There was only one week left until we were to make the journey back to England. We had left our Airbnb in Mahlsdorf and were spending the week in a hotel in Charlottenburg – a district in West Berlin that we had stayed in when we had visited back in 2015. The hotel we were staying in on this visit was another Novum Select Hotel which is the same chain as the one we stayed in when we first arrived. Since the top floor was yet to be renovated along with the rest of the hotel, we were about to get a room for slightly cheaper than they normally offer.
Charlottenburg is a wealthy part of Berlin so the hotel was surrounded by high-end shopping malls and expensive restaurants. Thankfully, I found a pizza place just around the corner which was completely affordable and the pizzas were gorgeous! They were Italian base and made right in front of you as soon as you ordered. I’m not ashamed to admit I ate there 4/7 of the days we were there. It was a pretty unhealthy week for me but totally worth it.
Since Jordan and I hadn’t had much of a chance to explore the city together, we decided to spend one of the days visiting Alexanderplatz. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Berlin – Alexanderplatz is a large public square containing copious amounts of shops and restaurants and a main transport hub. It’s right in the centre of the city (in the district of Mitte) and is a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
When we arrived, we noticed that there was a huge Saturn store, similar to many others we had seen (but never entered) around the city. We never understood what they were so we decided to venture in and see what all the fuss was about. It ended up being a massive tech store, similar to PC World back home but 10x bigger. With four floors filled with electronics, games, merchandise, consoles and more…it was a tech-geek’s dream so of course, we were in there for a while.
Opposite Saturn was Galeria – a luxury department store with around 5 floors filled with designer clothing and accessories. Since we certainly weren’t in there to do any clothes shopping, we followed the scent of food and headed straight for the top floor. We were met by a huge food court, split off into sections containing every different variety of food possible. Of course, I headed straight for the fruit, making myself a fruit salad and grabbing a drink from the selection of infused water in tapped mason jars – the most hipster drink selection I’ve ever chosen from.
Outside of Galeria was the ‘Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft’ – an unusually designed fountain – which we sat around for a while and people-watched, before walking through the square to have a look at what else there was to see. Towering over the entire square was the ‘Berliner Fernsehturm’ – Berlin’s iconic TV tower. The ‘Berliner Fernsehturm’ is the tallest structure in Germany and the second tallest in the EU standing at 368m so you can see it from a lot of different places within the city.
The rest of the week was mainly spent organising the drive back to England and the trip to Iceland. So far, we had bought tickets for the Eurotunnel to cross from Calais to Folkestone in the car and reserved our flights from Edinburgh to Iceland and back to Berlin. Other than that, (i.e. driving route/stops, train tickets etc) were either going to wing it or leave it until the last minute as always.
The drive from Berlin to Teesside would take nearly 16 hours in total and we were going to do this in one trip with a few stops along the way. We decided that rather than book a hotel to sleep halfway, we would simply pull into a service station when Jordan became tired and sleep as much as we needed. Thankfully, Jordan isn’t someone who would keep quiet if he was too tired as he wouldn’t take the risk so we knew it would never get to the point of being unsafe. It wasn’t going to be a comfortable trip but it needed to be done in order to get the car back to England.