Meet Dan and Audrey, the husband and wife team who have been “measuring the Earth” by way of sixty-five countries in over four years. They’re adventurers with a love of street food (guinea pig excluded), traveling by public transport (yes, even chicken buses) and meeting people from all walks of life all over the world. They’re accustomed to wearing many hats, often shedding their dusty traveling clothes for professional presentations, conferences and projects.
The love of travel is only one reason that keeps Dan and Audrey on the road. The couple also aims to “humanize” the places they visit by sharing articles, photos, videos and audiocasts on their blog, Uncornered Market. Equally important is their hope that through personal interactions with people all over the world, they will “alter the view of America that people get from” the media and pop culture. They consider these efforts to be a form of public diplomacy. Find out more about Dan and Audrey’s journey, learnings and recommendations on their blog. You can also follow along with their journey on Twitter and Facebook.
Currently, Boingo members Dan and Audrey are touring Berlin, and they were kind enough to share their top five recommendations for enjoying Germany’s capital city. Have a look and us know if you’ve experienced any of the below.
1. The Best Food in Berlin: Turkish Cuisine
Some of the best food in Berlin is actually Turkish in origin. Not only is it fresh and delicious, but you can eat very well for around €5. The Kreuzberg neighborhood has a large Turkish population and is one of our go-to areas for food. Some of our favorite places include: Gel Gör for köfte (grilled minced meat balls) sandwiches, Knofi for gozleme (stuffed Turkish pancake), Mustafas for chicken and roasted vegetable kebab and Tadim for lahmacun aka Turkish pizzas (flat bread topped with spiced minced meat).
2. Best Time of the Year to Go: Summer and Early Fall
Late summer and early fall is a wonderful time to visit as you’ll be treated to warm, sunny weather, but enjoy the changing of the leaves and crispness of the air. Summertime is also fun because there are non-stop events throughout the city, including the Berlin Beer Festival in late July/early August with over 2,000 kinds of beer to sample.
3. Hidden Gems: Neighborhoods and Parks
Each of Berlin’s neighborhoods has a different feel and look to it. It’s like visiting multiple cities in one day. Some favorite neighborhoods include Kreuzberg, Friederichshain and Neukolln for a more gritty and urban feel. Mitte and Prenzlauerberg have art galleries, cute cafes and high end restaurants. Keep your eyes open for creative graffiti on the sides of buildings and other unusual areas.
Berlin’s parks are also gems. The city has so much green space; it’s hard to go more than a few miles before stumbling upon another park. A few favorites include:
- Treptower: visit the Soviet War Memorial, rent a paddleboat to explore the waterways or grab a beer at one of the beer gardens on the water.
- Tempelhof: this former airport of Berlin airlift fame is now a park open to the public. Where else can you ride your bike down a runway?
- Tiergarten: this Berlin’s most famous park, right in the center of town. Visit the Tea House for free concerts in the Summer.
- Mauerpark: go on Sunday afternoons for karaoke in the park and one of the largest flea markets in the city.
4. Best Way to Get Around: Bike or Public Transportation
Rent a bike. Berlin is one of the best cities to bicycle — the city is flat, has tons of bicycle lanes and cars are very bicycle-friendly. The city is huge, so biking allows you flexibility to explore large areas without feeling overwhelmed. You’ll also get to notice the changes from street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood.
If you’re not into biking, don’t worry. Berlin’s public transportation system will get you to almost any place you may possibly need to go. And, on weekends it runs 24 hours a day, so you never have to worry about missing the last U-bahn of the night.
5. Must-Buy Souvenir: Ampelmännchen Paraphernalia!
Not only is Ampelmännchen a cute little guy, there’s a fun story behind him. Before the East and West German unification, East Berlin used this cute guy with a hat for traffic lights at pedestrian crossings. When Germany unified, the government wanted to standardize crosswalk signs to the West German boring standard. But a campaign began to bring back Ampelmännchen. Today, you can find Ampelmännchen in use at crosswalks in both east and west Berlin.
If you’ve been to Berlin, what are your top tips for any of the above categories?