Rambling down Las Ramblas

Barcelona is rightly famous for Gaudi’s amazing architecture, and you absolutely must see his incredible architectural feats, but if it’s the beating heart of Barcelona you want, the 1.2 kilometer long tree-lined pedestrian mall, known as Las Ramblas and its surrounding districts is where you need to spend time.

This iconic street (actually a series of five shorter streets) bisects the three most important neighborhoods in the old city—the newly gentrified El Raval to the west and El Born and Barri Gòtic to the east. The promenade is crowded from until late at night, with people flocking around restaurants, street performers and kiosks that sell flowers, gelato, souvenirs and even birds.

Las Ramblas Barcelona Spain

Classic building Las Ramblas Barcelona

Start your journey at the Placa de Catalunya, just down from Gaudi’s Casa Mila and Casa Battlo and head down the gently sloping street to soak up the atmosphere. Most of the really interesting stops you should make are at least half way down.

The first should be The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, (usually referred to as La Boqueria market) is the city’s most iconic street market, jam-packed with huge colourful and exotic food stalls of every kind. It has a permanent roof over it that seems to help add a buzz to the market and makes it weatherproof. There are several places to sit and eat or have a coffee if you already want to take a break.

La Boquiera Market Las Ramblas Barcelona

Butcher in Las Boquieras Market Las Ramblas Barcelona

La Boqueria Market stall Las Ramblas Barcelona

When you walk back out the market, turn right, and you’ll pass a charming corner shop Escriba. It is one of the oldest patisseries in Barcelona, and although it isn’t quite as impressive as say, Laduree in Paris, it is quaint and charming and you can buy small cakes or macaroons to take away.

Escriba Las Ramblas Barcelona

Then cross back onto the pedestrian walkway, and while you’re munching your macaroons, look down for the Miró Mosaic. It’s a stunning piece of art that many people seem to walk straight over without realising its significance.

Miro Mosaic Las Ramblas Barcelona

A few more steps and you’ll come across the Gran Teatre sel Liceau (or simply, Liceau) Barcelona’s renowned opera house. It has hosted many greats including the likes of Placido Domngo, Jose Carreras and Montserrat Caballe, who debuted here in 1962 in Richard Strauss’s Arabella.

Barcelona's Las Ramblas Buildings Barcelona

 

The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca apparently once said that Las Ramblas is “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.” But end it does, at the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Which is where you can either head on to look at the port, or turn around, walk up a little and right into the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter, where Barcelona began its life as a walled city 2,000 years ago. Its easy to get lost in its delightful side streets and alleyways and there are a number of interesting architectural sites, including the famed cathedral, La Seu, one of the finest Gothic buildings in Barcelona.

Gothic Qaurater Las Ramblas Barcelona

Keep walking and you’ll reach the equally charming and fashionable (but slightly calmer) area, El Born. At its heart is the Passeig del Born square where medieval jousting once took place and which is now a popular evening hangout for the hip young local crowd.

If you’re hungry, try the ever-popular Cal Pep restaurant (Plaça de les Olles 8), considered one of the city’s best tapas bars. You can’t make a reservation unless you have a party of at least four, so you may have to hustle your way in. But it’s worth the effort because their menu has more than 70 tapas for you to try.

After lunch, join the inevitable queue at the nearby Picasso Museum (Montcada 15 – 23), which occupies five large town houses or palaces on a narrow medieval street. It can be quite difficult to find down the winding alleys, so make sure you have a good map. The museum focuses on the early years of the Spanish genius’s life and has more than 3,800 works in its permanent exhibition.

Placa Reial Las Ramblas Barcelona

As the afternoon winds down, head back to Las Ramblas and cross over into Barri del Raval, once the red-light district of the city, now filled with dozens of small restaurants and bars where you settle in for a while. Or else try Placa Reial, off Las Ramblas, a plaza with palm trees and porticoed buildings filled with pubs and restaurants, where you can rest your feet and people watch as the sun sets.

 

 

Munich Is One Of The World’s Most Liveable Cities

There’s far more to Munich than the Oktoberfest. It is often featured on lists of the world’s most liveable cities, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike Berlin, this city has money and it shows. It was carefully rebuilt after the war and the architecture is beautiful. It is a great city to walk and cycle around and has a stunning river, parks, city squares and an open air market. Throw in plenty of arts, culture two of the top universities and a couple of famous beer houses and it’s a formidable place.

