Sometimes I miss the tourist gaze. The sheer and utter amazement of things unseen and unexperienced. I don’t want to be bored of Berlin in a few years and move away to a shitty countryside suburb, like the one I grew up in, just because I don’t leave my house anymore anyway. I want to discover everything as if I am a guest here, transitioning between places.
This is hopefully going to be a new series on the blog called “Staycation”, in which I spend (approximately) 24 hours in one part of Berlin to discover cool things, places and moods.
A few words about my planning: I was with a friend, we were on bikes (Standortvorteil I guess), we had Google Maps and Foursquare, we knew a couple of things we wanted to visit beforehand, and we were staying the night at the fantastic Sofitel Kudamm. After having tried the restaurant Le Faubourg at the beginning of the year, I decided that this was the (French) hotel that should be my new home for 24 hours. But let’s take it from the top.
Tiergarten & Hansaviertel
Since I had to go from Kreuzberg to Charlottenburg, I had to go through Tiergarten.
The mood was perfect and autumnish. I love walking or biking through Tiergarten, but I rarely ever do.
Finally, my first Pfützenshot.
I’ve lived in Berlin for almost 8 years now but I got lost anyway.
This is the Schloss Bellevue. I think this is our presidents crib. It looks like a set from a Wes Anderson movie.
I made a detour around Hansaviertel, it is my favorite area of Berlin. It was built completely in Bauhaus style.
To be fair, Hansaviertel is actually part of Moabit / Tiergarten. Not Charlottenburg. But can you see me care? It was on my way.
Hansaviertel was built in the 50s, after the war had destroyed what had been here before.
Symmetry, colors, lines, I want to throw up ITS PERFECT
Then I arrived at Straße des 17. Juni and the horrible TU buildings. What is this? Sci-Fi?
Schloss Charlottenburg & Kiez Klausenerplatz
The infamous Schloss Charlottenburg was next. It’s really pretty from the in and the outside, I’d been there before. Unfortunately I’d forgotten that it costs 17 Euro to get in (and roam about the gardens) so I immediately lol’d the fuck out of there.
Instead, I roamed the Kiez adjoining the castle and found a beautiful street with plenty of cafés and this Persian .. thing.
It looked lovely and hippyesque, but I didn’t buy anything.
The Kiez around Seelingstraße is popular with cafés and restaurants, because in true Parisian (and Prenzlauer Berg) fashion, the sidewalks are really wide and ultimately perfect for gastronomy outside.
There were also some pittoresque motifs. It felt like strolling through Gräfekiez, except with far less people.
The “Brotgarten”, for example, is a delicious bistro and bakery with fresh goods. I had the pumpkin quiche and it was fantastic.
Kantstraße is the exotic part of Charlottenburg. Asian cuisine meets Spanish supermarkets.
My prognosis for this building: it will soon be used as gallery or club.
Manga stores & Japanese Bonzai tree stores. That’s how exotic, mate.
And the Iran shop right next to it, although I believe it hasn’t been open in a while (judging from the nippes they sell)
Loads & loads of these little Geschäfte that are just waiting to be gentrified away. I mean, who still goes to these stores? Wouldn’t you order online?
And then I stumbled upon this. It could be a shady sex dungeon or a really cool bar, but I never found out. If anyone’s got an idea, hit me up.
Traveling further West on Kantstraße I discovered a shopping mile that actually looked like EVERY Innenstadt of a semi-big German city! I was dumbfounded and quickly rode on.
Then: paradise. An exclusively THAI supermarket! They have EVERYTHING!
If you’re wondering about the artist in question. This is me, with my cool Charlottenburg scarf.
Some abandoned buildings philosophy
I actually remember this. It’s where Flaneur magazine made their first launch event about Kantstraße. I can’t believe it’s still unused. Can I buy it?
And, you know, all of that Charlottenburg-Hype is just because of Lon-Mens Noodle House.
They say it’s only good if you order pork, but honestly, the steamed veggie dumplings rock too. And it’s good and cheap for a quick lunch break. I wouldn’t travel to Charlottenburg for it, though.
Finally, the perfect excuse to spend a night on a Charlottenburg #staycation: a night at the Sofitel Kurfürstendamm! I’m still crying! I’m jealous of my goddamn self!
