I visited Berlin earlier this month for a bit of sightseeing with my boyfriend. This is the third time I have visited the German capital, but the first time I have had chance to properly wander the city. We had two nights and three days there, but would have happily spent another day or two as there is so much to see and do!
Berlin feels pretty big, so we bought daily travel cards and used a lot of public transport to navigate the city. We stayed right near Hauptbahnhof station which was really convenient for getting around. The weather was pretty poor when we first arrived, so after ducking in to a few shops, we emerged from TK Maxx with umbrellas and then headed to the Berlin Fernsehturm (TV Tower) for lunch. On a clear day, the views from the observation deck and restaurant are spectacular. We had partial views due to fog, but the longer we stayed up there, the clearer the sky got! You can just visit the observation deck, but we opted to pre-book a window table for lunch in the restaurant that rotates, giving you a 360 degree view of the city as you dine. Once the sky cleared a bit, colourful houses were revealed, as shown on the image below.
Berlin certainly did not disappoint on the food front. We headed to Markethalle Neun for food on Thursday evening – which is the night for a once weekly gourmet food market. I left full of fresh pasta, cookies and ice cream, and would definitely recommend a visit to anyone in the city on a Thursday! We then went to Mano Cafe, a cosy independent bar nearby. Time your visit right and you might be able to take control of the private little seating area accessed via a step ladder, allowing you to look down across the bar.
Another food highlight for me was brunch at Kauf Dich Gluklich. I first had their cheeseboard back in 2017 when I visited for new year, and I knew that I needed to have it again at some point! For approx 9 euros you get a plate full of cheese, avocado, pineapple and olives, accompanied by delicious bread. I would also recommend Father Carpenter which is located in Berlin’s Mitte district. I had a delicious vegan banana bread with whipped peanut butter and a chia and raspberry jam. Yum!
As animal lovers my boyfriend and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at the Berlin Zoo – which is the largest and oldest zoo in Germany! There is also an Aquarium on site, which can be visited if separate tickets are bought and there are insect and reptile houses too.
I had read about Monkey Bar at the Top of the 25Hours hotel so after seeing all of the animals on the ground, we sat with a drink in hand in this tenth floor bar, looking down in to the Monkey houses at the zoo.
We did lots of walking during our stay, stopping by landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag building, as well as the East Side Gallery (pictured below).
We flew home from Tegel airport, which is closer to the city than Schönefeld is (the airport I’ve used previously), and we got a bus there using our travel cards, making it super easy. I hope you have a wonderful time if you’re planning a visit to Berlin in the future!
I spent the Easter weekend in Amsterdam with friends and we were lucky to have some glorious weather! I have visited this Dutch city a few times now, but this is the first time I’ve had chance to relax and really wander around the streets that line the canals. An early morning run on Easter Sunday was lovely, as there was very little hustle and bustle at 8:30am, meaning I got chance to take some photos with the city looking peaceful.
To counteract the exercise, we ate a lot of delicious food! My favourite meals out on the trip are included below. We also had a delicious lamb roast home cooked by the friends I was staying with on Easter Sunday, accompanied by plenty of desserts!
Clockwise from left:
Greenwoods for breakfast.
By Lima goats cheese, tomato and walnut sandwich (in Haarlem).
This breakfast from Bakers & Roasters is in my top 3 of all time, and is certainly somewhere I will be going back to if I get the chance.
Winkel 43, famous for apple pie! I went there twice during our visit!
I spent a few hours in Haarlem, which is a few minutes away on the train. There are shops, cafes and some lovely little streets to wander around, making for a nice location for a day trip if you want to leave Amsterdam for a few hours.
I finally wanted to mention is the fun brand Tony’s Chocolonely. This brand is committed to producing 100% slave free chocolate, which believe it or not, is an anomaly in the chocolate world. Their flagship store is conveniently a stones throw from my friends apartment in Amsterdam so I stopped by a couple of times to pick up treats to bring home from my visit. I have had this chocolate a few times, and it is now stocked in some shops in the UK, including Sainsbury’s, which is great news! There are now lots of flavours to choose from, from simple milk to dark pretzel toffee. My new favourite is caramel shortbread. There are free samples of all flavours in the shop, to help you decide what to buy!
