Berlin is a city that approaches the tourist by forcing you to decide what you want to eat, what you want to see and who you want to do business with. You can do Berlin like a proper hippy; picking your own food and gathering produce from the parks. You can do Berlin like a hipster; shopping at local markets and pop up gallery fashion outlets. You can even do Berlin like a Berliner- avoiding hipsters at all cost.
With so many options I found myself lost in Berlin. If I could have fabulous sushi, authentic italian pizza, or perfect juicy American Burger, what did I REALLY want to eat? If I can go to a proper cocktail bar, a costume party or a all night dance marathon, how do I want to spend my time? Do I want to see the worlds greatest orchestras in a formal setting or throw myself into the 'neighborhood karaoke' at Mauer Park?
Berlin forces you to decide what you REALLY want. When you do- she repays you by giving you just what you asked for. No one bothers about your individualism here. Your choices are of little interest to others unless you break the rules. People are allowed to be unapologetically authentic in Berlin.
So I was confronted, and here is what I looked for and found in Berlin:
Favorite Art installation: gold bricks
Berlin is a city I have spent a great deal of time in, during all seasons. The very best of this city shows in its wide array of cultural events, many theaters and wonderful museums. It is extremely large and you should plan your time there by neighborhood, so as to make the most of it. It is very easy to get by in Berlin with little or no German language skills( a lot of people speak English in this city) but I do recommend learning a few basic words in German so as to be a traveler and not a tourist.
On the S-bahn buy tickets in groups of 4, cheaper
Expect to be corrected if you do anything 'against the rules', it is seen as form of courtesy.
If you loose your coat in Berlin, retrace your steps. A stranger has inevitably left it hanging on a tree branch or bike stand for you, up off the street. If you loose you wallet, you have been mugged. Go to your Embassy.
tiergarten boat ride, animal encounter
Cafe am Neuen See
Jewish museum: interactive one of the most beautiful and well maintained museums I have ever visited
Vintage and Thrift shopping is a way of life in Berlin. There are hundreds of vintage and thrift stores around the city as well as a chain of used clothing stores called Humana. Coming from the States, the prices were a surprise to me as well as the condition of the clothing. The private stores are fabulous and priced accordingly. You may find fabulous things to love and keep forever, but at Humana it will be hard to find. I recommend TREASURE HUNTING! Here are my favorite ship wrecks to scour:
Markets near museum island- navy blue leather gloves, hankies, costume jewelry
Mauer PArk- with Karaoke and a little bit of everything
TURKISH market- buttons, zippers, fabric
A vintage store run by a lovely local: Mankii Vintage
MAde in Berlin is OVERPRICED Buffalo Exchange but they have a ton of items, and they are well cared for.