Spring! (and How to Deal with It)

“You went for a run? How do you do that? It’s so cold!” My Australian neighbour (“We have 10 days of clouds where I’m from”) couldn’t believe I’d gone for a run last week, when the temperature was 10 degrees Celsius. “It’s spring!” I told her. And yes, now that we almost hit the 20-degree mark last Monday, it really IS spring. Finally. We survived winter. So in order to make myself even happier and to inspire you, it’s time to make plans for my favourite time of the year.

Central Berlin - Frühling in Berlin

Having Breakfast Outside

I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to say this out loud, but breakfast might just be my favourite meal of the day. In fact, one of my next blog posts will be about just that: Frühstück. What makes breakfast even better, especially when you’re a little hung-over, is having it in the open air. Sipping a cappuccino with the sun on my face just makes me incredibly happy. Another advantage is that terraces easily double the seating space that’s available in Berlin’s often tiny restaurants and cafés – space for everyone!

Last year’s favourites:

Leutemanns: street-side seating, good food but unfortunately quite inattentive staff.
Bötzowstraße 23, Prenzlauer Berg

Tempobox: perhaps Berlin’s most famous all-you-can-eat breakfast with a pretty big terrace.
Simon-Dach-Straße 15-16, Friedrichshain

This year’s plans:

Around the Wasserturm: one of Prenzlauer Berg’s most idyllic neighbourhoods offers plenty of outdoor seating and a big array of good breakfast options (Betty ‘n Caty, Bar Gagarin and much more)

Freischwimmer: enjoying the brunch buffet here feels like a small holiday inside Berlin, with seating on the water. Vor dem Schlesischen Tor 3a, Treptow

Central Berlin - Freischwimmer
The view from Freischwimmer. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

Cycling to Berlin’s Most Idyllic Locations

Another great thing about having breakfast in the morning sun is knowing that afterwards you have an entire day left to spend outside. In my case, a lot of those days will be spent just walking down the streets and parks of Berlin – I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of that. But as the sun starts getting stronger, so does my longing to discover new places. It’s when I hop on my bike and cycle – or take the S-Bahn – to Berlin’s hidden gems.

Last year’s favourites:

Hohenschönhausen: most famous for the Stasi prison, this borough also offers lovely lakes and villas. We headed a little further north (towards Falkenberg) and ended up in the countryside, where we ate cake at a farm.

Erkner: we wanted to have a swim on one of the last warm days of the year, so we took our bikes to the far southeast of Berlin. There are many lakes around Erkner and at the Werlsee there’s a small beach house that sells iced coffee and small dishes.

Köpenick: just follow the Spree all the way down and you end up in the lovely village of Köpenick – officially a part of Berlin. The famous bathing water of the Müggelsee is just around the corner.

This year’s plans:

Domäne Dahlem: once a knight’s estate, now an open-air museum on the edge of the big Grunewald forest. The 200-year-old restaurant next door (Alter Krug) is also worth a visit.
Königin-Luise-Straße 49, Dahlem

Britzer Mühle: a 160-year-old mill that’s still grinding flour, next to a huge landscape park and close to the modernist housing estate Hufeisensiedlung.
Buckower Damm 130, Britz

Feierabendbier with a Berlin Sunset

Berlin’s summer sunsets are amazing and more often than not turn the sky into any colour you can possibly imagine. Now that the days are getting longer, I won’t have to witness them from my office chair much longer, but instead will be able to head to a spot where the view is even better and the beer flows freely. Rooftops are obviously a great choice, but there are more options. Beer is cheapest at the Admiralbrücke, a Kreuzberg bridge with plenty of Spätkauf shops around it and the great company of live guitar music and a view over the water. Or head to one of the city’s beaches for an even better view of the sunset above the water. Holzmarkt Pampa is still my go-to place when I want to start the evening with a good pizza, a great atmosphere and sometimes even a bonfire to top it off.

Last year’s favourites:

Admiralbrücke: Admiralstraße, Kreuzberg

Central Berlin - Admiralsbrücke
Just after sunset at the Admiralbrücke. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

Holzmarkt Pampa: Holzmarktstraße 19-30, Friedrichshain

Central Berlin - Holzmarkt
Sunset from Holzmarkt Pampa. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

House of Weekend: slightly posh club but the views over Alexanderplatz are unbeatable.
Alexanderstraße 7, Mitte

This year’s plans:

On the banks of the Landwehrkanal: life doesn’t have to be complicated, so why not just bring some beer and find a place in the grass on the waterside? A popular spot is behind the Vivantes Klinikum in Kreuzberg.

Central Berlin - Landwehrkanal
On the banks of the Landwehrkanal. Image courtesy of Daphne Damiaans

Beer Gardens: there are so many of them in Berlin, each with its own identity. Go hipster at Birgit & Bier (Kreuzberg/Treptow), enjoy the truly authentic ‘Kotti’-view at Biergarten Südblock (Kreuzberg), travel back in time at Brauhaus Rixdorf (Neukölln) or feel the Berghain vibe at Wilder Hase (Friedrichshain).

Grillen und Chillen – BBQ like the Germans Do

Germans love to barbecue: as early as February, I already saw them sitting in the park, sausages and beers out and spending the afternoon outside. I can’t say I’m much of a Grillmeister myself yet, but I do love the idea of just throwing some (fake) meat on the barbecue and take your time to watch it simmer whilst drinking rosé and eating garlic bread.

If this all sounds a bit too complicated to you, you might opt for a picnic. There are two supermarkets just outside of Volkspark Friedrichshain, so just create your own lunch/dinner package there. Or even better: make it fancy and let someone else do the work! There are several cafés and stores offering pre-filled picnic baskets. Another option is to take your picnic blanket to Preußenpark, where Thai food is prepared right in front of you.

Last year’s favourites:

Volkspark Friedrichshain: this park in my backyard is a BBQ hotspot and still offers plenty of space for everyone’s sausages and schnitzels.

This year’s plans:

Preußenpark, Wilmersdorf: you don’t have to do the barbecuing yourself here, because this foodie heaven is full of Asian ladies preparing finger-licking good dishes on their picnic blankets.

Tempelhofer Feld: this former airport isn’t just a great historical location but also offers you the opportunity to barbecue next to former landing strips.