Matt and I had wanted to visit Berlin for quite a while now so this was a perfect opportunity… ya know, while we were swinging round that way!!
In a tiny period of decent internet access (grrr, this is getting annoying!) we discovered another WomoOase stellplatz in the North part of the city so that’s where we headed! For 30 a night it’s the cheapest way to see a big city – we went straight in for 4 nights, no messin’ and we ended up staying for 5 🙂 We were pretty excited about being back in a big city even though we were pretty pleased to be leaving our own. Hoping to experience some of the culture, buzz and edginess that’s supposed to everywhere (even with kids in tow). It also turns out that we were missing wandering around shops and MAYBE buying stuff! Its been about 4 months since we bought anything (apart from a huge motorhome obvs) and its so nice that this whole process made us sort out everything and give away or sell what we didn’t need. So not buying new things is part of that too, but the lure of “cool” shops was getting a bit much 🙂 Also we had discovered that our friends were in the city at the same time as us and could meet up, Woop!
Our first day was an unplanned wander from the main square Alexanderplatz. We pretty much wandered all day but felt that we never really found anything great. We ticked off a couple of big sights – Berliner Dom, the river, Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten, etc, but we never quite found the “nice” centre you often find in big cities and sometimes it felt a bit rough. It’s not a pretty place but I think the charm is in the people, vibe and history and that takes a while to come through. Anyway, we managed to hook up with the Marchevski’s at Potsdammer platz and hoped to get a drink/dinner but the kids were over tired and we decided to just get the train back after only a half hour catch up.
Day 2 was absolutely lovely. We went a couple of stops on the U-bahn to a local kinder museum recommended by our friends. It was a very simple space with an area for some crafts and a big wooden climbing maze. We just hung out there until lunchtime then headed to the other end of the city to Tempelhofer Feld where we had arranged to meet Marko, Elena, Angelina, and Marina. We walked right across the huge airfield which is now an amazing public park – people rollerskating and cycling and even kite boarding up the disused runway! Deck Chairs, bar, kids playing in the shade… perfect! Then they (and their other friends who were also there) took us to a fab Turkish restaurant in Kruezburg. This was awesome as we’d been a bit lacking in other world foods and veggie options! This felt like the buzzy city vibe in a lovely part of town. Saw some fab shops but couldn’t stop – Nooooooo! Then we went to a gorgeous playground just behind the street we ate in and sat in the evening sunshine while the kids played in water and sand. Excellent. Another late night train ride home and very tired.
Day 3 we took it easier and walked from the van to Bernauer Straße where the Berlin Wall memorial park is. We had a lovely wander until we were rained off. After a hot chocolate stop we went back to the van to have a lazy afternoon. Matt was then able to go out for a city cycle to a shop he’d earmarked (turns out he’s the biggest shopper in the family!) and grab a beer at the beer festival that was happening! He came back very happy and with the Ortlieb pannier that I really wanted! Yay – a souvenir!
On our last full day we decided to split as Matt really wanted to explore some of the more serious museums and sights. I’d like to think I sacrificed myself as I took the kids to the zoo! It was pretty fun, for a zoo, and we got to see the hippos swimming, and a panda. Yep a panda! I met Matt early evening back where we started our first day, in Alexander Platz, for some food and a trip up the Berlin tower. There was a great street food market on and we sat soaking up the atmosphere with our quesadillas, gnocchi and chips. Then off up the tower – which was a struggle as we were all feeling weary, especially Anna who was getting rather difficult to manage. Those of you who know, know! The tower was great and kinda finished off the trip nicely as you could see everywhere we’d been, and also how different the East and West Berlin sides looked. Fascinating. We cant really go out for late night drinks etc with the kids so we completely miss that part of what makes a city great, but Berlin is definitely geared up for kids. Germany generally has brilliant spaces for children even when you don’t expect there to be any.
I know Matt has a lot to say on this subject so watch this space! We packed in a lot into those 4 days and the kids really loved it. They loved the trains and got a huge amount from seeing new things. They’ve talked about it on and off for a while after, which is great. For me it was a slow burn and I said a sad goodbye to our WomoOase feeling like I was only just getting it. I still never managed to do any shopping, but thats just aswell! Right… lets go South!