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One Night In: Berlin

After a New Years Eve in the new Berlin, Leipzig, we had a one off stop over in the original Berlin, Berlin. Somehow I have managed to get to the age of redacted and never made it to Berlin before. It’s been high on the to-do list for a while, and was even in the shortlist of cities to make the move to when we left the UK. One night has not satisfied that desire to spend some proper time there, but at least it gave me a taste.

So what do you do when given less than 24-hours in one of the most exciting cities in the world? You find places to eat of course. We initially headed for Burgermeister. Both Caitlin and I love a good burger and we’d heard nothing but praise for this tiny food stand cum restaurant not far from Kreuzberg. Getting there nice and early should mean that we avoid the queues right? No. Despite it not yet being even 6pm, there was a queue of around 20 people ahead of us. Usually I have no problem queueing for food, and have queued more than two hours for some places before. We were on a tight schedule though, and there was no time to waste in line. We’d have to save the burgers for next time.

Instead we found a little taco place just up the road. Ta’Cabrón Taqueria was perfect. This self-service and cash-only joint served good beer and even better food. We started with tortillas that came with all the works. Black beans, jalapeños, guacamole, plenty of melted cheese, a good salsa and loads of different hot sauces. So often tortillas are just a bunch of shit crisps with a load of grated cheese thrown over the top that they can be a real disappointment. Imagine the exact opposite of disappointing tortillas, and you’ve got Ta’Cabrón’s tortillas. We followed that up by sharing quesadillas with orange pulled pork and chilli chicken tacos. Throw in some more beers and we were ready to hit the sights.

There’s so much to see in Berlin that it is a difficult task to decide what to pick then you can only pick one thing. Instead, we didn’t pick just one thing, we picked an area. I’m writing this on the day David Bowie would have been celebrating his 70th birthday. It’s quite poetic that we therefore got the train to Potsdamer Platz. It’s around here that you’ll find a lot of the most important landmarks in Berlin. Reichstagsgebäude is the parliamentary building, and it’s something to behold. The main structure has gone through plenty of restoration since it first opened in 1894, but on the whole has kept its neo-renaissance style. All of it apart from the impressive glass dome on the top that is, which was designed by Norman Foster and has been in place since 1999. Just around the corner is Brandenburg Gate, which at the time of our visit was displaying the Turkish flag in memory of those lost in the Istanbul nightclub attack at the end of 2016.

The one thing I won’t forget though is the Holocaust Memorial. It’s an area filled with concrete slabs of differing heights, which invite you to get lost within. It’s disorientating and does a fantastic job of emphasising the incomprehensible numbers of jews that were lost to the Nazi regime. It’s a chilling reminder of what Berlin used to be.

Our flight home was mid afternoon, which gave us time to find a good breakfast and have a bit of a wander around Kreuzberg. We headed for a coffee and a piece of cake at Companion Coffee. Concrete tables and mismatched wooden chairs greet you, along with a nice selection of coffee, teas and cakes. I went for the ginger cake, while Caitlin chose the carrot. The excellent coffee is also available to buy by the bean or ready ground.

Companion is part of VooStore, which is exactly the sort of shop we love. Stocking clothing from Acne, APC, Comme des Garçons and more, we could have ended up spending a fortune. Add in a great selection of books and magazines, along with some nice interiors and stationary stock, I think our bank manager was pleased that we were very limited with luggage space.

And that was it. A very brief, but very pleasant, trip to Berlin. All that was left was time for a beer and a bratwurst at the airport, and some time to plan when we’d be back – later this year.