THIS IS THE VIEW *kreisch*
The obligatory look into the abyss of decadence
More decadence: the Patisserie sent us a Fernsehturm candy and yes, we ate it all. All of it. Within like, 10 minutes.
That view is amazeballs
With a lense like mine (lol) you can actually zoom into Teufelsberg.
The lobbrary (a library in the lobby, a bit separated from the bar and the chill out area) is filled with cool books about Berlin and Bauhaus.
And the hotel is full of art that I know nothing about.
But I like the chairs. I’m sure if I researched it I would find the name of the designer, but oh well.
Kudamm & Savignyplatz
Although we could have stayed forever at the Sofitel, we had to move on. Here we pass one of the most sophisticated bars of Berlin, the Fasanen 47.
And then we hit my greatest weakness, a magical bookstore: Marga Schöller Bücherstube.
I immediately drowned into a great selection from old to new. They also have a good range of English books.
We ended going for dinner at the Dicke Wirtin. My initial plan was to have Schnitzel at Diener’s, which is supposedly really good. Also, I like Diener. But it was closed for a movie shoot so we had to find an alternative.
Liver with mashed potato
And an extraordinary Gulash! Like I would make at home for sure. It’s really nice. Definite recommendation.
Schwarzes Café & Bar Central
You won’t believe it: I have never been to the most famous café of Berlin. Das Schwarze Café is open 24/7 (!) with a great variety of food, drinks and cakes on the menu. It’s fantastic, with a super charming vibe.
It’s two floors.
And it has enough waiters to cater to all of the guests, a criteria that only few Berlin establishments seem to fit.
The bathrooms are also worth a creepshot.
The iconic facade with the neon light. I didn’t do it justice because I never take my tripod.
We moved on to Bar Zentral. It’s new and shaped like a tunnel under the S-Bahn tracks.
The bar is cute and the drinks are high quality, but you’re paying as much for one drink as for one meal in a good restaurant, so don’t expect to get away with cash in your pocket.
I have to do another round of the Sofitel because there’s nothing like waking up in a classy, stylish hotel.
What a view.
A morning bath: the ultimate sign of vacation and decadence.
Usually, I hate breakfast buffets. But the Sofitel is an outstanding, 5 star breakfast buffet, and I could’ve stayed there forever.
The coffee was so good, it brought me to tears. We couldn’t stay because we had to up to the VIP club where another breakfast was served (haha, we actually did that)
The Sofitel is impressive from the outside, too.
It has many, many windows.
This is the view from Kudamm.
Apparently, Charlottenburg is popular among Russians, so my half-Russian friend and I decided to look out for the most relevant exchange of cultures and traditions: a supermarket.
This supermarket (and bistro) is open 24/7 and is directly at the S-Bahn Charlottenburg.
There’s all sort of weird stuff here, including cream cheese ice cream. ????
And randomly thrown-in cakes in the freezer
And chocolate with a face on it that could be both a grandmother and a child.
… and of course I had to try all of them AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS.
We were already exhausted from the chocolate, but we also wanted to go further, so we went to Rogacki.
It’s like a fish canteen and fish mall with some extra meat inbetween somewhere. We had Surimi and Shrimps but it didn’t mix well with the Russian chocolate.
It’s nice to have lunch here, but I think I would prefer the KaDeWe Austernbar instead.
We were already on our way back home when we discovered a sign that lead us to a gallery.
It’s in a beautiful courtyard. I’m not a big exhibition fan, but finally, a huge poster of Muhammed Ali persuaded us to check it out.
Well, it was a photo gallery with an exhibition of Muhammed Ali called Camera Work.
And then we returned to Schwarzes Café for lunch. Simply because why not? We loved the atmosphere. Anytime I go on holiday, I always appreciate a “Stammkneipe” or something like it, it makes me feel like a local.
The Maultaschen were superb.
And so was the couscous salmon from the weekly lunch menu!
And that was it. We went home after that, happy about our discoveries and the places we finally visited. I have so many pictures from “inbetween”, but I decided to not make this article any bigger than it already was. If you have more ideas and recommendations for Charlottenburg, go ahead. Otherwise: we’re doing a special on Schöneberg next, so let me know if you’ve got recommendations for that!