▨ Jamie McHale


Short city break · June 2024

H and I had our first holiday with just the two of us since Jack was born. We’d been away overnight before, but not for more than one day. We decided on Berlin as it is cheap and quick to get to from Edinburgh, and there were flights every day should we need to return.

We booked an AirBnb in Neukölln, close to places to eat, the canal and transport links into the city. The area was nice, the apartment clean, bright and quiet. We spent most mornings relaxing and reading, followed by brunch and then a trip into the city.

Here are the highlights:

First evening was settling in with pizza at Mater.

On the first full day we had at Venue Breakfast where they serve small tapas-style plates. We had wurst, eggs, avo, grapefruit, calliflower and a crepe. The vibe was nice, with lots of folks out enjoying the sunshine.

We went up to the Jewish Museum which is well worth a trip. The architecture really creates an emotional connection: the slope of the floor and the crossed corridors leading to the Holocaust Tower and Garden of Exile, then the stairs ascending up towards the “continuity” parts of the museum.

Garden of Exile at the Jewish Museum

That evening we had dinner at Cafe Pilz, also serving up Middle-Eastern style small plates. It was packed, but we got a nice window seat.

Dinner at Cafe Pilz

On the second day I took a quick 3km run around Neukölln and then had lunch at Dots which was standard-fare city-break avo-on-toast. We went into the city, walked around, and visited the DDR Museum. I don’t think it’s particularly worth it as a museum: it’s small, and most of the stuff is hidden behind wee doors you have to open. It might be better suited to families with kids.

That evening we ate out at Oliveto and then walked home along the canal in the evening sun. Folks were out drinking beer on their inflatable dingies.

On the third day we went to Bloom for lunch. It uses locally sourced ingredients. We both had the “Bloom Bun” which had egg, rosti and cabbage. Delicious!

Lunch at Bloom

We went over to the Topography of Terror museum near Checkpoint Charlie. I’m not a big fan of the area, too busy and touristy for me! But the museum was interesting and worth a visit.

That evening we ate out at Maison Bleue, a Tunisian place that served up cous-cous dishes. Afterwards I decided to blend in with the locals by getting a beer from a small kiosk then wandering along the canal enjoying it.

Lunch at Maison Bleur
Beer at the canal

The last day I took a run and then we went for brunch at Love Deluxe. The owner was serving us: he moved from New York a few years ago, and this cafe has been running for a year or so. I had a shredded beef sandwich with chili and basil. It’s clear that the guy paid good attention to the food and service. A great find.

Sandwich at Love Deluxe

We headed into town and wandered around near Museum Island before heading back to the airport. A short and sweet break, and lovely to spend some rare time with H without the pressures of family life.

H in the center of Berlin