Birthday Surprises – Berlin

So, my birthday has passed and I now find myself 30 years old!?

I was surprised by Cas with a trip to Berlin as part of my present, I literally found out where we were heading whilst half way to Bristol airport in a taxi!!

This is my first solo blog post as I am now full time at Dig Haüshizzle so please forgive me if I get sidetracked.

If you’ve read Cassie’s previous blog on our trip to Paris you will know that I’m a meticulous planner when it comes to visiting any city, due to me having no idea this trip was on the horizon Cas took it upon herself to do all the planning for me and she did a grand job!

I suppose I’d better start with the appartment which was in Prenzlauer berg. Cas picked an apartment that was right up my street, all polished concrete floors, destressed walls and low lighting.  All the furniture was hand made by Michael our host and the attention to detail in this place was brill, including a few very appreciated things in the fridge and a very unusual coffee filter.

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You can view Michael and Rachels website full of Recycled furniture here  – http://www.notawoodenspoon.com

You can also book their apartment here – https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/354900

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We used the airbnb website for accommodation, if you’ve not taken advantage of this site I whole heartly recommend it. Using someone else’s place may take you out of your comfort zone a little but it opens up a whole other feeling of staying in an unfamiliar city, you instantly feel like less of a tourist and you can gain local knowledge of the area from your host for the week. Nothing emphasizes this point more than our first few hours in Berlin, hungry after a flight we asked the lovely Rachel and Michael  to recommend a decent place to grab some food and drink s before bedtime. She told us about this rad vietnamese restaurant call Vietnamese village just a short walk from our apartment. We found the food there to be ridiculously good and really affordable, we had too much food if anything and left only 26€ lighter.

We awoke to find that Jack Frost had visited Berlin during the night which caused Cas to end up on her ass just two steps out the front door, luckily no injuries occurred and after a little chuckle we were on our way exploring the area we’d be calling home for the next few days.

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That morning we witnessed a couple more people hitting the deck due to the icy conditions. One of the safest places to be was a coffee shop, Berlin has its fair share of outstanding kaffee bars and with the meteoric rise in my liking of coffee we found ourselves getting comfortable within No Fire No Glory. This place had a big reputation to live up too, it had made Cassies planning list!

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It did not disappoint, the coffee and atmosphere were both exceptional and their bagels are worth a shout too! and I usually hate a bagel.

With tentative steps on the still icy pavement we found ourselves in Mitte, the next district along. Which seemed to be a bit shopping area, this was where we first came to realise how friendly the people of Berlin were going to be. We chatted to a number of employees in many shops that were all keen to point out bars restaurants other shops… its was making Cas and I feel very welcome and at home. Everyone seemed to know of Bristol and how much of a great city it was. 14oz was one of these places with helpful staff that were on the same wave lengh as us, its an independent brand with a handful of stores dotted around Berlin, the interiors of these places was unreal! I’m talking inported orginal U.S ceiling tiles in the fitting rooms and shelving from the former archive library of Vienna’s Palais Liechtenstein, jaw dropping and they stocked a fine array of Salvage Denim and Boots!

Kevin the manager helped me find my jeans and kept Cas happy with beer, also met him at the airport when he was on his way to London. We will come back again and say hello Kevin.

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I was also on a bit of a selvedge denim hunt. Loved this little square with Nudie, Denham and Edwin

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That evening we found ourselves on the train to the outskirts of Berlin to meet up with Cristine and Matthias. Cristine is behind the wonderful ‘oncloud nine ‘ blog that the shop was featured in when they both lived in Bristol for a few years. Its fantastic how at home you can feel with people you hardly know  in a part of the world you hardly know just because you have the same interests. We ended up missing our train back to the center of Berlin, this resulted in Matthias driving us back to our apartment and giving us a impromptu guide to the differences between East and West Berlins architecture, even though it was the early hours of the morning we were like sponges taking in all the information.

Thank you both so much.

Check out Christine’s fabulous blog here – http://beingoncloudnine.blogspot.co.uk

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Cassie arranged for us to have dinner at Cookies and Cream on the evening of my birthday an extremely well hidden Vegetarian Restaurant. The door is tucked away deep within the loading bay area of shops in the heart of Berlin. You basically have to keep walking until the huge chandelier lights up, when it does you can breath a little easier knowing your in the right area on not just wondering around the rubbish bins of huge high street shops. Nerither Cas or I are vegetarian but we both loved the food on offer. We spent around 7 hours within Cookie and Cream due to deciding to stay on for the club which starts at midnight.

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White Trash Fast Food

From the outside this place looks like a straight up Chinese restaurant, dragons guard the doorway, lanterns hang from the ceilings. Once we stepped inside we soon realised we were in for a lot more than soggy crispy beef and prawn crackers. The place was massive and completely jam packed. If your looking to have a romanic sit down meal with your nearest and dearest I suggest you try somewhere else. The band on show where loud and once we’d taken our seats it felt like people were standing over you while they enjoyed a drink. Nether the less Cas and I fell for the atmosphere of this restaurant come gig venue straight away. By the time we’d received our burgers we were both suitable oiled and having a great time. So much so before we left I enquired for the two of us to get tattooed by the in house tattooist but he had finished for the night and wasn’t willing to accommodate… I’m still not sure weather this was a good thing or not.. 🙂

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The day we were due to leave Berlin we headed for lunch at the fantastically named ‘Le Soup Populaire’. This place was located in a beautiful old industrial complex. Imagine a factory with a restaurant dropped straight into it, everything was laid out to see internally. Original steel doors and concrete floors throughout. The food and service were impeccable the thing that surprised me the most with Le Soup Populaire was that it was populated with a lot of older people which we thought was fantastic. We sat next to a table of three people in their 70’s, I find it hard to believe that this type of place would attract the older generation in the UK.

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There were a lot more things in between, but these on the blog will all be on the list to return too.

Hopefully we will make it back to Berlin soon.

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A few other places too –

Calypso Shoes for amazing vintage walking  boots.

Bonazna Coffee  – Another amazing coffee place with super friendly staff

Liquidrom – Fantastic Spa and my first publicly acceptable outdoor nude experience

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