Monday, 27 April 2015

Berlin - Shopping tips

I'll admit that i am quite a shopper when im outside Denmark. I use all my money outside Denmark pretty much. And now that i have been in Berlin 4 times now, i though i could come with a few tips where to shop and what to think about, when you are in Berlin and want to spend some money.

My personal favorite place to be in Berlin! There is always some kind og market here. When i was there the had a huge easter market with live music in the evening. But it does attract a lot of people and sadly also a lot of gypsies who will try to convince you that they are raising money for some charity for mute or deaf people. They normally go around in groups and spreads out in a small area and holds a sign up for you to read and sign.

  • Anyway my favorite clothes store Primark. It is crazy cheap and they have something for everyone! Women, men and children. But it obvious! This store is stuffed with people and it hard to get around. I went there an afternoon and gave up but when i came the day after before noon there was very few people and i could spend too many money in there. Yet again! 
  • Another store worth visiting if you love technology or music is Saturn. A huge builing you cant oversee. If you can't find a speciel CD or game at home, you are sure that Saturn has it. They basiclly have all new gadget and i have bought everything from camara bags to headsets here. I normally write down a whole list of stuff i need to buy, before i'm going to Germany to find a Saturn. 
  • Alexa mall is just across the road (Otto-Braun Straße) from Alexander Platz. It's a really ugly mall (sorry) and i guess a architectural experiment? But it is a great place to shop as well! If you are a little geeky as me you may visit Elbenwald when you are there. They have some great merchandise from movies and books like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars etc. In this Mall they have Media Markt which is alot like Saturn.
Market at Alexanderplatz

Kurfürstendamm is kind of like Oxford Street in London if you have to compare with anything. It is a 3,5 km long shoppingstreet but if you are looking for something not too expensive, this is not really a place for you. It is quite a nice walk down the sidewalk and looking at the windows of the different design stores, but i can't simply afford it myself. Sure there is a few huge H&M placed on the street and an awesome old school music store CITY MUSIC there is fun to visit, but after the record store be turned around again and headed to Hard Rock Cafe which is also placed on Kurfürstendamm. But if you are at Kurfürstendamm i have a few things you could visit.
  • At the end of Kurfürstendamm near Berlin ZOO there sometimes happen to be a smaller market like at AlexanderPlatz or some street artists doing something entertaining. 
  • If you go along Kantstraße (from the zoo crossing) you might find a few Chinese stores. It is Berlins "Chinatown" if you can call it that. These stores are really quaint and is stuffed with everything good from the eastern culture. I think i saw an antique Egyptian store as well. But the reason i went on this long walk down Kantstraße was to find the Japanese store! It is once again one of my geeky stores where you can buy japanese cartoons "mangas" (most are in german) and japanese candy. They do as well have clothes and a really cool kawaii foto booth! I was so tempted to take some cute pictures but it's not that fun alone. 
  • If you go the other was (from the zoo crossing) you end up at Tauentzienstraße. It is too a shopping street and here you find the extremly expensive but beautiful mall KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) and Lego store. If you turn down Passauer Straße next to KaDeWe there is a huge underground creative store called Idee. which is worth a visit, if you are in need of art supplies of any kind.
U-bahn on Kurfürstendam

Spandau was an old german city that got swallowed by the big city of Berlin but it remains a quite place and not so downtown-ish as the rest of Berlin. If you take the U-bahn to Altstadt Spandau (which is still in zone B) you can go around and enjoy a bit of shopping in what seems like a normal little german city. The rivers Havel and Spree meets here so there is also a opportunity to eat near the water.
  • If you take the U-bahn to the endstation (one more stop from Altstadt Spandau) to Rathaus Spandau or follows the street Carl-Schurz-Straße you are again in the big city. In front of the City Hall (Bürgeramt Rathaus Spandau) there is often a market and it is known for this market actually. 
  • Not a long walk from the City Hall is the Spandau Arcaden. It was one of my favorite places because it is for normal people! (joke aside) Not all design stores and all that. It is a really pretty mall and there is touch screens that can help you to find everything in there. If you are looking for clothes you get a whole list or if you want somthing to eat, it can show you where to find it. In engelish. When i was there they had some costume play going on and a group of stormtrooper were going around. It was really awesome! And if you go there, make sure to try the icecream at Eiscafe Fantasia-del-gelato. It is fantastic!!!
Spandau Arcaden
Grocery Stores
If you want to save some money and don't want to eat out every day you can buy a lot of sandwiches and fruit-to-go in the grocery stores. They are normally not at the turist places but search and you will find. There is a page that can help you find the nearest grocery store, if you have an address of where you are, but the page is really confussing to me, but i hope it will help you anyway 
  • For food you will need to find an Aldi, Lidl or Rewe ect. Personally i love Rewe the most because of their selection of non-milk products now that i am allergic and they are very kind to vegetarians as well. 
  • For everyday care and sanitary stuff you should search for DM, Schlecker or Müller. They are all very cheap and has a huge selection of shampoo, parfume and what ever you need like that. There is a DM on AlexanderPlatz. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Berlin - you most try Balzac Coffee!

If there is a thing i L-O-V-E about London, it is all the coffee places! It is a bit harder to find in Berlin (in my opinion) so when i found this place i was thrilled! 