I published a blog post last week about the work side of my trip to New York, so I thought I would write one about some of my personal highlights from the trip. Despite being in the city for work, we did get some time to sightsee, shop and eat in some lovely places.
We spent 6 nights at the Row Hotel which is on 8th Ave between 44th and 45th Street. This was really handy for a morning walk to the Javits Center for the exhibition. Although small, the room was very clean, with a good shower and comfy bed so I wouldn’t hesitate to book a room there again. That said, there are so many places to stay in NYC, it would seem wrong not to stay at different accommodation next time! City Kitchen was joined on to the hotel, which became our go to breakfast spot. It has a laid back vibe with numerous vendors, each offering tasty food. We enjoyed pancakes, waffles, pastries and donuts during our time there, all of which set us up nicely for busy days in the city.
We were lucky to have some fantastic weather whilst we were there, which made it great just for wandering around. I spend a lot of time sat at my studio desk, so it was nice to get out and about, doing lots of walking whilst taking in the sights.
One of my favourite bits of the trip was walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was my third time in NYC, but I hadn’t had chance to do this previously. We took the Subway to Brooklyn and joined hundreds of other walkers and cyclists and walked over this iconic bridge. The rest of the day was spent meandering all of the way back up to our hotel on 45th. We stopped off on the way for cake, wine in Union Square and food at delightful restaurant Boqueria (more info on that below).
The High Line is one of my favourite walks to do when in New York. It’s a 1.45 mile long elevated path, built on a disused railway line. It begins at Gansevoort Street and runs up to West 34th Street. It’s a really popular walk for locals and visitors alike, giving a unique perspective of the city, being elevated away from the traffic, but not too high that you can’t take in the sights the city has to offer.
I thought I’d include a list of a few of the places we ate, drank and shopped at whilst in New York. There’s so many more places I’d like to go, but I’ll have to save them for next time!
Shopping in New York
Shopping is never at the forefront of my mind when I’m away on trips, but there were a few outlets that we couldn’t resist visiting!
Anthropologie – beautiful fashion and jewellery, but the main attraction for me are their gorgeous homewares.
Fishs Eddy – just on the corner of 19th Street and Broadway. This store sells illustrative and quirky ceramics, glass and textiles for the kitchen. Reasonable prices.
Marimekko – right near the Flatiron building. Shop for fashion at homewares at this iconic Scandinavian brands NYC flagship store.
Papersource – contemporary greeting cards (including some of mine!), stationery and some gifts. Papersource can be found at many locations across the city.
Chelsea Market – largely food with some other outlets including Posman books and Anthropologie.
My card in Papersource.
Eating & Drinking
Tick Tock Diner – big portions and fast service – available 24/7! I’ve eaten here a few times before, and it’s part of the New Yorker hotel. I would love to stay there one day.
Rosa Mexicano – Mexican food with ridiculously more-ish guacamole and tasty cocktails. I’ve eaten here many times now. Rosa Mexicano is a chain restaurant but with an independent vibe, and it never disappoints.
Boqueria – a real highlight. We went to their 19th Street location, but they have 4 restaurants across the city. We had their Parrillada mixed grill, which I’d highly recommend. It’s a large portion and intended to be shared!
The Park Chelsea – good food to be enjoyed in an eclectically decorated interior. It has a glassed in patio and a rooftop garden that overlooks the High Line.
Bobby Van’s – recommended to us by a local and was right near the hotel (45th between 6th and 7th Ave). However, they have locations across the city. We enjoyed sitting at the bar for a post Surtex wine.
With so much going on before I flew out to New York, there wasn’t much time to research places to go before I went. I look forward to exploring more of what the city has to offer in terms of food and drink next time! After a brilliant six days, I felt a bit sad to be heading home. I was so focused on getting everything prepared, it seemed like quite a big build up. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to visit ‘The Big Apple’, which hopefully won’t be too far away!