The first time I went to Berlin was on july 21st 1990. Yes, indeed that was right after the wall had fallen (8 months after the Berlin wall fell to be exact). There was a Pink Floyd concert called “The Wall” and we (group of friends) arrived with a little van. I can still vividly remember that moment when we passed checkpoint Charlie and drove past the Branderburger Tor. Everything was completely abandoned. It was 7 am when we arrived so naturally most people where still either asleep or at home. The concert started somewhere in the afternoon so we had plenty of time to discover some of Berlin. But there was literally nothing in East Berlin. Shop were as good as empty and it was obvious that the transition to the western culture had not begun at all. Weird to see it back after 25 years! The differences could not have been bigger! Sadly I don’t have any photos of the concert or those days.
We were in the middle of a wasteland and the numbers of people that came to the concert that day were mindblowing and insane. I don’t think I felt so claustrofobic ever again. They sold 350.000 tickets and let in at least another 100.000 people once the concert started. Crazy when you think about it and I do remember I didn’t feel so good in that enormous crowd. We started somewhere in the middle but as the crowds increased we ventured down to the sides as it was just too many people. All pushing to get in front.
If you see that picture above (source: Wikipedia and Bundesarchive) Weird to think I was in that crowd. It was a historical event, that’s for sure.
So last weekend I was back in Berlin. By invitation of Mo’media, the publisher of the 100% cityguides, of which one is all about Berlin. There will soon be a new edition with the latest hotspots and the best places to go to. The writer of the new edition is Petra de Hamer who has been living in Berlin for years and can tell you where to go like no other.
It all started of really well with a very cool hotspot, the hotel we stayed in for two nights Hotel Bikini Berlijn! I was traveling with Nathalie from Wordly Treasury. Such a cool hotel! I’ve seen many hotels from the inside and yes some are fun and others are very luxurious but Bikini is something else entirely. Cool, hip and super fun. We slept in the jungle room, with view of the – what else – jungle. Well, the jungle that is the zoo of Berlin but still from our room on the 8th floor we had view into the cage of the Orang Utans. And if you opened the windows in the morning you could hear the lions roar. Seriously.
Bikini Berlin has it’s own Bakery for delicious fresh breads and on the tenth floor there is the enormously popular Monkey Bar and restaurant Neni that serves a mix of Persian, Arabic, Moroccan (and such) foods and also an insane breakfast buffet every morning. That is seriously the best breakfast buffet I have ever seen. Delicious and with a lot of homemade produce.
Upon arrival we had to wait for a bit before we could head out into town so we took the opportunity to have a look around the hotel and as soon as we could we left for our restaurant that evening which is restaurant Volt. Built in an old energy building. Beautiful place and good food too.
And upon looking at the website I see that apparently they have an outside terrace but we completely missed that. Too bad as the weather was gorgeous and it would have been fun outside. O well, maybe next time. The location itself is worth a peak. Beautifully restored old building with enough industrial elements to make it special. It’s one of those typical business restaurants I think as we saw a lot of business man having business dinner. The menu is made up of various menu options but you can mix and match to your hearts content. Always a little tricky picking in German but we managed.
The restaurant isn’t cheap but worth it for a special night out. We paid 110 euro for a two course dinner and two glasses of wine and a botle of water.
Next I will show you some cool places to go to and of course the street food market on Thursday!
Disclaimer: We were in Berlin by invitation of Mo’Media the publisher of the 100% travel guides but all opinions are my own.