Guten Abend freunde. Vie Geht’s? Wir sind super!
Our third week in Berlin continued in the same fashion as previous weeks. It was awesome.
We dedicated a lot of this week to exploring some of the big landmarks around the city and treating ourselves to some more of the wonderful wedding experiences our guests have treated us to. (Thanks you guys!)
The weather really warmed up here, over 30 degrees for most of the week. So, when the weather is warm, we did as the locals do, and chilled in the cities parks and gardens.
We visited the Berlin Botanic Gardens and it’s Tropic Grow Haus. This is place was really really cool. Each section of the gardens is cultivated for different environments from around the world. The Tropic Grow Haus was our absolute fav. It is apparently one of the largest in the world.
It is a huge glass dome with several annexes attached. Each building is climate controlled to replicate the exact native environment of its plants. The buildings are very high tech with automatic multi door systems and neutral chambers between each. *think James Bond moon base. The main house has tropical plants, and in the centre replicates a rainforest environment with full height rainforest canopy. Upon entering the Grow House for the first time, you are smacked in the face with heat and humidity that we had forgotten, but is all too familiar of home.
The house that was the most fascinating for us was the desert. Dry heat and a rocky environment full of the most beautiful and peculiar cacti we have ever seen. It looked like a scene from a different planet. So cool.
Another park that we spent a lot of our time at this week was Tiergarten. It is 210 hectares and is right in the middle of East Berlin. It was originally the royal hunting grounds, then was partly bombed during the war. What remained of the garden after the fact was logged during the depression for firewood. Tiergarten now is completely rebuilt, the trees are thick and gloriously tall. Neuer See is a lake that runs throughout, and statues and memorials have been erected throughout the grounds. The tower in the middle is called Victory Tower. You can climb the 285 steps to the top for an awesome view of East Berlin (which we did, ouchie)
We spent a couple of days relaxing in Tiergarten, exploring different parts. A beautiful afternoon was spent wondering throughout, culminating at Cafe am Neuen See. This cafe is also a BierGarten during Summer and tables fill the whole area, right up to the bank of the lake. Here we enjoyed beer and pretzel, with a side of people watching (thanks again Petra and Dave for more glorious experiences from our wedding registry)
We then hopped on a row boat and I (Courtney) lived out a fairy tale/ RomCom, fantasy/ cliché as Zak rowed us around the lake at dusk. *Swans were there and EVERYTHING!
Close by the Tiergarten is the Reichstag Parliament Building. The building facade is a wonderful metaphor for Berlin itself. The front of the building is ornate, historical and beautiful. The back extension of the building is high tech, ultra modern, architecturally fascinating and somehow is utterly complimentary.
The rooftop of the back building is a large glass dome, it sits above the main parliament hall. The glass dome is the sole light source for the parliament hall. It is open to the public, and provides a walking tour around the domes levels. We spent the morning exploring the dome and enjoying views of East Germany from a higher vantage point, and the obligatory government security pat down.
Berlin TV Tower was next on our hit list. It stands at 368m high in the centre of the city and can be seen from almost anywhere. There is a viewing platform, bar and restaurant two thirds of the way up. The platform is a ring around the tower and has 360 degree views of the city.
Again, this was another wonderful wedding gift, so we booked ourselves in for a hot date on the viewing platform for a Berlin summer sunset and cocktail. The views did not disappoint, and there are photographs to prove it (coming soon). Our evening was perfected by a dinner of wine and cheese.
The date nights continue with every restaurant and bar embracing the warm weather. Every street is lined with tables and chairs, most of the time spilling out into the road or other side of the street, filled with mass happy locals, enjoying the warmth and extended hours of sun. Sunsets here have been around 9pm.
It has been far too tempting to not indulge on wonderful small plate food and tremdous(ly strong) cocktails.
