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!
It’s weeks since I posted about my trip to Chicago and I intended to follow it up with a post about the rest of the holiday, so, here it is! Chicago was definitely the full on part of the trip, so having the most relaxing few days ever in Cape Cod and Boston afterwards was just lovely. I have always wanted to visit New England. The trip left me yearning to spend a few weeks there, ideally in October. I’d love to just do some travelling up the coast when all of the leaves are changing colour and it’s not very busy.
We flew in to Boston on a sunny Friday afternoon and had a couple of hours spare before heading to Cape Cod for the weekend. We popped in to the Society of Arts and Crafts, and had a lovely chat with Carrie and George who were working there. I couldn’t believe it when I saw my wooden coastal postcards (in collaboration with Timbergram) on sale.
We then boarded the fast ferry and headed to Provincetown for the weekend. The ferry was a great way of getting to P-Town and I’d recommend it to anyone heading to ‘The Cape’. The sun was just beginning to go down as we reached the port, and the view from the boat was lovely!
We stayed at the Gaslamp B&B which is highly rated online and it didn’t disappoint. The hosts were incredibly friendly and made amazing breakfasts. These were served in their private garden and we were able to use the hot tub at our leisure. The other guests were so friendly and we spent Saturday afternoon socialising in the sun with them. I have never been to a town that is so lively, yet feels so relaxing to be in. We walked, hired bikes, sunbathed/napped on the beach, climbed the Pilgrim Monument, shopped and of course ate a lot!
My food highlights were ice cream from Happy Camper (so good we went twice in one day), and our evening meal at the Lobster Pot. This is a famous restaurant situated right on the edge of the beach in the centre of town. Despite growing up by the sea, I cannot stand the taste of seafood. So, I opted for a chicken and veg dish, that was absolutely cooked to perfection.
On Monday morning we boarded the ferry and headed back to Boston for the final two days of the trip. We walked part of the Freedom trail before getting distracted by food and tasty Downeast cider at Quincy Market.
The next day we headed to Harvard and I’d really recommend the guided tour. This was particularly topical for me, as I’ve recently become obsessed with the US tv series Suits. We naturally had lunch at Pinnocio’s pizzeria and wandered the campus of this world famous university.
It was also great to wander around Charlestown. This is a district of the city that I was familiar with because of the movie The Town. I loved looking at the colourful wooden houses. The weather was great so we wandered back over the bridge to Quincy Market and enjoyed another fantastic lunch, washed down by more cider!
The food highlight in Boston for me was breakfast at The Friendly Toast, which was conveniently a stones throw from our hotel in Back Bay. I had coconut pancakes (twice), topped with chopped nuts, whipped cream and chocolate chips. It was delicious! We had to wait for a table but it was really worth it, and the service was great.
It’s never nice when a holiday ends but I felt particularly sad to be heading home this time. A few days of soaking up the sun, eating and drinking was exactly what I needed. I’m now working hard on new designs to launch in 2018. Watch this space for those coming soon!
I got back from my summer holiday just over two weeks ago. It was a mixture of full on sightseeing in Chicago, followed by three of the genuinely most relaxing days of my life. These were spent on Cape Cod, and then three more days in Boston. My friend and I had both been harbouring a desire to visit one of America’s largest cities for some time, and I am so glad we did.
We stayed in a hotel overlooking Millennium park, home to ‘The Bean’ (formally known as Cloud Gate). The park is in the east of the city and is right next to the shores of Lake Michigan. This was an excellent base point as it was right near to the loop train. This made it easy to access any area of the city that we wanted to visit. We did a lot of walking on our first day, which included The 606 – a 2.7 mile trail designed for walkers and cyclists alike. It is elevated from traffic and gives a lovely view out across the neighbourhood. It is similar to the Highline in New York, which I wrote about here.
Chicago From Above
We rounded off the day with a trip up the 108 storey building Willis Tower. The viewing area which is open to the public is on the 103rd floor, but a super quick lift means you get there in no time at all. It is the second tallest building in the USA, and offers incredible views across the city. The landscape is so flat and you can see for miles and miles. We went just before sunset. It was great to see the city lighting up as the sun went down, and it was the perfect end to the day.
The view from Willis Tower
One area that I would recommend to anybody to visit whilst in Chicago is Andersonville. This district in the north of the city (nearest Metro stop is Berwyn) is an old Swedish settlement. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and drink. We had lunch at Hopleaf, a bar with a Belgian inspired menu and plenty of beers on offer. There was a delightful stationery store and framers called Four Sided where we both bought ourselves some souvenirs.
We spent the next couple of days wandering the Old Town, watching fireworks at Navy Pier (Wednesday’s and Saturday’s in summer) and eating lots of food. The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra played in Millennium Park one clear warm evening, which was a lovely unexpected treat.
Jazz in Millennium Park
The highlight of Chicago for me was the architecture boat cruise which is run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. A docent volunteer leads the tour and our guide was incredibly knowledgable. We opted for a twilight cruise so by the time the hour and a half was up, it was dark and the tall buildings lit up the sky. The particular tour is listed in the top 10 on TripAdvisor in the whole of the USA!
More Places to Dine..
No visit to Chicago is apparently complete without sampling a deep dish pizza. Lou Malnati’s was our pizzeria of choice and it didn’t disappoint. A simple margarita with a pepperoni topping was delicious and I wish we’d had time for more!
Other food highlights included a waffle breakfast at Eleven City Diner on Wabash Avenue and the liquid chocolate drink at Goddess and the Baker which has three locations across the city, including Wabash Ave.
Goddess and the Baker cake and biscuits. My friend bought the birthday one despite her birthday being in March.Apparently it was tasty!
Eleven City Diner.
Thank you Chicago (and my friend), for a wonderful 4 days in ‘the windy city’.