Art, Berlin, Fashion, Food & Drink, Travel
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Berlin: First Impressions

I’ve lived in Berlin for six days now, and I’m pleased to say that the uncomfortable flight was absolutely worth it.

Wow Airlines is truly something else. The price point in unbeatable, and now I know why
With a total of six checked bags at $70 each, we spent an additional $420 on luggage. Although, shipping boxes to Germany is twenty times that, so while I complain, Wow still was the most affordable option.

Being a budget airline, the flight was as expected — bearable, but pushing it. Thankfully customs, as well as the layover in Iceland, were completely seamless — Boston to Berlin in 10.5 hours.

Our temporary sublet is in Wedding, a neighborhood just northwest of Berlin’s geographical center. The vastness of Berlin is incredible — it’s about 20 miles (32 km) across — so it’s inevitable that you’ll use public transpo regularly, regardless how central the neighborhood.

Since we arrived six days ago, it’s been non-stop go. Berlin is a fantastic city and I just can’t get enough of it. Much of the past week has been spent wandering the different neighborhoods (and getting ridiculously lost on the U-Bahn while Max is at work) and popping into intriguing cafes and shops. My first impressions of Berlin are lovely, and here are a few highlights from my adventures thus far.

1. Running in Wedding
Our apartment is right off the U6 Seestraße stop, which has proven to be a perfect location for running. The first morning here I did an amazing one hour route that started in Volkspark Rehberge park and continued down an adjacent canal that flows into the Spree river.

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2. Shopping around Hackescher  Markt and Alexanderplatz
Berlin may not have an Aritzia (my favorite store clothing store of all time), but they sure have everything else, and then some. Serious competition for NYC. One great store I’d never heard of before is Weekday. The clothing is modern, minimal, affordable, and influenced by Scandinavian street style. Stopped in for a look-see, walked out with a solid haul.

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3. Grocery shopping literally everywhere
It’s so inexpensive and sooo entertaining. Products I’ve never heard of, flavors I’ve never dreamed of, and bottles of prosecco for €1.99. €1.99! There are ErdnussflipsClub-Mate, Spezi, Fuchs, ketchup flavored potato chips, and wieners everywhere.

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What Germans think of Americans

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4. Drinking in public
Just as it sounds, but it’s legal here!

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Eerie evening

5. Bikram in Mitte
Finding a good Bikram studio in Berlin was at the top of my list. I found just one studio that’s exclusively Bikram, and it’s perfect. Bikram Yoga Mitte is a beautiful studio with excellent teachers and overall a really great vibe. The classes are taught in German, so it’s a nice learning experience, as well. Plus, the world’s only Ramones museum (that doubles as a cafe/bar) is on the first floor of the building.

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6. Matcha lattes in Neuköln
A good matcha shop was another priority, and I was lucky enough to find the perfect one on my first try. Macha Macha is the sweetest and most authentic matcha shop with various drinks and matcha flavored desserts. The tea is freshly prepared and brewed in front of you, and the results are outstanding. I do love my Cha Cha Matcha, but Macha Macha makes the best matcha latte I’ve ever had. It’s a must-try, even if you’re not a matcha fan.

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Heaven

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Matcha cheese cake and brew of the day

7. Graphic design art festival and party in Friedrichshain
Berlin Graphics Days is an art exhibition featuring Berlin’s best graphic artists, with live music, a bar, food trucks, and fire pits. I had a fantastic time and walked away with a buzz and a cool print of Berlin.

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8. An exclusively vegan grocery store chain
Veganz has everything and anything vegan. It’s amazing and beautiful and I love it. Bonus points for kombucha and matcha lattes.

9. Cool bars in Moabit
Thursday night we met up with a group of Max’s friends (some familiar, some new) in Moabit, the neighborhood just south of Wedding. The first couple rounds were had at a cute bar and restaurant, Dicker Engel (transl. Fat Angel). It’s a quaint spot with a giant angel in the middle of the bar, and traditional German dishes. Next was Tirree, a super hip cafe bar with an extensive drink list and funky decor.

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10. Cute spots in our new hood
After a very late night, lazy Sunday was a very real thing today. We finally forced ourselves to leave the apartment around 4pm, and it paid off. We walked around Schiller park, a park just down the street from us, and then found Flop Cafe, a tiny vegetarian cafe with middle eastern plates, bowls, wraps, and coffee drinks. The falafels were the best I’ve ever tried, and Max made me try the famous Club-Mate — now that was more of an acquired taste. On our way home we stopped for a drink at Frederick’s, the cafe bar on our corner. The atmosphere is really warm, and with all of the different sofas and art, the space feels like a vintage-style living room. We’ll definitely frequent this  spot for drinks.

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Falafel and hummus plate at Flop Cafe

11. Hosting dinner at our new apartment
Of all the Berlin wonders, the greatest is the company. Saturday night we had friends over for dinner, drinks, and a couple sloppy games. I am continuously impressed with all of Max’s friends. Everyone that I’ve met is kind, funny, generous, and down for a good time. I feel comfortable and welcome in a city that is still very foreign to me. And it’s a really good feeling.

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Our block North

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Our block South

German lessons start tomorrow…goodnight!

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