We took the afternoon train to Berlin, which was roughly a 4 hour train ride from Recklinghausen. We were able to secure an apartment via Airbnb just the night before. We stayed in an area recommended to us by Laura’s husband, as it was in a very central location, very accessible by public transportation, and had plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
That evening, we explored the streets of Berlin with beers in hand, and without judgment from passerbys as they were doing the same thing. Yes, the great thing about Germany is that you can drink on the streets, beer is very cheap, and it can be found at just about every convenience store.
For dinner, since we were pretty tired from the train ride, we decided to stay nearby and we found a well reviewed restaurant on Yelp called Maria Bonita. Mexican food, eh? This was interesting, but it was comforting to see that this restaurant was staffed by Mexicans. We ordered tacos, quesadillas, guacamole, and washed it all down with refreshing margaritas. This place was actually surprisingly decent.
Several people recommended that we check out Augustiner am Gendarmenmarkt, and we’re sure glad that we did! Nearly everything on their menu was pork-based. We enjoyed our self-induced meat coma and washed it all down with a selection of house Augustiner beers.
Above: Nuremberg sausages with white cabbage
Left: pork sausage soup; Right: apple strudel
Hofbrau Munchen was another restaurant that we checked out. It was the size of a large college cafeteria, with communal seating and benches. There was a live band playing German folk music, and a dance floor for those who want to work off their meals. You could tell there were a lot of tourists there too.
Hofbrau Munchen had an amazing schnitzel dish served with scalloped cucumber/potato salad (above). Rick ordered the roast beef, which was served with cabbage and potato dumplings.
The Brandenburg Gate is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century as a neoclassical triumphal arch, and now one of the most well-known landmarks of Germany.
Yes, that’s Predator, Super Mario, Luigi, and a US and German soldier posting with a Chinese tourist. There was a breakdancing crew performance as well. Quite random indeed. Checkpoint Charlie (or “Checkpoint C”) was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.
The Berlin Wall separated East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989 and was one of the most important symbols of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall has long since disappeared from reunified Berlin. Memories of the Wall, however, are still very much alive, with some parts still entirely preserved today. Don’t worry if you don’t get to see the wall, because you can find fragments of the Berlin Wall at every souvenir shop in the city.
The Pergamon Museum is the most visited art museum in Germany, and is situated on the Museum Island in Berlin. The Pergamon houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus (seen below). The museum is subdivided into the antiquity collection, the Middle East museum, and the museum of Islamic art.
The Market Gate of Miletus (Above). In the early 1900s, it was excavated, rebuilt, placed on display in the museum, and has been undergoing restoration over the span of the past several decades.
Berlin is definitely a city that’s rich with an abundance of culture, art, history, and good food. We would consider coming back here again. The coolest thing that we saw there was the bar on wheels that we saw pedal right by us. Obviously this is a country that has their stuff figured out.