So to see it all for yourself, here’s a quick itinerary you could do in a morning…. Get a taxi to drop you at Odeonsplatz and you’ll be perfectly placed to stroll through the city’s historical centre. Head south past the Munich Residenz, the largest residential palace in Germany that was the seat of Bavarian rulers for more than 400 years. It houses a large art collection and the Bavarian State Opera is right next door. Then head to Marienplatz, the centre and heart of the city where you’ll also find the city hall.

Munich Germany Central garden entrance

 

Munich Germany central buildings

Munich Germany City Hall

Munich Germmany historic buildings and turrets

Munich Germany historic building

Do some window-shopping along Kaufinger and Neuhauser streets, which are closed to traffic. Then make your way back to Viktualienmarkt, a bustling open-air market just off Marienplatz full of gourmet food and a lively beer garden in the middle. It’s great for people watching.

Munich Germany pedestrian shopping street

Munich Germany beautiful building

Munich Germany sophisticated Street Busker

Munich Germany central food market

When you’ve rested, head back to Odeonsplatz and take a quiet walk in the Hofgarten. If you’re a real park lover, you could keep walking to the English Gardens – Munich’s showpiece park and the river, where people actually surf. If not, sit at the restaurant outside and have another drink or head down Maximillian Street for all your designer shopping.

Munich Germany beautiful gardens

 

Munich beautiful city river

Munich Germany dog sculpture

The Berlin Wall Eastside Gallery – Photo Essay

If you hate waiting in long queues to get into over-priced galleries and museums, then you’re in luck. In Berlin you get a free outdoor gallery along with a big chunk of 20th Century history, all for free.

The Berlin Wall East Side Gallery is a 1.3km-long section of the wall running along the Mühlenstrasse and the bank of the river Spree in former East Berlin. With more than 100 paintings by artists from all over the world, the memorial for freedom is apparently the largest open-air gallery in the world.

The gallery is close to the Ostbahnhof S-Bahn station on the west side and the Warschauer Straße S+U-Bahn station on the east side. Walk over Oberbaumbrücke, arguably the most beautiful bridge in Berlin and the only connection between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. Once you’re over the river, take a left and you’ll find the wall right in front of you.

See below for some mural highlights:

Berlin Bridge over river to Berlin Wall Gallery

Berlin Wall Old World War Van

Berlin Wall checkpoint charlie mural

Berlin Wall gallery psychedelic mural

Berlin Wall World leaders Kiss Mural

Every panel of the 1.3km was painted by a different artist in 1991, but after years of decay many of the works were later restored.

Berlin Wall store and mural

Berlin Wall gallery smoker mural

Berlin Wall Gallery Car Mural

Berlin Wall gallery Gorbachev Mural

Berlin Wall gallery chain Mural

The gallery is a fantastic reminder of what the city has been through and it should definitely be on your to-do list. You’ll love the stroll and I bet you’ll walk away with hundreds of photos.

 

SOHO House Berlin

If you’re looking for a stylish place to eat and sleep in Berlin, you could do worse than Soho House, a private, members only club in Mitte that also rents rooms and apartments to the public. It’s in a grand old corner building with a stunning roof top bar and the coziest restaurant and lounge area where I was lucky enough to get an invite for dinner.

Soho House building Berlin Germany

The Cookhouse restaurant has a very relaxed ambience with an open plan kitchen alongside the homey lounge area. It feels like a very comforting oversized lounge and kitchen in a private home, with the lounge décor that wouldn’t be out of place in the Hamptons. I felt so comfortable I was working out ways to stay there. Like forever.

Soho House Berlin Germany Luxury Hotel Room

Soho House Berlin Germany bar

Soho House Berlin pool rooftop Germany

After dinner we stepped out of the warm cocoon and headed for the rooftop, where there’s a great bar next to the swimming pool that boasts views across the rooftops of Berlin.

Note: Members have to accompany guests to the club, so the best way in is to actually stay at the hotel, which I certainly recommend.

The History Of Bullfighting

I have to say up front that bullfighting is not my thing. Call me squeamish, but watching a bull being tormented and killed for no reason, no matter how impressive the battle, doesn’t interest me one bit. It’s cruel and senseless.Having said that I do like history. And the history and culture of matadors, their dance with death and why they are revered is interesting, and where better to learn about it than in Seville, home of the oldest bullring in Spain?

