Going on a mini-break can be exhaustive; you rush around trying to do / see everything humanly possible with a limited amount of time. You may even end up feeling as if you need a second holiday just for recuperative recovery. Yet we still love mini-breaks!
The end of October I did 48 hours in Berlin, and when it came down to it I was so under prepared it was slightly embarrassing. I’m going to be kind, and give you a hindsight heads up. So that you won’t waste hours looking for a destination that you are in fact standing in, get on a bus travelling in the opposite direction or, perhaps the worst of my naive mistakes, get caught out shopping in the middle of a dangerous storm.
1. Weekend blues
Okay now this one is REALLY vital to anyone planning a trip to Berlin that involves any type of shopping.
If your trip happens to fall on a weekend, it’s important to know that shops close on Sunday. Yes, no limited hours for retail workers. Completely and utterly closed for the entire duration of the day of rest. It’s better to use this day for exploring restaurants / bars / tourist attractions.
OH and just as a side note, it’s worth checking local news and weather warnings every day of your holiday. Or you may wind up caught in the middle of a somewhat dangerous storm like I did. It was wet windy and unpleasant.
2. Research is key
Of course, we all lead busy lifestyles and it’s difficult to find time to do just about anything. But we all have access to Google on our phones, and a little research before your trip will go a long way. Especially in a huge, diverse city like Berlin.
I would check:
The main tourist spots to visit (and how to get there, the Berlin public transport system is just as confusing as the London one, except every mode of transport is exceptionally punctual).
This research will be vital, the city of Berlin is rather huge and has many central sections (much like London). When you have limited time the last thing you want is to waste time going round in circles.
3. Dress sense
You will notice, pretty much as soon as you land in Germany that there is a feeling of conservativeness. To avoid awkward amounts of staring I would suggest the appropriate dress to be casual / smart. If you go around autumn / winter time it’s also blisteringly cold, so you won’t be able to dress up anyhow. I would suggest the good ole trusty ‘nice top and jeans’. A warm coat, a scarf and an umbrella. (Of course I had none of these).
4. Food is life
- Typically German people drink sparkling water as a rule, always check your water is still if you purchase bottles from shops (assuming you don’t like sparkling)
- Germans have a random obsession with marzipan so if you don’t like it, be careful when ordering cakes from bakeries. Sometimes it’s even hidden underneath icing. They get it in every nook and cranny
- If you usually drink Diet Coke, they have Coke Light which is practically the same thing, no need to panic
- If you ask in store for chips, you will be handed crisps. Chips are pomme frites (just like the French equivalent)
Food is life, I thought anyone would need to know these helpful tips.
And on that note I would like to say that I found Berlin to be absolutely enchanting; there is a huge amount of historical context to be explored. Architecture and art to be viewed, and wonderfully tasty (and fatty) food to be consumed. Enjoy, auf Wiedersehen.