Mauerpark on Sundays – Best experience in Berlin

For quite some time, all I listen people talk about is the Mauerpark on Sundays, during the summer.

After a quick research, I read that a big karaoke is happening and people visit the park to have fun.

For months, I was unable to go, since I either had other plans or it was always raining. But yesterday, the odds were in my favour.

I cleared my whole schedule and was determined to visit Mauerpark. The first obstacle was gone. All I had to do was praying that it wouldn’t rain. And it didn’t.

Of course, I lost track of time and I started quite late to go to the park. It was about 16:00 and I was positive I would have missed the karaoke.

In truth, I had no idea what to expect. But I thought I knew what to expect. A small crowded park, with hundreds of people chilling and singing.

Boy I was wrong.

I get to the park and I see hundreds of people leaving. I got so upset for being late and I was sure the karaoke had ended and everybody was leaving.

As I kept on going inside the park, I saw so many people and I suddenly heard music. A band was literally rocking and they sounded amazing, surrounded by so many.

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I stayed there for a while and thought: “well you’ve missed the karaoke, but at least you heard some music“.I decided to keep on walking. It was a good opportunity to see the park since I had no idea if the weather would allow this event to happen again.

As I was walking I heard someone singing and a crowd clapping loudly. I still had a hope inside me that the karaoke was still on. And it was. Thousands of people surrounding that little area of the park. Some were sitting in the arena, others in the grass beside it, up or down.

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I managed to find a free space so I can see better. I was surprised to find out that the karaoke moderator was speaking in English. One by one people from the audience were going ‘on stage’, picking a song and sang their hearts out with the rest of the audience endorsing them and enjoying every second of the performances.

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After spending some time in the karaoke area, I figured I should explore the rest of the park since I did not know if the weather would allow me to come again.

As I started walking, I was shocked by the size of the park and the people being there. The park is filled with people, so it is very difficult to figure out the exact amount of people and the size of the area in one look.

What happened next took me by surprise for sure. The park was simply huge and was ‘divided’ in entertainment sections. While walking I found the barbeque family area, located under some huge trees that provided shadow and kept children away from the sun. Right across, there was a playground with a fence around it so the little ones can enjoy their time there as safe as possible.

Moving on, was the biggest part of the park. A massive open area, where young people were either having a picnic with friends or sunbathing. At a corner, a latin dance group was demonstrating their amazing dancing skills, luring everyone into the Latin rhythms.

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And then a basketball course. Of course all around the park, in various spots,  there were artists singing well-known songs or their own, vendors were selling shots and beers and others were selling handmade goods.

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Every Sunday, right along the park, one of the biggest flea markets takes place. You would definitely enjoy it if you could go check it out. But beware. When the events start, it gets extremely crowded and it might be difficult to enjoy it.

Mauerpark was one of the best experience I’ve had in Berlin. It is relaxed and fun, gives you a feeling of warmth and of belonging in the big Berlin family. I was not disappointed. My expectations were less. But Mauerpark made me fall in love even more with Berlin and its culture.

What to do in Berlin on a rainy day?

Yup! Lately, Berlin has ‘blessed’ us with nonstop rainy days, keeping us all inside the house with nothing to do. Especially people with children of all ages have a hard time to entertain their demanding kids, that create a chaos and go insane being ‘locked’ in a house with no options of having fun.

However, you can always find alternatives in Berlin for any kind of weather. The indoor options are quite a few and not at all disappointing.

Visit the Museums

Luckily, Berlin has more than 50 museums and most of them are worth visiting. Some of the ones I recommend are the National History Museum, Pergamon, Topography of Terrors, National Gallery, Museum of film and television and the German History museum. The choices are plenty, depending on what it is you are looking for.

Cinema Moments

A safe and nice choice is to go see the movie you have been waiting for. Do not mind the rain. Grab your popcorn and cola and enjoy a great movie, while remaining dry.