It was across the street to the Check Point Charlie Museum so i went in there before and after my museum visit, because i just needed it. I am not a coffee drinker, but a tea drinker, so i can only take my moms word for it, but they made som great coffee and some great hot chocolate!
But what was the best, was actually the food. It was like i was back in the great London coffee shops! All the sandwiches!

But if you ever find a Balzac Coffe (which you absolutlly need) then try their mini donuts. I was in heaven and didn't wanted to share. You get 6 in a pack and i ate 4 of them... ups.. 

Anyway! The place was really old fashion and the tables looked like they were covered in old newspapers. They played music from the 60's and it was just really chill in there.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Berlin - Travel tip!

If you are planig a trip to Berlin in the future i will suggest to take a look at the Berlin welcome cards!

With this set you are good to go! It is really easy. You can pay for them at home or go to one of their offices (which is right at the airport or at the biggest turist attractions like brandenburger Tor. 

You get a train/bus ticket for the A and B zone which is pretty much the only thing you need, if you are just a normal turist, because everything is pretty much in Centrum. First time you use this ticket, you have to find one of the yellow boxes shown on the picture above. You only stemple it once! When you buy your Welcome Card you can chose between a ticket for 1, 3 or 5 days. 

You get a book which is full of discount! It gives you 25-50% off the price at most museums and some restaurants. Ex i got a free dessert at Hard Rock Cafe and got 28% on the spree boat trip i told about here.  

Along with that you get a detailed map which is a bit bigger than those you get free at the hotels and a tubemap (U-bahn and S-bahn) which is a lifesaver!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Berlin - sightseeing, guiding and IIWW

I just can't stay away! Yet again i'm home from a week in Berlin! 

It was fourth I was there so i know centrum pretty well now. This time i brought my parents like i did with London. My dad is the biggest IIWW geek ever, so i though it was THE palce for him, but he didn't knew what he wanted to see, so before the trip i did read a whole lot about the war and the different monuments, so i could guide them around and tell my dad a lot he already knew about the places, but was too lacy to suggest we should see. 
lucky for me i am a somehow experienced traveler by now, so i could show them the turist side of Berlin and a bit of the underground in between, but more about that later. Here is some nice pictures of the turist side of Berlin. 

1. Fernsehturm - The tv tower. It was build on the east side of the wall in DDR and is 368m tall. You can buy a ticket to get in the kubel 204m up the tower. But prepare yourself for a long queue! "Stau Gefahr!" I have been in it 3 times before, but this time there was 6 hours queue!! (they tell you on a screen outside) It was the german easter vacation. (around 20euro)
2. Brandenburger Tor - the gate at the end of Under Den Linden was a royal entrance to the emperor castel which once where in the other end of Under Den Linden. It was right in between the castle and the summer castle Charlottenburg which is still there. Much of it is reconstruction because of IIWW.
3. Reistag - the german parliament building. One of the last places that was invaded by the russian at IIWW. If you go up close you can see all the gunshot holes in the building. You can buy a ticket to walk in the glass kubel on top of the parliament, but again there is normaly a long queue and some days they don't let that many in, if there is something political important going in there. I have never been inside but i have heard that the only was to make sure you get in (and skip the queue) is to reserve a table in the cafe in the kubel.

4. Siegessäule - The Berlin Victory Column from from when they beated the danes in the war 1864.Not going to say that i'm thrilled about this one, but it pretty nice to look at, even though it is kind of a kick in the face for my ancestors. But now that you walked all the way out to this column, then take a walk in the huge forest Tiergarden, which it is in the middle of. There is a few squirrel in there you can feed and a lot of monuments for som authors with a lot of flowers and small lakes around. 
5. Check point Charlie - One of the few places you could go from east to west Berlin before 1989, but if you were not invited there was a big chance, that you will be shot down. There is a great museum there now and if you are going to Berlin you simply have to visit this place. There are pictures of how creative people had to be, to sneak from one side of the wall to the other and the materials they used (cars, speakers and other stuff) are there as well, with dolls inside, so you can see how they were laying in there. You can not take any pictures in the museum, so i can't show you unfortunately. (12,5euro)
6. Spree - the river that runs though Berlin. If you visit the museum island or Berliner Dom (the Berlin Cathedral), you will see these platforms with turist boats. You can buy a 1 or 3 hours trip and it is a great way to relax the feet and still see Berlin. We did this at the fifth day and it was so relaxing. But one thing! Even if it pretty hot and no wind ashore, a magic wind always appears on the water. It makes no sense but remember an extra shirt or something! 
There is two companies that fights for the turist but i find the seats in Reederei Riedel best. They har sailing every half hour. (12euro)

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015

This year i'm participating Camp NaNoWriMo. I have done the orginal NaNoWriMo before which was writing a 50.000 word long novel in November. In the Camp you choose yourself what the goal is. I made a goal on 20.000 this time and here the 5. day i already passed the 10.000 so im doing great.

The novel i write on is 'The game of the guardian angels' and is in danish, now that i don't write that fast in english. You can find it on my writing blog here. I will update it when i have a new Chapter done. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

WIP pictures of Andy Biersack close up

I did this drawing of my beloved Andy Biersack before the concert with Black Veil Brides. I send it to their e-mail dedicated to fanart so i hope they see it sometimes and put it on their facebook page! It would mean the world to me! 

The first two pics looks weird because they were taking in the night.