out too much is never a good idea.