Berliner Tagebuch: Sonntag 10 Juni 2023 / Berlin Diary: Sunday 10 June 2023
Another bright day in Berlin and a lovely mid-morning walk around some imposing buildings after breakfast. I realise I feel physically smaller in Berlin than when I am in London. London has its share of grand buildings but the narrow streets somehow contrive to mitigate their grandeur.
Before you read on, please see here for details of the transport and museum passes we used for this Berlin trip. All information correct as of June 2023.
Frühstück / Breakfast
Bonanza does coffee, of course, but their pastries are really excellent too
Morgenaktivität/ Morning Activity
Berlin has unique pedestrian traffic lights that feature a charming red and green ampelmännchen/ little traffic light man, with a hat on
The Ampelmann shop sells any type of souvenir you can think of, which makes it a fun visit
Ampelmännchen had its own Google Doodle to celebrate its 56th anniversary on 13 October 2017
Towards Bebelplatz: like so many large institutions undergoing renovation, St Hedwig’s Cathedral (top) is currently closed. The juristisch fakultät / law faculty of Humbolt University (bottom)
We stared for a long time at the facade of the Humbolt Forum, curious as to whether it was a new building designed to look old, or an old building newly restored. Its history is complicated and here is an insightful article from The Guardian. I should like to see the views from its rooftop terrace (closed on Tuesdays, ticket required).
Front and side of the Humbolt Forum
Courtyard and rear of the forum
The interior reminded me of visiting National Trust houses here in the UK. There was a lot of furniture and portraits, but what stood out for me was this painting of the New Synagogue (which we spotted on our first evening in Berlin)
We had a few minutes in the Museum Ephraim-Palais before returning to our hotel for a late check-out. Entrance (top) and interior staircase (bottom) of the museum
When walking around Berlin, do look down at the pavements and roads from time to time. The border between East and West Berlin, where the wall once stood, is marked out so you can see what lay each side of the divide
BERLIN NEXT TRIP
This was a busy trip but not exhausting, as we stopped for sit-down meals and had some rest stops factored into the day. Although I did quite a lot of background reading to prepare for the trip, there are still interesting facts that come up each time I return to articles or the guidebook. This is to be expected, as Berlin is a large city! If I were to go again in a group I would consider hiring a professional tour guide so we could have a history lesson whilst walking. Find a suitable guide and tour here or here.
Here are some the places we did not get round to trying or visiting:
44 Brekkie for breakfast/ brunch/ lunch.
If I had not been so absorbed with museums I might have found time to do some eating and food shopping at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg. As it was, I did not go anywhere near Kreuzberg. So this is a definite must for the next trip.
Another must if the weather is hot and if it still exists (shops open and shut all the time): Korean bingsu / shaved ice at Cafe Gong Gan, located in Manifesto Food Court, The Playce, Alte Potsdamer Str. 7, 10785 Berlin
A walk around Gendarmenmarkt was high on my list but the entire site is currently off limits due to ongoing renovation works
KPM (Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur / Royal Porcelain Manufactory) has hand-made their porcelain in Berlin for over 280 years. I am not in the market for a whole new dinner service, but I should like to tour their manufactory.
I would still like to visit more museums and art galleries. Top of my list would be the Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM / German Historical Museum) which is currently closed.
Many rooftop terraces with views were recommended but we ran out of time. Maybe next time: a drink on the rooftop terrace at the Hotel de Rome.
Finally, for a person who much prefers tea to coffee, I still look out for cafes because that’s where I would find the thing I love most for breakfast, which is croissants. If they do cakes that’s a bonus. Here is a comprehensive list of coffee places in Berlin from European Coffee Trip which currently lists 550 roasters and 3715 cafes across Europe. I searched for Berlin and it returned 249 entries. I downloaded their App immediately on my mobile phone.
What I did not do: eat currywurst, doner kebab or Brammibal’s vegan donuts (the point of donuts is that they are an unhealthy occasional treat). I left the Birkenstock shop well alone because I am now much older and need to wear sensible shoes that lessen the chance of tripping
Let’s learn some German words!
I love ice cream but did not have the space to try any from the Rosa Canina pop up shop near KaDeWe department store (see previous post). Some flavours are descriptions (e.g. Mozartkugel and Stracciatella) but for straightforward flavours here is a word list:
zitrone / lemon,
erdbeere / strawberry
butterkaramell mit steinsalz / butter caramel with rock salt
walnuts karamellisiert / caramelized walnuts
bourbon Vanille aus madagaskar / bourbon vanilla from madagascar
schokoladensorbet esmeralda / chocolate sorbet esmeralda (not sure who Esmeralda is)
Apfel Butterstreusel mit tonka / Apple butter crumble with tonka (bean)
himbeer mit basilikum / raspberry with basil
sicilianische blutorange / Sicilian blood orange
tonkabohne mit sesamkrokant / tonka bean with sesame brittle
joghurt mit Heidelbeere / yogurt with blueberries
Not very important, but here is my opinion of Berlin Airport:
Some airports are too big e.g. you could easily spend three hours in Singapore’s Changi Airport eating and shopping. Berlin Brandenburg Airport is quite the opposite. There are not enough departure gates and seats within these areas to accommodate the passengers. The one business lounge in Terminal 1 (Lounge Tempelhof) is shared by over 20 airlines. Two things made the experience bearable: this was the first time in the whole trip I came across currywurst (don’t waist your calories) and also, they served some magnificent pretzels. These were pretzels so fresh, with just the right amount of saltiness and chewiness, that I had to stash some in a ziplock bag to bring back to London. They were still good three days later.