Should you visit Berlin? Absolutely not, as these five things prove. Not only will you have to endure a city where everyone seems to have no responsibilities and only want to party, your trip will then ruin the rest of your life when looking back at the very few things Berlin does well. Read on for some important warnings on why you shouldn’t bother visiting Berlin…
After Berlin, you’ll hate clubbing
Clubbing in Berlin is like nothing else I’ve experienced. From the ridiculous door policies and marathon opening times to the endless techno, you’ll find that the nightlife in Germany’s capital is very unusual. But after just one night of being indoctrinated into the Berlin way of doing things, you’ll realise that they just do it better.
In Berlin clubs, it’s frowned upon to take photos – in some, photography is banned. But why would you want to take photos of your mates in the club anyway? Just enjoy the moment, your life shouldn’t be about showing off to your Instagram followers. Who cares if you got into Berghain, anyway??
You also won’t find any mirrors in the club toilets, either. Or anywhere else for that matter. But if you’re actually there to have a good time, does it even matter what you look like?
Next is the music. No one loves techno quite as much as Berliners do. Last time I went to Ipse in east Berlin, the crowd cheered after each DJ finished their set. Moments later, the next DJ would come on and play what sounds like the exact same track, only with a slightly different snare drum sample.
And if you’re not into the hypnotic, monotonous music, you’re not getting in, because the bouncers will quiz you on who’s playing.
However, after clubbing in Berlin, you’ll realise that clubs elsewhere are full of posers who are just there to be seen, pretending to have fun. Does anyone even have fun in clubs outside of Berlin? Most likely, they’re not. In Berlin, they’re actually there because they love the music.
And that’s how it should be. Why go to a club with ludicrous drinks prices to pretend you’re something you’re not and live a lifestyle you don’t lead, just to impress a load of other people who’re in exact same boat as you. You might be sitting in the VIP booth, but truth is after tonight you’ll be back on your zero hours contract job or skipping your media studies lecture.
At least in Berlin, clubbers are honest. When you get home, clubbing will be ruined for you as you’ll realise just how futile and pathetic it is anywhere else.
You’ll feel poor when you get home
Berlin is probably one of the cheapest major cities in the world. Want a latte at the train station? It’s yours for the princely sum of €1. Want a kebab? That’s €3.50. In fact, the only thing that’s overpriced is entry to the TV Tower.
Trust me, in just a few days you’ll get used to the low prices (unless you head over to Poland or Hungary next!) and when you get home, if you’re from the UK, the USA, or elsewhere in western or northern Europe, things will suddenly seem so expensive.
On a night out in east Berlin, you could have a beer for under €2. That would cost you around £5 in London. We even picked up 0.5l bottles of beer at a convenience store for €0.60. Sixty cents. That’s insanely cheap!
The history is sh*t
Nothing ever happened in Berlin. It might be the capital of Germany, but Germany only became a country in 1871. Even the USA has 100 years on that, while England was unified in the 10th century and has been a country ever since.
Plus, Berlin was almost totally destroyed in 1945. And nothing really happened after that…
Of course in reality, Berlin was one of the major flash points in the Cold War. Take the Berlin Crisis in 1961, where US and Soviet tanks had a standoff for 16 hours, 50 meters apart, with live ammunition. Chilling stuff.
Or the Berlin Wall, and the numerous escape attempts that led to hundreds of East Germans tragically dying at the hands of the border guards, as well as the fascinating stories of how a handful of people got away with it through their audacious escape attempts. You can learn about these at the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie.
And who can forget the former German Democratic Republic? If you’ve been watching Deutschland 83, you’ll already know about the East German Communist state. Find out what life was like behind the iron curtain in the DDR museum in Berlin Mitte. Though it was one of the more successful communist states, you’ll learn that freedom was severely restricted, and find out how the population coped by listening to communist music, watching steroid-fuelled sports, and going on nudist beach holidays (yes, really).
You’ll miss the chilled culture
Berlin is known for it’s chilled freewheeling spirit, that’s much less intense than other large cities like London or Paris. You’ll find the people here are really down to earth and relaxed. In the summer months, many people sit out drinking at beach bars on the banks of the river Spree, or take a dip in the Badeschiff.
They’re not uptight about when clubs close like in other cities – parties from Friday night are known to stay open until Monday morning. No matter what time of day or day of the week, you’ll see people relaxing and having fun, partly down to the rise of flexi-time working hours in the city.
The city is also home to around 20,000 artists, drawn to the city thanks to cheap rents and tons of studio space. Similarly, Berlin is a hotspot for tech startups, meaning there’s lots of hipsters to meet in the multitude of quirky, independent bars.
After you leave, you’ll miss the constant party scene, particularly if you’re going back to the daily grind of the rat race back home.
The only cuisine is tacky street food
Bologna has bolognese, Tokyo has sushi, and Berlin has… doner kebabs?
But these aren’t the standard greasy kebabs you’d pick up at 3 am after stumbling out of a grimy provincial Essex nightclub. The döner im brot is ubiquitous across Berlin, and absolutely delicious, served with salad, and both garlic and herb and hot sauce. The grilled bread that these kebabs are served in makes all the difference, rather than the dry pitta you’d get served in the UK. While you can pick up a doner anywhere, you can find the best in the city here.
Let’s also not forget the famous curry wurst, made from a steamed, then fried pork sausage, served with a ketchup based sauce topped with curry powder, and a side of fries.
The humble curry wurst owes its existence to World War Two. The dish was invented by Herta Heuwer in Charlottenburg, west Berlin, in 1949. Having acquired curry powder, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce from the occupying British troops, serving up the first curry wursts to the construction workers rebuilding the city.
Today, Berliners can’t get enough, guzzling 70 million of them each year.
So yes, food in Berlin really is the wurst (sorry)