Four things that blew my mind in Berlin

berlin beach bar

The beach bars
Berlin might not have an ocean, but it DOES have a river. And along that river are a handful of beach bars, complete with sand, hammocks, and recliners โ€“ perfect for chilling out with a cold bevvie for an hour or so in the middle of the day. Ingenious.

The glass
Overall, I found Germany to to be surprisingly environmentally conscious. Everything gets separated out for recycling, and almost all the bottles are made out of glass. Apparently they’re very conscious about PET plastic here. Drinking outdoors (e.g. at one of these rocking beach bars)? You’re probably going to get charged 2 euros as a deposit, which you get refunded when you return your bottle to the bar/counter.

(Related: I can’t remember the last time I saw a sipper bottle on this continent. Even the water bottles/sports drinks all come in flat screw top lids, which is so very different from home.)

graffiti murals berlin
The art
According to T, I have a talent for finding us accommodation in the โ€œghettoโ€. We stayed in the east for a few days, not far from East Side Gallery, where graffiti is rampant and the streets are, well, gritty. Whatever. The street art here is unreal. As for the remains of the Berlin Wall, they weren’t as physically tall as I expected, but the murals were every bit as vibrant and emotional as I could have imagined.

Over the Oberbaum bridge, you might spot a freaky pink man creeping up the side of a building โ€“ but look closer, and you’ll see he’s made up of countless small skeletons. Or, a little further along, a man in handcuffs, which upon a second look, are actually golden watches. Now that’s dark.

The gardens
As our awesome Hospitality Club host in Berlin explained, a lot of apartment-dwellers (like him and his girlfriend) rent gardens so they can create a little oasis for themselves. There are little garden communities all over, where tenants can landscape their patch, build little houses, and get away from the hustle and bustle. For all that, though, there are plenty of regulations. You have to dedicate a certain amount of your land to growing fruit/vegetables, and you can’t live in your little house on a permanent basis. It’s strictly a part-time kind of thing.

This COMPLETELY blew my mind; gardens and backyards are something we definitely take for granted in New Zealand. /shameface


12 thoughts on “Four things that blew my mind in Berlin

  • Reply Charlie July 31, 2013 at 11:19

    Ah, sounds so amazing! I’ve always wanted to visit Berlin, in fact, I’m actually hoping to move there soon. You’re post has just made me even more excited about the prospect! It seems like such a vibrant city.

  • Reply krantcents July 31, 2013 at 12:07

    This is one of the benefits of traveling internationally. You learn about new things and you will probably incorporate some of the good things in your own life.

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies July 31, 2013 at 13:04

    Outside in the suburbs more people have nice lush gardens and grow a lot of produce in them. I spent some time in Potsdam many years ago and the house I stayed in had such a perfect garden in the backyard and grew the most amazing fresh asparagus (sorry… spargel! mmmm…)
    If you make it to the outskirts of town, I highly recommend Potsdam and Sans Souci (oh the gardens there are insane!) and the location where the Potsdam conference (closure of WWII) was held. (I’m forgetting the name, but locals should be able to point you in the right direction.) Just some amazing history!

  • Reply Ati Aziz July 31, 2013 at 15:11

    I loved Berlin when I went there for work in 2011. The city has so many good qualities without being pretentious/arrogant about it.

    I am definitely planning to visit again soon!

  • Reply Thomas August 2, 2013 at 08:38

    I really like that they use glass for everything. Makes it easier on the land. Never been to Berlin but this is just another place I would love for the family to go.

  • Reply Pauline @ Make Money Your Way August 2, 2013 at 13:47

    So Hospitality Club still works haha I don’t remember the last time I logged in, maybe 3-4 years and it seemed dying, but Germany is probably the best place to use it since it started there. You’ll find sipper bottles in the UK ๐Ÿ™‚ this is something I had never paid attention too!

    • Reply eemusings August 3, 2013 at 22:01

      Honestly, I think the ratio of responses I got in European countries through HC has been about equal to the ratio of responses I got through Couchsurfing. Didn’t realise it started in Germany! How interesting.

  • Reply Jennifer August 6, 2013 at 19:22

    Berlin sounds great. It must have been a surprise to find all the beach bars!!

  • Reply Marissa @ Finance Triggers August 13, 2013 at 14:32

    Berlin is really a city you’ll see on every traveler’s places-to-visit/visited-places list.

  • Reply Marissa @ Thirty Six Months August 13, 2013 at 14:59

    More pictures please! Ha! Sorry I can’t help it!

  • Reply Berlin on a budget: Four free/cheap things to do | NZ Muse April 28, 2014 at 18:52

    […] none of those things (like me), odds are you’re still going to fall in love with this colourful, vibrant city. We got to experience two sides of it during our visit – the quiet suburban neighbourhood, […]

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