Last February we were able to attend (& enjoy!) the 64th Berlinale Film festival thanks to our great friends Lucila, Eduard, Núria & Marc, whom gave us the trip as a present for our wedding (more on the wedding and honeymoon in future posts!).
We travelled there with Easyjet and were accommodated in a modern hotel called the H2 in Alexanderplatz (a very centric location). If you are going to the city I would recommend the hotel as it is a very convenient location, popular for itself and at a walking distance to one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Berlin called Prenzlauer Berg. However there are not many restaurants close to the hotel, so you should think ahead and eat near your last visiting place of the day (or expect to walk for 15-30 minutes).
Although we also wished to discover some new places in the city (this was our second visit, so the highlights were not important for us this time), the main reason for our trip was the Berlinale film festival. So, weeks ahead, we reserved through their main website our tickets. The reservation was a little confusing: not all the tickets were sold online and there were not released the same day. That was a huge inconvenience as you are expected to be at 10:00 a.m sharp in front of a computer (and in consecutive days), or otherwise there are sold out right away. Finally we were able to score 2 tickets to Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land! being our other (not so lucky) choices Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach and Don Jon’s Addiction by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
We were in the city for the weekend and the movie was on Saturday, so the plan was Saturday morning Berlinale, afternoon at Prenzlauer Berg and Sunday going to a flea market. The first morning we rose to a beautiful white ensemble outside, we are not used to the snow in Barcelona, so it was a wonderful treat for us! but, let’s go! We had to go to Postdamer Platz were the Berlinale has its headquarters in order to get the real tickets. There were two lines there, one for the already online reserved and another (the looong one) for the non-reserved ones.
With the tickets in hand, off we went to the Friedrichstadt-Palast were the movie was projected. The first surprise there was that we would had to wait in line under the snow (no protection) while the red carpet which was the only place covered was empty. The second one was the weird organization. After the first line in the street you were guided inside the hall of the theater, with all the doors closed. So everyone, no matter your place in the first line, waited in the same place without any lines whatsoever. That surprised us because Germans are generally known for being extremely organized. Despite this, once we were inside the theater we realized that almost all the seats were equally well suited. It was also great the palpable feeling of the Berlinale as an international film festival, lots of people from different countries and sharing their opinions in different languages before the film started, it was excellent!. The movie itself was good, maybe more in the commercial side of the Gus Van Sant career, but with a very interesting (and touchy!) subject.
After the movie we were starving (that is quite usual in me, not for the hubs (at all), which is just not fair, hehehe!) and went to a (internet recommended) Japanese restaurant called Kuchi which unfortunately and despite of its cute decoration has been one of the worst I’ve ever been. It is a little let-down when this happens during a trip but we were sure we would be more successful with our other recommendations for the day!
During the afternoon we visited Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg (thanks Lucila for the heads up!) a cute neighborhood with trendy shops. We liked the shops but we prefer more crowded places, it was a little isolated for our taste. However we were extremely delighted with the typography used for the street names, the numbers of the buildings and the signs in the subway.
We had dinner in a wonderful Vietnamese called Mounsier Vuong which we loved! We were seated next to a lovely lady who recommended us that day’s specialty that consisted of noodles with duck. Sooo very yummy! If you go there be warned that a lot of dishes are on the spicy side, so be prepared for hot food and make sure to have a glass of water near you as well!. The soups were also delicious and especially we loved the cripsy rolls, which I think are a must if you eat at Mr. Vuong. Once out of the restaurants we saw a long queue waiting to be served under the snow. The staff was extremely kind taking hot tea as a compliment for those waiting outside, very thoughtful!.
On Sunday we were excited to experience the flea markets in Germany. The flohmarkt (flea market in German) was in Mauerpark and had lots of interesting things! We loved the furniture and were enchanted with a lego stand. One beautiful thing about the emplacement was the big space surrounding the market covered with snow. We were told that in the summer there is an spontaneous karaoke that takes place there!
After our window-shopping market visit, we went to a brunch place called Cafe Anna Blume. We had read that it is very popular now in Berlin to have brunch on Sundays (I think this is quite international nowadays) and that Anna Blume was one of the most-loved places for the locals (please correct me Berliners!). After waiting in line (how many queues in this trip! more than in Japan! hehehe) we were able to enjoy our brunch. Although we opted for crepes and fried eggs, the Berliners had towers with several cheese and ham that not looked so appealing for us. I am afraid that Jamón Ibérico in Spain can’t be beaten in the ham territory, hehehe. The place has a french-inspired decoration, an enchanting staff and atmosphere.
And that was our weekend in Berlin! Thanks again to our friends for the great experience!