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Mall time

Going shopping on a rainy day does not have to be a pain in the ass. Prefer the malls on a rainy day, such as Alexa, Mall of Berlin, KaDeWe and my personal favourite: 3 malls in a row in Walther-Schreiber Platz. Plus it is the second and only location of a Primark store. Most of the malls in Berlin has small playground areas next to the cafeterias for your little ones.

Go Jumping or Bowling

Trampolines and bowling!!! Yayyy!! Who doesn’t love them? One of the best options for a rainy day. There are many bowling allies around Berlin to keep you entertained. As for the trampolines, visit Sprung Raum. If trampoline is not for you, you can choose parkour, basketball, dodgeball and others.

Kart Race

Your teenagers will love it and so will you. Take your friends and visit Berlin’s largest indoor race track of 752m. On their website, you will find all the information on prices, packages, the routes and the karts.

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by Berlin-Kart.de

Tropical Islands

Need I say more? Yes, I do. People are coming from all over Europe to visit Tropical Islands, Europe’s biggest tropical holiday world. Open all year long and 24/7 and accommodation options, makes it a true gem for someone that wants to relax and have fun during a rainy day; whether is summer or winter.

When it comes to an overnight stay, you can choose to stay in rooms, lodges or tents and as for food and drinks, they have many restaurants with a variety of cuisines and of course bars and lounges.

If spending the night is not your thing, simply go and enjoy the spa treatments and enjoy the attractions (rainforest, miniature golf, tropical village, etc.) and water worlds.

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by http://www.tropical-islands.de

Escape Rooms

Underground exploring

20 Things to do for Free In Berlin

1. Museum Island 

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Berlin is by far the Museum island. The architecture and the grand buildings will catch you by surprise and will definitely impress you. If you wish, you can also visit the museums. They are usually not free of charge or during special exhibitions and events, but they are all free every Thursday from 18:00 to 22:00.

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2. Free Your Stuff Berlin

A Facebook page, which you can enter after being accepted. You have no idea what you can find in there for free. From new and modern furniture to antiques and electric devices. And Yes!!! All Free! Just nice people giving them away!!

3. Flea market bargains

All of them are open during the weekend and the good thing is you might be lucky enough and find hidden treasures. Right now, there are 8 flea markets all over Berlin, each one with different sorts of items, waiting for you.

4. Admire the view from the top of Reichstag

Touring Reichstag is completely free, but you have to wait in line to book the time and day you want to visit. You might wait for 1,5 hours in line, but you will be rewarded with the view.

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5. Visit the Charlottenburg Palace

Even though you have to pay to enter the Palace, the gardens around are free. You have access to every part of the outside area and is truly worth it.

6. Explore Tiergarten

It took me about 4 hours to only see half of Tiergarten. Yes, it is huge. Yes, it is beautiful! Yes, it is nature at its best!! While exploring the area, you will come across palaces, lakes, gardens and sights. In the middle of it all is the Column of Victory.

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7. Picnic time 

When the weather allows it, go for a picnic like a true Berliner. Choose any park you want, such as Tiergarten, Mauerpark, the Victoria Park or the Tempelholfer Park. Pack your food and beers and enjoy your time on a hot day.

8. Get the Chills in the Holocaust Memorial

This memorial for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and is made in a specific way so that it gives the feeling of a heavy, uncomfortable and confusing environment. Totally free to visit, but be respectful. No music or loud noises are permitted.

 

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9. Enjoy outdoor karaoke at Mauerpark on Sundays

During spring and summer, every Sunday from 14:00, you can let loose and sing your heart out. The park is always full with hundreds of people singing or simply having fun. Definitely a MUST!!

10. Take in the art galleries at the Hackescher Markt

If you love art galleries, the Hackescher Markt is the place to be. The area itself is one of the most beautiful and alive in Berlin. If you visit on Thursdays, you will find a few galleries that also serve free wine and snacks. So, visit and combine culture with food.

11. Want to experience Thailand?

In the summer time, on every weekend you can go to a tiny park called Preußenpark or Thai Park and find some amazing food stands. You can explore Thailand’s food culture, by trying Khao Tom Mud, Khao Neow Ma Muang, Sammaki Talad Thai and a lot of papayas and mangos.