BRYK Bar was a total winner, in our books. A bar with an outside terrace, primarily gin based cocktails and complimentary popcorn for all guests. #winning. Their signature cocktails are the gold. Smokey gin and tonics with herb infusions like lavender or rosemary. They look like witches potion and taste like heaven.
We explored an Open Air Bar Market in East Berlin, this was basically a street food market but instead of food all the vendors/ caravans and stalls were local mixologists showcasing their signature drinks. As usual there was a DJ, and a shit load of locals with their dogs. (Everyone goes everywhere, with their fury friends. Fur real).
Still chasing the sun, we saw the week out with drinks at our local roof top bar. House of Weekend. This place is cooler than cool, we perhaps did not quite belong, but we loved it any way. There is a dance floor inside (which doesn’t open until after midnight), resident and visiting DJ’s, BBQ’s on sunny days, an ice cream vendor and some boundary pushing artwork. *If you are curious ask us directly for the evidence. We would like our blog to not be blocked by parental lock search engines.
Now on to food, as if you guys would get away without reading several hundred words on what we ate!
We realised that while in Germany we were yet to eat schnitzel, and that felt positively criminal. To rectify this oversight, we sought out – and researched the hell out of – the best schnitzel in Berlin. We discovered the adequately named, SchnitzelKönig *SchnitzelKing. Boy oh boy did it live up to the hype. We were feeling hungry/ brave/ crazy and ordered the große size meal with half litre steins. We should have known what we were in for by the look on the waitresses face, but nothing could have prepared us for what we had signed up for.
THEY CAME OUT ON FUCKING 1 METRE PLANKS OF WOOD! EACH!
Seriously, massive schnitzel, probs half kilo potatoes and a salad. Zak was delighted to find just as much pulled beef as schnitzel, hidden underneath his cheese and sauce. Biggest meal of our lives, pants had never been tighter, we had never felt sexier #honeymoonlife
Kebaps are everywhere in Germany, and tonnes in Berlin. Fun fact is that there is actually high contention with the origins of the kebap. A large majority saying the first kebab was actually made in Berlin. Say What!?
The kebaps here are mostly made on bread, and are more mega than a burger but insanely cheap. Every vendor follows a similar recipe but each add their own signature spin. Needless to say we have sampled our fair share over our time in Berlin, so we were intrigued to try Berlins best.
Mustafa Gemüse Kebap. This place is practically famous in Berlin, and talked about by EVERYONE. The line up is permanent, and seems to be just as famous as the kebap itself. Of course we had to try it. There is not photo evidence of the best kebap of Berlin, it was too fucking delicious to not consume instantly…
Last mention for the blog was our wedding gift from the Heelans. Unsicht Bar. This place was one of the most unusual and thrilling experiences of our lives, and really forced us out of our comfort zone.
The Unsicht Bar is a restaurant with a pitch black dining room. All light sources are banned. As a guest you choose your meal and drinks prior to entering. You are escorted from the waiting room into the dining area in a tango line fashion by your designated waitperson. The staff are all vision impaired but navigate their way around the dining room as if they have super powers. It is INSANE!
Our feelings upon entering the room were panic, excitement and moderate anxiety. Your senses are truly heightened and it is actually scary to have no frame of reference for your surroundings, no instant relief of simply opening your eyes or turning on the lights. From the menu we decided to roll with the theme of the evening and opted for the surprise menu. At first even simple things like pouring water into our glasses or using a knife and fork to cut our meal took a lot of concentration.
After about 20 minutes, the darkness became close to feeling normal and our feelings turned to intrigue. It was fun to decipher what we were eating and interesting to figure out how much wine was left in your glass. Emotions and our eating skills improved as the evening went on, each course didn’t take quite as long to navigate (although I suspect Zak ate his steak, cheeseburger style).
This was one of our favourite evenings in Berlin. The whole experience was truly memorable, and something that we just adore Matt and Talz for choosing for us. Thank you so much guys!
Next blog is right behind! We promise.
“Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think; it is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true, than be selfish and worry about my liver.” – Babe Ruth