When I go travelling I usually have a daily budget in my head, but I don’t always manage to stick to it. I like to look back and think of travel expenses I could have avoided if I had. Today I am sharing my Berlin mistakes.
Travel ticket – I wanted a 7 days ticket, but you can only buy those at U Bahn Stations and there were none near where I was. So I had to spend €1.70 to get to one way.
Day card – I also spent €6.90 on a day ticket and ended up just taking 4 trams. The weather changed – and so did my plans.
Water – A lot of stores sell ‘still’ mineral water when it in fact still has some bubbles/fizziness. This type of water just makes me thirsty so I don’t drink it. Gone forever are the 3 euros.
Tour – I have only had good things to say about all the free New Europe tours I did (when you pay what you think it’s worth at the end), so when I read Red Berlin description I thought I could give their paid tours a chance. While I thought it was going to be a look at life in communist Berlin it was more of a Berlin Wall Tour. It was bad and €10 is what I usually give at the end of the tour, but it just wasn’t what I expected.
Starbucks – I mean it wasn’t essential, but it was mere laziness. You know when you arrive at the start of the tour and decide to get a drink and something on the side so you can sit down and make use of the Wi-Fi (that for some reason never works for me). I did that and €9 faded into oblivion.
Food – Germans tend to put meat into everything and it isn’t always obvious on the packaging. When I bough a sandwich that read mozzarella and spinach on the front I did not expect to find pork in it. Since I don’t eat pork I pretty much threw away €4.50.
Pretzel – Pretzels are good, but butter pretzels are soo much better – and I don’t mind paying an one euro extra. But at a Christmas Market I was sold a normal pretzel for a butter one. There went my €1.
So, that’s just over €35 (£28 or $42) wasted.
PS – don’t skip paying on transport – I saw an unfortunate girl get caught on the train by the plain-clothes inspector and handed a €40 fine – now that’s a money mistake!
For the past few weeks I got to wander around in Berlin, learn more about the history, practice my German and go to some great (and some less great) places. Expect a few posts dedicated to my favourite things and spots.
DDR Museum – Don’t except in-depth history lesson, but rather a close up peek behind the scenes living in Germany in DRR through memorabilia and vintage style posters, video and audio. Much of this is displayed in fold out or open up drawers which works well, but means there is often a lot of annoying children drawn to them. However, for the mere 6 euros entrance fee (4 student) it was surprisingly insightful and did what all museums should do – made me want to go and learn more. Plus, it has a car simulator in an old Soviet style Trabant, which magically transports you to the streets of 1970s Berlin (perfect if you don’t want to try a Trabi tour). It might be worth booking at a less busy time.
Fast Rabbit – I am not vegetarian or vegan but the food was great and I really liked the home made fries (called a potato gangbang) and their amazing smoothies, but it was their wraps that really impressed me, they were delicious and full of flavour. And the combos make it super affordable, so if you are ever in Prenzlauer Berg you might want to check it out – You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy a meal so don’t let that scare you off, plus you’ll be drawn in by the cute bunny sign by the entrance.
Stay at Michelberger Hotel – I shared these photos earlier, but if you get the chance to book a room there do it! Michelberger is a really a typical hotel with comfortable and cute rooms. Bed, shower and wi-fi (when looking for a hotel that is what matters to me most) passed the test and get an A. One of the best things is the downstairs area where you can doze off on one of the combi couches and relax with a drink, read a book or check your social media.The location is ideal as well, minutes away from Friedrichshain with many great coffee shops,cute boutiques and restaurants, and the U+S-bahn and tram is just outside. It might be worth booking a table in advance if you want to try their restaurant as it can get booked up especially around the holidays.
Go to a supermarket – One of the joys of going abroad is checking out the supermarket and what great things they have to offer (who is with me?!). In Berlin you will see Kaisers or Netto here and there (but the bigger markets like Kaufland is what you really want) just make sure you go inside and see what they have to offer. Their Milka, Haribo, Kinder and Ritter range is much bigger than anywhere else. If your store also has a bakery go for a pretzel – with butter (though sometimes it can be a bit of a puzzle trying to find where they’ve put butter in the pretzel!).
Tea ist ein Berliner (well… for the coming 3 ½ weeks) I landed on Berlin soil and survived my first day and here are some random observations.
The seats on some trains can be a bit scary (I can imagine if you have social anxiety or something) and confusing (how close is too close?) as there’s no divider or arm rest. At first people keep space in between them, but the busier it gets the more people try to squeeze in between. What is the etiquette here?
One of my favourite past times on the London Underground is when people push buttons in the hope the door opens, but it’s automatic and it takes a few seconds before the doors open and when they don’t you will see a slight panic hit their face. I forgot that in the rest of the world you still have to press a button and I was that idiot who stood there like a spoilt London brat.
Beer on public transport after 4.35 pm is completely acceptable and not frowned upon.
Jay walking is frowned upon and just not as appreciated. People just seem to relax a bit more when it comes to public transport.
Berliners are not as stuck to their mobiles as Londoners. During the rush hour people are on their phone or Kindle/book. But here I noticed 50% less people glued to their mobiles.
Some brands labelled as ‘still’ water are just less bubbly mineral water. Not cool. Their selection of juices on the other hand are the best. Cherryjuice anyone?
So, you find museums boring? Well … have you tried these unusual museums?
Instant Ramen Museum – Osaka, Japan // A museum devoted to ramen … only in Japan. Once you are through the ramen history part make sure to make your own ramen cup with ingredients of your own choice. Not planning on heading to Japan any time soon? Check it on on Google Maps.
Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb, Croatia // The Museum of Broken Relationships hosts an intriguing collection of items related to shattered romances and the stories behind them.And yes, you can send in your own ‘exhibit‘ . What I really like about this museum is that it shows how we all share the same pain, regardless of our nationality or background.
Deutsches Currywurst Museum – Berlin, Germany // The curry sausage is one of Berlin’s culinary treats, as a matter of fact … they love it so much that they dedicated a museum to the the famed food and the legends and stories around it. Oh … and the €11 entry submission includes a sausage.
Museum Of Witchcraft – Boscastle, UK // Museum of Witchcraft a dedicated to witchcraft and Wicca. It apparently has the largest collection of witchcraft and Wiccan related relics in the world, so definitely take a visit if you are in the Cornwall area … do it for your 14 year old self.
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