12. Walk along the East Side Gallery 

You can not come in Berlin without visiting the Berlin Wall and getting lost in intense emotions. Just walk along the wall and get emotional with the paintings drawn for the joy of the wall finally falling. The wall represents freedom, peace and hope for a better future.

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13. Admire the Molecule Man

If you feel like walking more after the Berlin Wall, 27 minutes away by foot, is the Molecule Man. A sculpture standing tall in the middle of the Spree River.  The American artist Jonathan Borofsky, created this sculpture as a representation of ”the molecules of all human beings coming together to create our existence”.

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14. Learn German

Yes, learn German for free. And it is getting better. Do so while having a drink and relaxing. How? By joining the events of Deutch für Dich. Visit their facebook website to find the timetable (levels, times and places) and just go have a drink and learn some German.

15. Help The Homeless

It is a great way to help the less fortunate and meet some really good and kind people. Visit the Homeless Veggie Dinner on Facebook and join these wonderful people that gather once every month and cook for the homeless.

16. Visit the parks. Like all of them!

All Berlin parks, are simply beautiful anytime you visit them from April to October before it starts getting really cold. All of the parks are breathtaking and give you a relaxed and easy-going feeling. You will find a lot of people simply hanging out or having a picnic and kids playing all around.

One of my favourite ones is the ViktoriaPark in Kreuzberg. So many visit the park on a daily basis. Besides a breathtaking park with lots of paths to explore, it has a huge waterfall mountain that starts from up high. On all levels of the waterfall, you will find people enjoying the cold water and hanging out.

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17. Go swimming in a lake!

Berlin might not have sea, but thankfully it has a lot of pools and lakes, most of them being easily accessible by public transportation. What makes the lakes special is that they have beaches. Oh yes! They give you the much-needed feeling of being in the sea.

18. Meetup for all

Meetup is a very popular website in Berlin, which offers seminars, conferences or simply meetups on all industries. From IT to business, as well as meetings to only meet people and network or even practice your German language skills with others. Most of the events are free, with some of them requiring a small fee or a donation.

19. Free events

gratis-in-berlin is my go-to website to find out all events that happen in Berlin during this month. They are way more than you might think, but thankfully you can find all of them right there. From astronomy to dance learning events.

20. Let loose at Tempelhofer Feld

It used to be an airport. You can imagine how big it is. It closed in 2008. Now, is a national park. It is a great area to go cycling or skateboarding. Even better, you can hang out with friends and have a barbeque or a picnic. What is great for your kids, is that you can let them go crazy and run around for as long as you want.

The Violent Incident In Berlin 19.12.16

Today was a sad day for Berliners. A truck drove directly into one of the busiest Christmas markets, killing 12 people and injuring way more.

Having no idea what happened, I was at home when my phone suddenly exploded with messages from friends and family. I was informed about the situation and the first thing I did was to call my mother and let her know I was fine before she heard the news. After that, I calmed everyone else down, assuring them I was safe.

I started researching about what happened and how, since I was trying to gather as much information as possible for what happened. I was confused. Nothing seemed like a terrorist attack. Then the Facebook safety check appeared, stating that it was indeed a terrorist attack. But I did not believe it.

For the past 8 hours, I have been reading all the newspapers looking for updates. But nothing is clear so far. And then Instagram blew up with “Pray for Berlin” pictures.

Is it truly a terrorist attack or are people now used to them so much that they immediately believe everything is? Without any valid information, all types of media began providing false information. Each one had different facts. I don’t know more details. No one does at this point. The German police are quite efficient and I have faith they will figure this out.

What pains me, are my thoughts of all those people having a good time and all of a sudden losing their lives or their loved ones. During the Christmas holidays that everyone is so happy and let loose.

Yes, I could be there. I’ve been there quite a few times and I was planning on going back,  since it was a beautiful Christmas market. But I wasn’t there tonight. I was lucky and I can’t spend my time thinking “what If”. I am scared of many things, but I will not let this “new reality” keep me locked in my house. 