Seville's oldest famous bullring wide view

Seville famous oldest Bullfighting ring

So I took a walk to the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, the bullring that stands proudly next to the river. The museum is attached to the bullring and they have an obligatory guided tour, so I decided to visit and leave it at that.

The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, is not the largest bullring in Spain but is the oldest, dating back to 1749, and considered the most attractive. It was here that the corrida, or bullfight as we know it today, moved from horseback to foot, and many of the cherished theatrical traditions of the matador and his close quarters duel with the bull evolved.

Seville oldest famous bullring royal box

Seville oldest famous bullring inside

Seville oldest famous bullring stands

Seville oldest famous bullring Bull Pens

Perched on the stands inside the oval bullring, we were told about the history of the ring and shown the access gate where only successful bullfighters exit, and the theater box reserved for the exclusive use of Spanish Royal family.

Then we were taken to the museum under the stands where, in three distinct sections, we learned the origins of bullfighting and its evolution until today. There are art exhibits, matador costumes, old weapons and mounted heads of famous bulls.

Seville oldest famous bullring corridors

Seville oldest bullring museum displays

Seville oldest bullring museum bull exhibit

It’s more interesting than it might sound. And on the way out, you’re reminded that what a dangerous affair it was as you pass the chapel where the matadors used to pray.

Seville – A VERY Passionate City

Friends in London convinced me I had to go to Seville. I’m very pleased I did. Sitting on the Guadalquivir River, Seville feels like an authentic Spanish city of old. It’s the heart of Andalusian culture, and the home of Flamenco, bullfighting, and arguably the region’s best tapas bars. Which surely makes it one of the world’s most passionate cities.

Seville Spain Rooftop City Sign

Seville Spain's main streets

Seville Spain Heritage building

Seville’s art and architecture (Roman, Islamic, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque) is also without equal in southern Spain. So start your visit in the old city, taking in the cathedral, La Giralda Tower (which are every bit as stunning during the day or lit up at night) and the Real Alcazar palace without even leaving the square.

La Giralda is the cathedral’s beautiful minaret tower, originally intended for the chief mosque, but now the magnificent bell tower of the Cathedral and a symbol of Seville. You can climb to the top for a great view of the city.

The Cathedral of Seville, is a fifteenth century cathedral that occupies the site of the former great mosque built in the late twelfth century and is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus.

The Real Alcázar is a stunning palace in Mudéjar (Moorish) style, built in the XIV Century by Pedro I the Cruel and now listed as a world heritage site. Its extravagant architecture, lavish gardens, ponds and extensive courtyards, it’s a fascinating place. Look out for the room where Christopher Columbus’s journey to the Americas were planned.

Seville's La Giralda by day in Spain

Seville Spain streets by night

Ancient Seville Palace Spain

Seville Spain grand hotel

This ancient architecture is then surprisingly and beautifully offset with the modern Metropol Parasol:

Seville Spain Metropol Parasol

Once you’ve taken in these architectural gems, spend your time taking in three of Seville’s biggest passions: Bullfighting, Flamenco and of course Tapas.

Seville Spain Flamenco door handle

Seville Spain Bulls poster

Seville Spain Tapas Bar

Lake Como – A Stunning Corner Of Italy

Lake Como has been the playground of the rich and famous since Roman times and it’s hard not to feel like one of them as the train pulls into the station at Varenna.

With an area of 146 km², Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful. It is shaped like an inverted Y and the small towns of Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna sit at the intersection of the three branches of the lake, where is where most people travel to from Milan. Each of these towns has its own particular charm, and is worth visiting.

Day trip

If you just want to do a day trip from Milan, the best thing to do is to take the train from Milano Centrale to Varenna, which only takes about an hour. It’s an easy 10 minute walk into the village. Head for the town square first, then walk down the steep stairs and alleyways to the lake. (It’s much better than walking up). Varenna is a stunning place, with less than 300 residents and it’s unique because the road runs above the town, so it feels less spoiled than other towns.

Varenna from ferry on Lake Como

 

Varenna Chapel Lake Como Italy

Varenna Town skyline Lake Como Italy

When you’re done, catch a ferry to Bellagio. Just buy a ticket at the dock and hop on. It’s only a 15 minute trip across the lake with the Swiss Alps in the background. Bellagio is the busiest town on the lake and has been set up very much for tourists, but it is worth visiting because it is beautiful. Although we didn’t get to Menaggio, a couple of Varenna locals said they prefer it to Bellagio because it is far less touristy. So if you have time it’s worth catching the ferry across there too.

