Year Abroad in Berlin: rambles ft. recommendations

A lot has happened but I’ll start off with the deputy boss’ 50th birthday when we had prosecco, cake and confetti at work. A fantastic combination. That evening I also went for drinks with the other girl on placement in Pavlov’s Bar, a cosy bar with a genuinely fantastic playlist. It was lovely to be able to talk in German for so long and actually feel quite comfortable so things are looking up.

An old flatmate got in touch and we went for a nice but pricey brunch at House of Small Wonder. It was a really cute place though, complete with winding staircase and pretty plants – almost felt like we were in a greenhouse. Then I joined her and her friends in a bar that night where we met some weird Scottish guys. It emerged they were all married and clearly on a lad’s weekend during which they were ignoring the whole married thing. Bleugh.

The weekend after I met with the same group of friends for a techno night out at Kater Blau. When in Berlin and all that. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the club, and you had to cover your phone’s camera with a sticker which meant that everybody was more in the moment and not concentrating on putting everything on social media.

The next day day, I managed to resurface just before midday, surprisingly refreshed, and went for a lovely trip with my flatmate to Schlachtensee. We’d been wondering whether it would have any ice on it, little did we know that it would be entirely frozen over. People were skating, playing ball with their dogs, playing ice hockey and we even saw a man casually cycle past on a bike. Looking around and seeing everyone content and enjoying themselves made it the perfect Sunday afternoon stroll.

Another place I loved was Markthalle 9. The variety of food and cute decorations make this indoor market Instagram gold and with its bustling atmosphere, this is well worth a visit or two. So much food I want to try there but we all got pies – home comforts and all that. Though truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of pies and have probably had just one in the past 5  years but this was very nice. Then I got what was actually the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. Not that you care about my food consumption but whatever, now you know.

The following week I went to Topographie des Terrors with work where our deputy director showed us around the exhibition he’s curated on the mass shootings of the Holocaust. I fully recommend. Very minimalist but clever design and you learn about an aspect of the Holocaust that isn’t usually discussed.

I had a bit of a weird experience later on when I was interviewing potential flatmates. It brought back the memories of being on the other side of it last summer. It’s always been a bit of a mystery as to how I got my flat because my vision had been so blurred that I’d not been able to focus on their faces when they were talking to me, which was very distressing and I thought I must’ve looked a right weirdo. Turns out they’d a fair few strange characters so really I needn’t have worried. A recurring life lesson that I never learn from.

That night I met a friend for a chat in Morgenrot, a nearby collective-run bar that I highly recommend for cheap prices and friendly atmosphere. Also do an amazing veggie/vegan brunch buffet so I’m waiting for my cousin to come visit so I have someone to go with who isn’t horrified by the absence of meat.

Then the time came for a last little outing with my flatmate before she returned to Lyon. First we visited Viktoriapark for some views of Berlin from above and tried to spot all the landmarks, then we went to Treptower Park. It’s quickly became my favourite park and it also has an impressive (ie. it’s massive) Soviet War Memorial. With blue sky on show, it was the perfect chance for my flatmate to finally get a photo of the nearby statue on the river. She’d been wanting to take this shot since the start so it felt like a successful conclusion to her Erasmus semester in Berlin.

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