By Anna Moggia
The city of Berlin is a melting pot of different cultures all blending to give it a vibrant yet serene atmosphere. It is a vast city, made up mainly of large parks and many waterways. Berlin is one of the most important historical cities of Europe and even though 60% of the city was destroyed after WW2, you will feel drawn to search for any mention or memory of those dark times.
Choosing the hotel
I choose the Monbijou Hotel mainly because of its central location and I was not disappointed. A few steps from the Spree river and close to the Hackescher Market. This area is full of life and energy at any time of day or night, so you can walk out of the hotel and be right in the middle of a maze of unusual shops and quirky cafes.
Explore the hidden courtyards filled with exclusive Berlin stores, art galleries and flea markets. Drop in to Katje’s Cafe’ for a break and a real girly afternoon tea.
See a museum
Berlin is full of important and interesting museums, but if you are there for a short while you will have to make a choice. We chose to see the Pergamon Museum and were very impressed. The museum is on Museum Island amongst many other museums and while it is being restored at the moment, many artifacts are still on show. The impressive and majestic Ishtar Gate from Babylon and the Roman market from Turkey are quite mesmerizing.
Berlin is famous for it’s nightlife so it is mandatory to try out one of it’s famous bars. We chose the Catwalk which is known as one of the most stylish bars in Berlin in the Potsdamer Platz. After an illuminative walk from the hotel and among the bustling night scene and lights, we reached this modern and chic venue. Decorated in gold and black and offering different seating options. A great place to pass a different evening , sipping delicious cocktails while having a light meal.
This vast city has a large number of shopping centers, including a rather unusual one with an unusual name; Bikini. This is an alternative shopping mall, be it for it’s unique architecture, alternative shopping experience or unusual view over the Berlin zoo. The mall is an assemblage of carefully chosen boutiques and unconventional food stalls. The pop-up boxes which line the center isle are used as temporary stores to launch new products and change continuously.
We stumbled upon one of the oldest suburbs of Berlin by chance and were pleasantly surprised. The Nikolaiviertel lies beneath the giant Television Tower and along the Spree River. This historic area has been completely reconstructed after being destroyed at the end of WW2. It is quite difficult to believe that all these medieval-looking streets and houses are actually replicas.
St. Nicholas’s Church, with its striking double spire, is the heart of the quarter and behind the square you will find a quirky cafe and shop to relax. The Kaffeehaus offers a large variety of cakes in a rather unusual setting. tables and chairs are located amidst unusual objects as well as Christmas decorations which are all on sale.
Berlin is a city with many things to do and see. It is not over-crowded and as most people travel by bike, even the traffic is not as hectic as in other European capitols. Definitely a city to be visited.