Quick trip to Berlin
By a stroke of luck, we had picked one of the most vibrant times to visit Berlin. I was part of a group of 11 over for our friends stag do a last weekend of drinking and silliness before he tied the knot for good. We landed as Germany kicked off against Ukraine in the Euro 2012 semi finals. I had heard from a friend that the Germans take their football seriously and i should head down to the fan mile (The wide road connecting the Brandenburg Gate to the Grosse Stern monument) to see the match as it turned out i would be joined by half a million German football supporters.
The Fan Mile in Berlin: We were perhaps 100m or more from the front!
The scale of the operation was impressive the entire street was lined with beer stalls, big screens and football fans. Luckily for us, the German team won by an impressive three goal margin, which really raised the mood of the locals.
We were staying in the Main station hostel a short cab ride from the main centre of town on Quitzowstraße. A little awkward to get to, but with close proximity to the S-bahn ( the overground train system ), we were able to navigate quickly around town on the circle line towards the trendier east side of town.
We didn’t try to get in to Berghain, Watergate, Panorama Bar or any of the bigger techno clubs as we were unlikely to get in, especially with a stag in tow dressed like a rag doll:
This was ok we didn’t really expect to be going to any proper clubs anyway, so we just went with the flow and ended up in mainly touristy bars and clubs around town.
One non drink-related highlight was a trip on the Saturday to a popular burger joint called The Bird. The menu was pretty simple steaks or burgers made from minced steak. Naturally, I went for the burger.
Cooked to a mouth-watering medium-rare and sandwiched between two toasted muffins, with a mountain of chips, the feast was a great start to a long evening of drinking with the stag. We bumped into a waitress, who was from Yorkshire in the U.K she seemed to enjoy the thriving, trendy restaurant she found herself working in.
One thing that struck me about the city was the space between objects, buildings, people. I didn’t once feel like i was in a crowded city. Despite being around on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, not once did i feel cramped like i do in London where even a bus ride can turn into a scrum to get on before the seats are all taken.
The culture differences seen here are very clear Berliners seem very cool, relaxed people and even tolerated a group of 11 annoying Englishmen. Not once did we feel unwelcome.
Due to our stag-do antics, I felt like a tourist for the weekend but i was okay with that. Berlin worked perfectly for the occasion and i cant wait to go back to see what it is really like perhaps without the rag doll in tow.