We all have to be more cautious. Sadly, this is the way things work nowadays. I wish that the people who lost their lives tonight find peace and the ones that stayed behind be strong.

10 Reasons to fall in love with Berlin at Christmas

Besides recent events that occurred in Berlin a few days ago, I stand by my choice to live here. No matter what, this city keeps on inspiring me daily, refreshing me and making me not regret a single moment of my life.

I Love Christmas…

I Love Berlin…

Christmas in Berlin is an amazing experience. Everyone should at least visit Berlin once during the winter holidays.

1. Christmas Markets

Even if you don’t plan on visiting any of Berlin’s Christmas markets, there is no chance you will miss them on your way around town. But then again, I cannot imagine someone coming to Berlin and not visiting at least 4 of them.

Each area has one Christmas market, with the biggest and most famous being the ones in Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz (& Alexa), Postdamer Platz and Gedächtniskirche in Charlottenburg.

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Sony Center
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Arkaden Mall

2. Christmas Decorations Around The City

During the winter holidays, Berlin will leave you speechless. Everything, and I mean everything is decorated. Stores, streets, even the trees. The decorations whether grand or not, they are beautiful and catch your eye in an instant.

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Alexanderplatz
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Postdamer Platz

3. Shop Till You Drop

It’s only normal that you will shop a lot during the holidays. Clothes, Christmas house decorations and presents. What better than combining your shopping with some great sales. It is not a secret that during this time of year, stores in Berlin offer some pretty good sales or offers. Put on your flats and take advantage of them.

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Arkaden Mall
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KaDeWe

4. Fireworks

We are not talking about just fireworks. Berliners really know how to deal with fireworks. On New Year’s Eve, at midnight wherever you are you will most likely experience a beautiful firework show. If possible, get somewhere high up to enjoy them and get amazing pictures.

I have already seen fireworks around the city at random times. Probably they are getting ready for New Years.

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by flyvictor.com

5. Botanical Garten

Open until 1st of January 2017, from 17:00 to 23:00 daily, you have to visit the Botanical Garden in Berlin. Every holiday season, the garden turns into a magical and breathtaking wonderland with illuminations and 3D decorations. There are various food tents and fireplaces all around.

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by inyourpocket.com
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by inyourpocket.com

6. Fun Activities

If you want to do something other than shopping and drinking, then you have choices. You can take your children to the Christmas markets and let them enjoy the carousels and ferris wheels. At Sony Center, there is a fairy that kids find fascinating.

You can visit Alexa mall in Alexanderplatz to see the big fun fair. Another choice is to go to the different events happening around town or go ice-skating in Postdamer Platz, the Botanical Garden or Alexanderplatz.

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Postdamer Platz
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Fairy Stella

7. Events

There are events happening in various areas of Berlin every single day. Whether you choose to visit Sony Center for the Enchanting Christmas Season to see the dance show for free or pay for THE ONE Grand show, the biggest show in Berlin at the moment, you will have a great time.

Museums also have events, with special exhibitions just for the holiday season. Bars have live shows or parties on specific days of the month. Dancing performances, live music, free tango and dance lessons, concerts and street food festivals are some of the top options.

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by berlin-welcomecard.de

8. New Year’s Eve

Once in your life, you have to experience a New Year’s Eve outside among thousands of people. Doing so in Berlin, will not disappoint you. From Brandenburg Tor until the Victory Column, live music, performances and artists wait for you. The shows begin at 19:00. You can visit before to see the rehearsals. Once it’s midnight, the sky fills with fireworks and around you people smile, laugh and hug.

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by berlin.de

9. Nightlife

Take your pick. Bars, restaurants, clubs, street food, live music. Nights in Berlin offer anything you want. Any kind of entertainment for any kind of culture. No matter where you go, all places are filled with people, even during weekdays, something not common in the rest of Germany.