To go back to Milan, catch the ferry back to the Varenna and head to the train station. If you don’t have a return ticket you may need to buy one from the travel agent on the way to the station.

Longer Stay

If you can, I highly recommend staying a couple of nights on Lake Como. We picked Varenna because it is a small, picturesque town that is in the middle of the lake, easy to reach from Milan and has a good ferry schedule to other towns.

We caught the train from Milan to Varenna in the afternoon, and being autumn it was pretty cold. To make it worse we were given the wrong directions to our hotel and had to walk up lots of ridiculously steep stairs. So we were pretty pleased to reach our charming boutique hotel Albergo Milano and be shown to our room that had a large deck with the most incredible view over the lake. It was everything we’d hoped for.

Lake Como winter Beautiful view

Lake Como view with champagne and snow

Lake Como Italy winter view

Having made it in time for sunset, we ordered a bottle of bubbly and sat on the deck as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. We had a violent storm during the night, but the next morning, the village and all the mountains were blanketed in snow. Varenna is only five stops from St Moritz, at the end of the railway line, so there was plenty of snow.

Luckily we had made it to Lake Como just in time, because Varenna and Bellagio basically shut down for winter from mid-November to March as the tourists stay away or head to the towns closer to St Moritz for skiing.

Small town opposite Varenna on Lake Como

Restaurant in Varenna Lake Como

When we tried to walk around to do a bit of sightseeing we ended up hopping from bar to restaurant to bar trying to stay warm, which truth be told, wasn’t too bad because we discovered a great hole in the wall. At the Borgovino restaurant a table of retired locals was having a long, lazy lunch. They took up four of the seven tables and with the wine flowing it was a cosy, festive afternoon. I recommend a stop in here for a meal and a bottle of wine. The owners know what they’re doing with food, wine and service.

The next day was much warmer and we managed to catch the ferry to Bellagio where we walked through the town and did some shopping. It is a beautiful town and is the quintessential ‘Italian village on a lake’ that you dream about, but I’m pleased we stayed in Varenna, because somehow it just feels a touch more authentic and homely, without the overpriced designer stores.

 

Lanes on Bellagio Lake Como Italy

Having said that, most people would be very happy to stay in Bellagio, especially if it’s at the elegant 5 star deluxe Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Owned by the Bucher family for 3 generations, it stands at the end of the Bellagio promontory, with spectacular views of Lake Como and the Alps.

Palazzo Barbarigo – Luxury on Venice’s Grand Canal

If you can afford the overpriced fare of a water taxi to the Palazzo Barbarigo hotel in Venice, you’ll want to take it. It’s a very romantic way to arrive at the front door of your hotel. The reward is a quality art deco boutique hotel on the Grand Canal.

Front door hotel on water in Venice

It is relatively small double-story hotel. Plush and luxurious, its art deco décor evokes the best of a bygone era, and as Conde Nast Traveller said it is ‘an alternative to the usual grand dame hotel’.

It is a great hotel for couples looking for a romantic place to stay in Venice. The 18 rooms and junior suites are large and very comfortable with four poster beds, flat screen TV, chaise lounge, rain showers and mood lighting. Although there are no balconies, the windows are big and they open out wide so you never feel claustrophobic.

Luxury Hotel Bedroom Venice

The reception and front door that opens directly onto the canal are downstairs with a couple of rooms, whilst the bar, breakfast room and lounge are upstairs with the rest of the rooms leading off the lounge. (You would think this might make the rooms noisy, but ours wasn’t at all). Aside from a couple of rooms at the front, most rooms face onto a quieter side canal that still gets a fair share of traffic, and you can see the grand canal if you look out.

Luxury Lounge Hotel Venice

The hotel doesn’t have a full restaurant, so we stepped out to a recommended local eatery, Trattoria Da Ignazio, for a quick dinner.

A real old school place, with lopsided, low ceilings and cheerful yellow walls. The service and the homely, traditional Italian food was superb. We went with our waiter’s recommendations and every one was delicious. The only other waiter looked at least 100 years old and he we were fascinated all night as he shuffled about serving his tables without skipping a beat.

Restaurant in side street Venice

Back at the hotel we had a nightcap at the bar, which makes you feel like you’re in a 1940’s movie set, with a tiny terrace overlooking the canal, that’s almost deserted later at night. Looking out, it reminded me of those typical western towns in movies, but in this case with a watery main street.

