If not for family ties, Dresden would’t have even been a destination during the trip. But we were happy to pass through to spend some quality time with Ashlae’s Aunt and Uncle, and see a different side of Germany. Dresden is small in comparison to most places we’ve visited, and it was nice to be somewhere we could relax and not feel pressured to get out and see the sites (because there aren’t too many of them). Not to mention, it was interesting to witness a first hand account of the impact of WWII.
One of the highlights of our trip to Dresden was the night cruise we took along the Elbe. The four of us enjoyed dinner and drinks while drifting down the river to the tune of a fancy handed piano player. Take note: You can only buy tickets at the stands along the river. It’s also best to make sure you board the boat about 30 minutes early so you get a table with a view at the top. The tour is long and slow, but the change of pace was nice.
Cuchi Sushi – Delicious sushi, but we were seriously disappointed when we discovered the soy sauce provided with our takeaway contained high fructose corn syrup and other unnecessary additives.
Die Pastamanufaktur – Three words: Fresh, homemade pasta. Too damn good to miss.
Lotus Bio Imbiss – Delicious veggie burgers. Mine was smothered in cheese and the lady had hers Mediterranean style. Both were delicious. Extremely affordable.
Watzke - They brew their own beers and have an extensive German dinner menu. Order the pig knuckle and you won’t be disappointed. Unless you don’t eat meat, then go for the big salad.
Raskolnikoff – Great outdoor atmosphere in an original building that withstood the Dresden bombings. They also offer food.
The Albertinium - Impressive modern art exhibit and statue collection. It’s small in size, making it perfect to hop in for an hour when you’re trying to escape the heat. Or cold.
Elbe River night cruise - Easily the most laid back, enjoyable 3.5 hours of our time in Dresden.
Ashlae likes to run
There’s a paved trail along the Elbe River that makes for a killer (and scenic) run. Bonus: You can’t get lost.
If you’re on a tour of the main cities in Europe, Berlin stands out like a sore thumb. But not in a bad way. Here’s what you need to know: Berlin isn’t going to wow you with its immaculate architecture or perfectly manicured gardens or picturesque skylines. It has been through a lot and that’s quite evident by the fact it’s in a constant state of repair. If you’re able to look beyond the crumbling buildings and swarms of cranes, you’ll find a place that’s rich in both culture and history – and to us, that trumps an aesthetically pleasing city.
If you plan on staying in Berlin, we highly recommend finding a place in old East Berlin. It isn’t the most convenient (or comfortable) location, but it’s more affordable and feels truly authentic compared to the commercialized West. When we weren’t visiting the sites, we spent most of our free time wandering through Mitte and Kreuzberg, and really enjoyed both neighborhoods. If we had to pick a favorite, Mitte wins as it is littered with so many of our favorite places in the city (Keyser Soze, Factory Girl, Clärchens Ballhaus, etc). If you’re into graffiti or street art, Berlin is an absolulte must as they have some of the most interesting and diverse pieces of art. Like the East Side gallery, which shouldn’t be missed.
Viasko - We’d eat at Viasko every day if we lived in Berlin. And had a disposable income. They serve delicious vegan fare and have a great beer selection. We went with the capellini in lemon sauce, beetroot carpaccio, and a big ass salad. We left with happy bellies.
Café Oliv – Healthy breakfast and lunch options with stunning desserts and delicious coffee. Snag a table outside if you can.
Kuchi – Sushi at a reasonable price. The man recommends the nigiri eel and the lady recommends the avocado maki. The outdoor patio is inviting, but the indoor seating makes for intimate cozy times.
Sgaminegg – Creating meals around the slow food philosophy, this café gets it right. Although they don’t have a load of offerings, what they do have is in line with their organic and local principles. They have a great kitchen store in the back, and offer up breakfast and simple lunch fare (mixed salad, bread, soup, etc). If you’re in the area, swing by – but don’t go out of your way.
Konnopke’s Imbiss – Touted as the best currywurst in town. Tell ‘em to go light on the ketchup.
Factory Girl – Serves caffeinated beverages as well as deli style eats and sweet treats in a cozy, welcoming environment. There’s a burger joint next door that looks delicious – swing by if you’re in the mood for some greasy stuff.
Keyser Soze – Ace place for drinks. Grab a table outside then kickback (with booze) and people watch.
The Barn – They roast their own coffee and whip up some mean desserts. The interior is stunning and minimal, but with a rough edge. Cozy enough to stay for a while, but the street view will make you want to get out and explore.
Nr. 62 – Living room bar with funky vibes and pretty flowers adorning each of the tables.
Clärchens Ballhaus - Biergarten with a large outdoor seating area, tangled with greenery and strung with pretty lights. Inside is a large dining room, and each night they offer dance classes that last until 4 or 5 in the morning. If you visit, be sure you arrive before 5PM to secure an outdoor table. And make sure you order a pizza.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Fascinating, informative, and incredibly moving. The outside memorial itself is stunning, but the museum is an absolute must visit.
Hackesche Höfe – Funky area of eight interconnected courtyards. Make sure you check out some of the shops!
East Side Gallery - Graffiti on the Berlin wall. Make sure you check out both sides. Stop for a drink along the river if you’ve got the time.
We really wanted to rent this loft, but during high season they only rent out the entire apartment. Instead we went the cheaper route and rented a room (with facilities shared with another room) in a bed and breakfast type apartment. We weren’t there much, so sharing the facilities wasn’t a bother.
Ashlae likes to run
Running in Berlin was one of the most enjoyable running experiences of my life. The city is pretty flat, but you can see so much of it in an hours worth of running. Run along the wall, past the Brandenburg Gate, and through the tiergarten, which offers a much needed escape from the busy city.