This is a quick note about how to survive well in Berlin.
First of all you should purchase Berlin Welcomecard – which gives you discounts in sights as well as unlimited public transportation.
If you do not need the discounts to entrance fees and others – you can also buy just the normal travelcard, which is few euros cheaper.
Besides the public transportation map you will need also a proper map of the city. Both of which you get with the Berlin Welcomecard.
Should you have also an iPhone or iPad – you can also get quite good offline maps for your device.
Good thing with this app is that it will show also the direction you are looking — helping you to orient yourself.
Other way to orient yourself would be to use a compass. I used my Suunto Ambit.
Internet connectivity is naturally available in every Starbucks, but starbucks are not available in every corner.
Therefore local SIM for internet use can be a good idea.
I use Blau.de – which sells 10 euro start packets in places like Saturn ( elctronics store in Alexander Platz, Kudam and other places ). Packet has a normal SIM which also has a micro module, so it works with iPad or iPhone 4 also.
10 euros start packet does not get you far, so I loaded additional 15 euros to the account with a voucher bought from local Esso gas station. With the 10 euros and additional euros I was able to purchase 5GB flat internet package – which was more than enough for all time connectivity on my iPad.
Having the internet-connectivity anywhere – gives you great flexibility in deciding what to do, where to go and how to make your plans.
We thoroughly enjoyed the ability to get updates on what is going on in the city as well as check opening times, make reservations and so on wherever we were.
If you carry around a DSLR – I suggest to use a Rapid Strap.
With it you can carry the camera on your side, get it into use fast without taking your backpack off and manage all that without looking like a Japanese tourist.
For backpack I’ve lately used waterproof Ortlieb backpack, which has few benefits compared to many others. Waterproofing is beneficial if you happen to stumble upon any sort of thunderstorm and rain — which can happen quite often even in Berlin. The other benefit is the fact that all the zippers are extremely tight and impossible to open without me noticing it, even when the backpack is in my back. Therefore it was quite safe to use even in crowded places and in the tube.
To get anything you need or have accidentally forgotten home, you can go to KaDeWe.
It is the best department store in Berlin and if you don’t find what you are searching from there – you don’t need it.
Besides they have a really good champagne bars.
If you want to move around in Berlin efficiently, you could also use alternative transports than public transportation.
Bicycles are really popular – and can be rented.
Running is also good way to move.
Especially if you want to get to know the areas with lots of parks.
Parks are also great places for picnics – and during a sunny day it is also popular thing to do by the locals.
Tiergarten is one natural place for picnic, but other Volksparks are great options.
Relax, eat something, read a little and enjoy.
Our favorite is Volkspark Friedrichshain.
If you feel adventurous and have more time, I thoroughly suggest to visit also larger green areas like Grunewald, Wannsee and Peacock Island.
Regarding the food Berlin can be everything you ever wanted. From two star restaurants to 3 euro snacks. Try them all.
I’ve had the best falafel and kebab in Berlin. Mo’s kleiner Imbiss serves amazing falafel, Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebab really good kebab and decent currywurst can be got around the town. You can write and read reviews in german for example from http://www.restaurant-kritik.de/Deutschland/Berlin.
If you want to try something amazing, I suggest to try Dos Palillos.
See more about the Dos Palillos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/huimanet/sets/72157634699276847/
It is amazing how well you can eat in Berlin for less than 10 euros – or then again for few hundred euros per person.
About places to see and visit one place has to be promoted. Liquidrom is a modern spa in west Berlin and amazing place to wash the day away – and relax.
Be prepared to nudity – as in saunas people are either totally nude or clad only in towels. In pools you should wear your bathing suit.
Amazing place to visit and see, especially the big relaxation pool – where you can just float around in quietness, listen to ambient music and watch a light show.
I like it.