Luxurious bar in boutique hotel Venice

We slept deeply, thanks to the double-glazing on the windows and when I opened them to look out, traffic was in full flow. Three gondolas went by below packed with tourists followed by a rubbish barge and police patrol.

Breakfast was the best I’ve had just about anywhere. There’s no generic buffet or stodgy, stale food here. A mountain of fruit, pastries, cheese and meat is served individually to your table, along with coffee or tea and a list for you to order additional items, most at no extra cost. You would have to be ravenous to finish all that food.

Hotel Grand canal views Venice

The hotel doesn’t have any facilities like a spa, gym or garden, but it is perfectly situated to explore Venice, either by vaporetto or on foot through the alleyways that take you to the famous Rialto Bridge, which offers great views over the Grand Canal.

We spent the day wandering, and getting ridiculously lost, as we tried to criss-cross a couple of districts. Along the way we took in famous sights like St Mark’s Square, partially under water because of the high tide, and the Rialto Market, where locals were shopping for their daily fresh fish and vegetables. A few hours later, having come full circle, we gave our weary legs a break with a long lunch on the Grand Canal. Surprisingly, the area where we sat had been knee deep in water a couple of hours earlier. We filled up happily on pizza and wine, and enjoyed the busy waterway before returning to the comfort of our room for a well deserved afternoon nap.

Slow Day Grand Canal Venice

Gondola Venice side Canal

We were pretty tired the second night, so we spent the evening relaxing in the hotel lounge, researching the next part of our trip. It was comfortable and quiet, and we felt like we were in our own living room. We only saw the other guests as they filtered back to their rooms after their evening out. The barman was very attentive, but never intrusive and we were grateful for the complimentary snacks.

When we left the following morning (after another incredible breakfast), we hopped on the vaporetto (water bus), for a last tour of Venice and climbed off at the train station. With the cold wind and the rain setting in, we had thoughts about heading back to the comfort and warmth of our hotel, but our train was waiting.

The Oktoberfest

Day One

I arrived at the Munich train station excited, but weary about the Oktoberfest. The station was packed with people dressed in traditional clothes and eager to party, and it was already very festive early in the morning. So I got into the spirit fast and I have to say, after two full-on days of craziness at the festival, I’m pleased to report that with a bit of planning, there’s nothing to worry about.

Oktoberfest View Munich

The Oktoberfest village itself isn’t very big. It has 14 tents (including a wine tent) all side by side on either side of a pedestrian road, within stumbling distance of one another and surrounded by about 20 smaller food tents. Strangely, most of the grounds are actually taken up by a funfair with themed rides, including wait for it, a roller coaster. Who’s bright idea was that?

Oktoberfest tent Munich

Beer tent Oktoberfest Berlin

Funfair Oktoberfest Munich

Pretzel stand Oktoberfest Munich

Although I was surprised, it does make for a great atmosphere, ‘cause the place is filled with families any time of the day, bobbing and weaving to avoid legless revelers. Stay out amongst the rides, the lights, the smell of food and the kids, and you could almost forget there were thousands of people in tents nearby, singing Bavarian folk songs and drowning in beer.

Fortunately I was invited to stay with friends which was a relief because hotels are full during Oktoberfest and prices double. Fortunately the same friends, had already booked a table in the Hippodrom tent, a favourite with locals. So I dropped my bags and headed straight into the tent in time for lunch, where the party was in full swing. That was a good thing because in the Hippodrom, you only get the table for three hours. Having booked months in advance, our allotted time was 12 – 3pm. I joined a table with eight other people and giant pretzels, tankards of beer and platters of local Bavarian meat and cheese dishes rained down on me. The band played on the elevated stage above us and by the time all the tables were re-set for the next crowd I was in a happy beer haze.

Hippodrom Tent Dubai

Hippodrom Inside Oktoberfest Munich

Crowds at Oktoberfest Munich

Many of the people on the table headed home to their kids and carry on their normal lives which was a surprise, but that’s when I realised that the Oktobefest is just as much fun for the locals. They are just smarter about what they do there. They look forward to the week and usually pop in to their favourite tent just for an hour or two every day, like they’re going down to their local (very large) pub.

Yes, there are loads of people falling over, vomiting and and passing out but it’s mostly on the grass bank out of sight behind the tents, so you can steer well clear of all that.

