Saturday, 14 December 2013

Berlin (Travelling Alone)

A couple of months ago when I thought I had money and the #Year31Project was still but a twinkle in my eye. Easyjet had a sale. In said sale I bought return tickets to Berlin for £55. Bargain of the century month!

The idea behind going to Berlin as part of the #Year31Project was that I had never travelled on my own before. I felt like that was something I needed to put right!

Ok so maybe I cheated slightly or wimped out a little. Going to Berlin on my own for 3 days at the age of 30. Big deal! It isn't exactly the same as going to India alone for a month when you're 17. But you've got to start somewhere right? And in my book there's no shame in starting small.

So on Monday 2nd December 2014 I caught a train from London Liverpool Street and headed for Southend Airport (the smallest and least airport like of the "London" airports).

& 6 hours of travelling, waiting and queuing later, I was finally in Berlin.

An amazing City full of fascinating history but also with a huge reputation for a "happening" City full of contemporary art and culture. Unfortunately, I was only really there for two and a bit days - which is nowhere near enough time to spend in a City as big and wonderful as Berlin - so I decided to concentrate on doing the tourist thing and see all the main sights.

In the short time that I was there I managed to see the:


Brandenburg Gate

Holocaust Memorial

Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted under Nazism

Memorial to the Murdered Sinti and Roma in Nazi Europe

Wall Memorial

There were a lot of memorials!

And what struck me was that until visiting Berlin I never knew about the Nazis persecution of homosexuals and Gypsies. It was really shocking to hear that 15,000 homosexuals and anywhere between 220,000 and 500,000 Gypsies were killed by the Nazis and that I knew nothing of it. Ok so I didn't do History in school past year 9. However, we all know about the Jewish Holocaust - and of course we should do after all it is estimated that around 6 million Jewish people lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis - but why isn't it common knowledge that the Nazis also killed up to 5 million other people including trying to wipe out the whole of the Roma and Sinti people?

While I was in Berlin I also spend hours reading compelling facts about the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Museum (unfortunately I don't have any photographs from here). Before my trip I knew very little about the Berlin Wall or the events surrounding it's construction and destruction. & although it has become a bit of a new obsession of mine, I have to confess that I still know very little and that I am really struggling to understand why it was allowed to stand for so long or in fact why it was allowed to be built at all in the first place.

I also visited:

Checkpoint Charlie

& the
Eastside Gallery

As well as seeing all the tourist sights, there was (surprisingly) also some time to do and see some of my favourite things.

I'm a big fan of street art - when it's done properly - and there was lots to see in Berlin. This is one of my favourite pieces (from this cool little area close to Warschauer Stresse U-Bahn station).

I also LOVE Photoautomats!!!
(I want to bring them to London).

And although they tend to be a lot more fun when you're with other people. Being on my own - and the fact it had a 20 foot plus drop below it - couldn't stop me from taking some (extremely bad) pictures.

There was of course also time to taste the local food.

If you go to Berlin I would definitely recommend visiting 'Mustafa's Gemuse Kebap'. That Kebab was so good. One of the best, if not the best Kebab I've ever had! & I know what some of you are thinking, but Berlin - also unknown to me before my visit - has a large Turkish population!

Mustafa's is just outside of the Mehingdamm U-Bahn station (there are also lots of nice shops and cafes on the nearby Bergmannstresse). There will probably be a bit of a queue - especially if like me you very cleverly go at lunch time - but it will be well worth the wait. & although I am more than a little obsessed with Shish Kebabs and Souvlaki's. This kebab was another first for me as it was the first time I had ever eaten a Doner Kebab.

I also made sure to try a bit of German sausage while I was there. I bought a Bratwurst from a Christmas Market but I don't have any photographic evidence and to be honest it wasn't very good. I definitely think I could have found a better one if I'd tried (& probably not very hard)!

There was even a small amount of time to sit in a nice little cafe eating falafel, drinking - the really nice thick - hot chocolate - that you don't get in London - and writing some poetry based on my Berlin experience.

When it comes to travelling alone: although there were certainly times - when I was in a museum and read something fascinating or stood with my hand on the actual Berlin Wall - when I wanted to turn to a friend/girlfriend/etc and talk about how amazing it was (or otherwise).  I have no doubt that I will be travelling further and for longer in the future and no matter what, I will never let not having someone to travel with stop me from visiting exciting new places (as it has in the past).

All in all I had a really great trip. I love Berlin and I definitely want to go back at some point. For longer and probably when it's a little bit warmer next time. It tends to get quite cold in December!


  1. Where to next? Traveling alone is the honorary number 31 on my '30 Before end of 2014 List'!

    1. Excellent. I hope you do it. And I really need to travel outside of Europe - as I've never done it before! I'm thinking maybe Marrakech?

  2. They will also be able to answer any questions you have. They are a travel agency, so you can probably guarantee that they know about Berlin and what they have there. Labyrintoom Berlin