Exploring Berlin: Part I

It’s been a little over two weeks since we visited Berlin, and man am I already missing this incredible city. If you happened to catch this short mini film Derek created of our time there, you’d know we absolutely fell in love with this place. And I mean head-over-heels-heart-beating-fast love. Because I got a bit snappy happy here, I’ve decided to split this city into two posts. That way, it don’t be an endless scroll of pictures!

The funny thing is that Berlin wasn’t like the usual picturesque European cities we’ve been exploring during these last eight weeks. In fact, besides the colorful graffiti painting some of the buildings and streets, this city wasn’t really picturesque at all. But what made it so unique was its vibe. Such an awesome vibe. I think we fell in love with Berlin so fast because it had a vibe similar to Brooklyn, which we obviously adore.

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We hit the jackpot when it came to our Airbnb. See, while we were in Vienna — six days prior to when we’d arrive in Berlin — we got a notice saying our Airbnb in Berlin had been cancelled. Talk about a freakout. Luckily, with some last minute scrambling, we were able to find a new “home,” which turned out to be one of our favorite Airbnb’s so far!

Just look at that bookshelf. Derek immediately fell in love. This place definitely provided some inspiration for how we want to decorate our next apartment in San Francisco.

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One thing we found out about Berlin — this city is smothered with good food. Which is always a good thing. From the trendy cafes to the hole-in-the-wall dive bars, our taste buds couldn’t get enough.

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After stuffing our faces a little too much, we hit the streets to explore. I don’t think we’ve window-shopped as much on this trip as we did here in this city. Before visiting, I had read about how many cool and diverse shops there were plotted all along the streets. I just had no idea they would be this cool.

Berlin has a huge design focus, which was evident in each store we stopped in. There were just so many eclectic shops. And so many adorable stationary shops, which I LOVED. (Like RSVP below.) I really don’t know what it is about tiny cards, embossed lettering and bright stamps that makes my heart flutter so much. All I know is whenever I enter stores like this, my mind instantly drifts to happy-land.

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So many of the stores had the minimalist decor going on. White walls with bold accents of color made the shops feel so refreshing.

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We even found a store — called Do You Read Me  — that had nothing but magazines. We took this as a chance to sit down, flip through some glossy pages, and rest our feet for a while. It was the perfect place to spark ideas, let me just tell you!

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One of my favorite stores we stumbled upon was HAY Berlin, located in the Mitte neighborhood. This shop had so much cool, unique stuff. Lots of fun pens, notebooks, trinkets, etc. It was times like these when I wished I was carrying more than one backpack!

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Speaking of the Mitte neighborhood, this area is awesome. So much good food (like the restaurant below!) and so many good shops to roam in and out of. I really loved how chill this area seemed, too. Not too noisy or busy, which is always a plus. Overall, we had a blast just meandering around, getting lost with every turn.

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This place was so, so, so good. Vietnamese street food at its best. That burger you see below — out-of-this-world delicious! Not to mention the eclectic vibes this place had. Really fun!

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While there weren’t as many colored buildings here, there was certainly a plethora of colorful doors, which always caught my attention. I just couldn’t get enough of this beautiful green one below.

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Below is an example of some of the graffiti you’d find covering the bottom halves of buildings. Cool, right? Even though the majority of it was scribbles, I loved the color it brought forth to the streets. Gave the neighborhoods even more of an edgier vibe!

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We stumbled upon so much cool art while meandering around. I really loved how design focused Berlin was. Looking around, you could just sense how huge of a role art played in this city.

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And how could I forget the vintage shops. They were all so, so good. So many amazing finds waiting for a new home. If only I had more room!!

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We did spot a few colored buildings, which made my eyes really happy. I remember there was something about that mint green shot tingles down my back. It was just such a gorgeous color in person.

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We really liked wandering around Voo Store. It was an awesome concept store tucked away from the streets of the Kreuzberg neighborhood, which was another neat area to roam. This store seemed like an upscale Urban Outfitters. A tad bit — ok, A LOT — over our budget, but it was fun to just look. It had a cool casual vibe to it, and I could just tell there were so many unique treasures in this shop.

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We also made sure to stop by the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall. I read later that this international memorial for freedom consists of 118 paintings by artists from all over the world. It was really cool to see such an important symbol for hope, friendship, and freedom.

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After hours and hours — and miles and miles — of exploring, we treated ourselves to some local brews. Derek had read about how cool this beer garden, Prater, and wanted to check it out. From the giant chestnut trees to the ultra chill atmosphere, this place was amazing. The perfect place to flock to during the warm summer months. Not to mention the beer was delicious.

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Well, there you have it. Our first couple of days in Berlin. I really don’t think they could have been better. Stay tuned for Part II! And in case you missed it, be sure to check out this awesome mini film Derek created. Hint: it’s really fun and only two minutes!

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If you want to read more about our backpacking trip, click here for more posts!

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