Day Two

My second day couldn’t have been any more different to the first. I had been eased into it with the fancier, smaller Hippodrom and the wine tent, but day two we headed straight to the Hofbrauhaus. It’s in the middle of all the action and it’s packed with thousands and thousands of crazy drinkers. I made the mistake of coming in the back way, past the infamous grass bank and through the outdoor beer garden at Hofbrauhaus. Making my way to the front I was given a couple of kidney blows by the waitresses who carry armfuls of heavy beer tankards and swing wildly to move people out the way. If I had fallen in front of one of them, they would’ve stomped on my head, just for better traction.

Crowds at Oktoberfest Munich

Beer Hall Oktoberfest Munich

Smaller tent Oktoberfest Munich

So I was thankful when my friends ushered me in through a side door into a VIP section where we had a table for 20, and then it started again: Pretzels, beer (and a couple of one litre tankards of wine and soda), food platters and another live band. After each tankard we would venture past the huge kitchen where hundreds of chickens were turning in ovens, and into the seething mass to dance on the tables. When we’d had enough we would, thankfully, stroll back past the bouncer back to our table.

Beautiful Beer Hall Oktoberfest Munich

 

Wine bar Oktoberfest Munich

Crepes stand Oktoberfest

So is it as crazy as everyone says? Yes. Is it really that much fun? Yes. Can you actually leave with your dignity intact? Yes, but only if you want to, and if you do, then follow some of these tips:

Make friends with a local.

Go in the week when it’s not unbearably packed.

Pick one of the fancier tents and try to get a table.

Eat more than you drink.

Don’t go for more than 2 or 3 days.

Kreuzberg Berlin – Where East & West Finally Met Again

Berlin is a fascinating city for 20th Century history buffs. Not only does it have serious World War 2 history but Berlin was literally split in half during the Cold War. And this is still most evident in the suburb of Kreuzberg.

If you want to get a good sense of what the Berlin Wall did to the city and its people, first visit Checkpoint Charlie and the museum. It’s a big museum, with lots of interesting displays, but there’s so much to see and much of it is very heavy on detailed copy explanations, so give yourself some time and focus on what interests you. I found all the displays on how people tried to escape from East Germany very interesting – everything from converted cars to tunnels to hot air balloons – they were industrious (and obviously desperate).

Checkpoint Charlie Area Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie Sign Berlin

When you’re up to speed on the history, take a short metro ride to Mehringdamm, and stroll around Kreuzberg. Very close to Mitte, the centre of Berlin, Kreuzberg has had an interesting history, and it’s a microcosm of East and West Berlin in one suburb (a very big suburb since it merged with Friedrichshain).

Kreuzberg Street Berlin

Buildings in Kreuzberg Berlin

Archways Kreuzberg Berlin

The Mehringdamm stop brings you out on the wealthier side of Kreuzberg. And as you walk out the station, you will find two of the city’s most popular eateries. Pick up a meal at Currywurst 36 or stand in line at Mustafas Gemüse Kebap, which is so popular there is always a queue (I counted more than 70 people one lunch time), so expect to wait 20-40 minutes for your meal. Then, kebab in hand, take a stroll up Kreuzberg Hill (Tempelhofer Berge) for a great view over the city.

Shopping street Kreuzberg Berlin

Curry Stall Kreuzberg Berlin

When you’re ready for the other side of Kreuzberg that best personifies Berlin’s motto – It’s poor but it’s sexy, hop back on the metro and find your way to Oranienstrasse. (You could walk, but Berlin is very big and spread out and the metro is cheap, clean and efficient). This is where you’ll find Berlin’s large Turkish community and it’s also the epicenter of the LGTB community. A colourful and interesting mix if ever there was one.

The district has gentrified in recent years, with the music, design and fashion crowd moving in, but there are still more than enough kebab kiosks and bars and nightclubs around including SO 36, the 1970’s punk club and hangout of Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

Kreuzberg Old Side Berlin

BO 36 Club Kreuzberg Berlin

Gold shop Kreuzberg Berlin

You’ll also find the Berlin Wall Eastside Gallery nearby, which you can read about in my other post. And after dark, you’ll be in the right place for one of Berlin’s most famous clubs, Berghain and the Panorama Bar (inside an old power plant) where you can spend a long, long, night dancing to your heart’s content.

Did you know? The Doner kebab was invented by a Turkish immigrant in Berlin.