This past week I finally let go of my stressed out mindset of oh my god I have to make a LIFE in Berlin right now and I got to relax and just be a tourist for a little bit. That is the wonderful thing about having friends come to visit! Remember that sweet and smiley Canadian couple I met in Iceland and road-tripped with for a couple days? Well it just so happened that they were stopping through Berlin, so I was happy to invite them to stay and run around the city with them, seeing things I hadn't had the chance to see yet. Of which there was a lot. Berlin is freakin huge. And full of stuff.
So out of all of the stuff we saw and did, I have paired it all down to my three top favorites. Put simply, here are my Berlin tourism must-sees.
1. Tempelhof Airport
Don't be confused. This is actually a park, and basically a dream come true for me. It is a huge airport landing strip turned into a public park for running, cycling, wind-roller-skate-surfing, whatever. Being a travel junkie, I love all things airplane related. Plus the park is home to this bizarre little artist garden thing with huts made out of sticks and trash and free books. Oh, Berlin. You would.
2. Design Panoptikum
One of the most bizarre museums I have ever been to (second only to the Museum of Witchcraft in Iceland), this place could easily be viewed as nothing but glorified garbage. But it is oh so much more than that.
You arrive and are instantly greeted by this one Russian man who conceptualized and created the entire museum. I don't want to spoil it for you, but he basically tells you all about his crazy ideas and how everything in the space should make you think about objects and functionality in a new way, turn the real world into a fantasy world, and in the end you will emerge twice as smart as you were before. The whole thing twists your mind into funny shapes in the greatest way possible.
He also happens to be a photographer and his genius self-portraits are on display in the back room. I could elaborate on this museum for pages and pages, but you really just have to see it all for yourself.
3. The Pergamon Museum
Located on Museum Island, the Pergamon blew me away so much more than I expected. I generally choose art over historical museums. Ancient relics don't always do it for me. However the way this place is laid out like you are in Pergamon along with the enormous scale of the reproductions of buildings from the Byzantine era seriously made my jaw drop. It's one of those times when looking at really old things is more than just looking at really old things. It's an experience. Trust me.
There's obviously so much more to do in Berlin that I haven't even gotten to yet in the month that I've been here, but these three things are unique to the city and definitely worth seeing, even if you are only here for a weekend.
Oh and one other thing that Grace, Greg and I agreed on? Berlin has the best and cheapest falafel/shwarma that we've ever had. Eat as much as possible.