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by bestclubsin.com

10. Sightseeing

Visiting Berlin during Christmas does not mean you only come for the markets and decorations. Above all, the sights are Berlin’s gem and are worth seeing all year long. From Museum Island to Victoria Park, all museums, parks and sights must become your choice for a break from all the Christmas craziness.

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Berlin Cathedral
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Victory Column

5 Best Christmas Markets in Berlin

During the holiday season, Berlin lights up everywhere and takes your breath away. There are Christmas markets all over town, some bigger than others. Being a first timer in Berlin at Christmas, of course, I had to visit all of them and see for myself if they are worth it.

 

5. Christmas Market in Alexanderplatz

Location: U Alexanderplatz

When:  21 November 2016 – 26 December 2016

Opening Times: 10:00 – 22:00  (Alexanderplatz)

Entrance: Free

What to do: Buy carved figures, drink Glühwein,buy glass or wooden ornaments and toys

There is nothing better than going to the heart of the city and spend some time in this Christmas Market. Definitely one of the busiest markets in Berlin. What makes it special is that it is in the centre of Berlin, giving you many choices regarding sights, food, shopping. Get on the second or third floor of Saturn for a view of the whole market. On the 24th of December, the market will be open from 10:00 – 14:00.

4. The Big Berlin Christmas Market at Alexa

Location: U Alexanderplatz

When:  21 November 2016 – 23 December 2016

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 13:00 – 22:00 / Sat-Sun 11:00 – 22:00

Entrance: Free

What to do: Get on the rides, buy lottery tickets, drink Glühwein, eat a lot

The Alexa market has a fun fair, filled with a lot of attractions to enjoy. It is for sure a great place to spend your day, especially for a family day out.  You get in the holiday spirit and have fun at the same time.

3. Winterworld at Postdamer Platz

Location: S Postdamer Platz Bahnhof

When: 04 November 2016 – 01 January 2017

Opening Times: 10:00 – 22:00

Entrance: Free

What to do: Go skating, buy textile products, buy all kinds of crafts and sweets

Truly a beautiful market on a very busy street of Berlin. Even though the market might seem small at first, it is not. If you start walking, you will find out that is way bigger, going all the way to Arkaden mall and Sony Center. Everything is decorated, even the trees on the street. The malls are beautifully decorated. On Christmas Eve, the market closes at 14:00. 

 

2. Weihnachtszauber at Gendarmenmarkt

Location:  Am Gendarmenmarkt 2, 10117 Berlin Mitte

When: 21 November 2016 – 31 December 2016

Opening Times: 11:00 – 22:00

Entrance:  1€  / free for children under 12

What to do: Try high-class dishes, see performances from renowned artists, find all the unique merchandisers, find the origami master

By far the most popular Christmas market in Berlin. It is surrounded by grand and amazing landmarks and it gives its visitors a feeling of warmth and elegance. There are so many unique merchandisers around the market, that specialise in a variety of crafts, such as an ivory carver, an embroiderer and a milliner among others, who provide high-quality goods. There is also an origami master, who you must definitely visit since his work is amazing.

Looking for something to eat? What better than a Michelin-star chef? What about more than one Michelin-star chefs? They prepare gourmet dishes for everyone and I recommend you try at least a dish from them.

 

1. 33rd Christmas Market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Location: Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin Charlottenburg

When: 21 November 2016 – 01 January 2017

Opening Times: Sun-Thu 11:00 – 21:00

Fri-Sat 11:00 – 22:00

Entrance:  Free

What to do: Buy Christmas ornaments, buy winter clothes, eat caramelised nuts and homemade eggnog

Located between Kurfürstendamm and the Zoologischer Garten, this market is simply beautiful and so inviting. There are carousels for all children to have fun and all sorts of sausages for grownups. Walking outside the market, you will see some amazing decorations all around.

Special Opening Hours: 

24th December (Christmas eve): 11a.m. – 2p.m.
25th & 26th December (Christmas): 1p.m. – 9p.m.
31st December (New Year’s eve): 11a.m. – 2a.m.
1st January (New Year): 1p.m. – 9p.m.