The Beautiful and Free Berlin

I’ve been to Berlin before, although only for a one day trip and was really excited to finally go and visit it again last month. My memory didn’t do it justice and spending 4 days there with my fiance we both agreed that it was one of the best trips we’d had together.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

Our trip didn’t start in the best way. The Schoenefeld airport is changing its name to Brandenburgh, which made us very confused when we arrived at the airport. We had to set location on, on our phones to check whether we were in the right airport! Then we hadn’t got the exact address for our Airbnb and our host wasn’t answering her phone which made things a bit more difficult. We scared few of her neighbours but eventually found the adorably quirky flat in a great location with a little cat to keep us company. We were absolutely enchanted with the cat who obviously liked company and being pet and were sad to leave him when we left the flat. I was inspired by the collection of art books that our host had in her flat and odd but interesting decor.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

We had the pleasure of having the best tourist guide ever, as my friend lives in Berlin and was happy to escort us into places where we wouldn’t have found by ourselves, such as rooftop bar, a Turkish market or where to find what in Friedrichshain, she pointed out all the sustainable and eco shops, which there were many! On our four day trip, we only spend one day going through the different tourist spots from Holocaust memorial to Brandenburg gate and spend the rest getting to know Friedrichshain and visiting odd places here and there. Luckily, Berlin has a great metro network, which is easy to use and get’s you almost anywhere, and which I would recommend! Berlin is a very big city with wide and slightly eerie streets, which makes all the distances longer than you might imagine from the map.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

It does have a sense of freedom though. We didn’t feel overcrowded anywhere except for the airport. In addition, the whole culture is so different with openness about sexuality, drinking on the streets but not being drunk and the very international vibe.  For example, on the first day, I saw a massive advert for a dildo in the middle of the day on a busy street next to a small shopping centre which was filled with children. At first, I felt a bit weird about it, but I realised it was only because I wasn’t used to it.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

Berlin is great for food offering dishes from German to Italian, Asian and even African cuisines. It was my first time trying Korean buns, which were absolutely delicious and one of our favourite meals was having African style Halloumi pitas on the last day for lunch.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

Berlin was interesting culturally and historically, and it has lots to do. We managed to squeeze in a fashion show, watching an ice hockey game and even go clubbing which we never do, but in Berlin, it definitely was an experience.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

What I would recommend:

  • Go to Friedrichshain for food and shopping from small independent brands.
  • Turkish market is great for buying souvenirs that are locally made (there is a lot of crap and foreign stuff as well, but you can find gems in the midst of it all).
  • There is a big selection of Airbnb places where you can stay for a reasonable price.
  • Berlin is great for just going for a walk in the Mitte or Kreuzberg (Friedrichshain as well).
  • Don’t spend all your money on the tourist spots, there are many free places as well such as Reichstag building.
  • Use the public transport and if you are going to travel a lot take a day card, which can be used on any public transport around Berlin.
  • Restaurants and cafe’s I would recommend: Neue Bahnhof st. and Sonntag st. are great for good in general, Marafina on Wüchlisch st., 1990 vegan living on Krossener st. and Aunt Benny on Jessner st.

We loved Berlin and I am already planning my trip back there again to walk along the beautifully colourful streets and seeing the crazy buildings with all the greenery, or having coffee at a local cafe!

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

Have you been to Berlin? Do you have any additional recommendations?

With love,

Lii

The Isle of Mull Experience

Looking ahead into the misty horizon where hills rise in their majestic calmness, you can see the Isle of Mull, the second biggest island of the Hebrides, after Skye. The ferry floats towards the isle through the quiet sea, it is in no hurry. On another side, you can see another isle with more hills. It is quiet almost serene.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

It surprises me how small the community on the island actually is. We visit three towns during our visit, Tobermory being the biggest of them all and only having the population of around 1000 people. Still, at 4pm the town of Tobermory is buzzing, mostly from all the tourists who have come to hike, see wildlife or just the beautiful town. It is quickly obvious that the island depends on tourism. Tobermory has at least 3 hotels, youth hostel, several B&B’s and all over the island there are several locations with self-catering lodges for longer stays; quite a lot for such a small town. There are several restaurants and cafe’s, but only one grocery store. At 4pm it is difficult to find a dinner place as almost every place starts serving dinner at 5 or later. The pier of the Tobermory is filled with little local boutiques selling local produce from whisky to beauty items and ceramics, in front of which is a fairly big parking area.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

Every corner is filled with adverts for guided wildlife tours and boat rides, which is not a surprise as Mull is one of the best places to spot a number of coastal bird species, eagles, otters, seals, sharks, dolphins, whales and deer. Within the two days, we saw seals twice sunbathing on the rocky beach of Salen Bay. Various species of birds is almost impossible not to spot, not to mention the sheep who are so used to the traffic they don’t even flinch when a car drives towards them, but they do slowly move aside to let the cars past and then move back onto the road. Funnily enough, they do not let people close to them.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The island is full of small single track roads with bubble passing places, similarly to the rest of the Scottish Highlands. You can easily recognise the confident local drivers from the careful tourists, nevertheless, everybody s polite and considerate, although the tight passing places are not fun when there is truck driving way too close to you. There isn’t really any public transport other than occasionally going bus and all the tourist bus tours that drive from Craignure to Tobermory. To most attractions, you do need your own car or be on a tour bus that visits those locations.

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

 

In addition to wildlife, there are many other attractions on the Isle of Mull. Historic places like standing stones and castles; natural wonders such as geology caves and waterfalls and Aquarium. We visited the Aras waterfalls (there were two), which were absolutely beautiful and offered us a great little hiking trip as well. For anybody who is considering doing this, I recommend good waterproof shoes as the area is slightly muddy and slippery.

The few things that I definitely recommend for a trip to the Isle of Mull. Research things well what you want to see or do and where you find your accommodation (there is almost no internet around once you leave the Craignure area unless you can find wifi in some restaurants. We ran into a problem when we weren’t quite sure where our hotel was and couldn’t access the internet in Tobermory until we sat down to eat dinner. Check the Craignure visitor centre before going anywhere, they have maps and information. Aras waterfalls were beautiful, easy to find, didn’t take a long time and it is close to Tobermory. There is an electric car charging station in Craignure so driving an electric car there is absolutely possible. Stop at different viewing points and take in the view. Park lodge hotel was a great place for a one night stay and the cheapest hotel we found. It was still comfortable, had a great breakfast that was included in the price, good wifi and great staff (it is a family owned business). Macgochans offers great food at a good price and you can have dinner even at 4pm. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere! Check the little shops in Tobermory, even if you don’t buy anything they have very original stuff on sale. When waiting for the ferry in Oban check out the Pokey hat ice cream parlour. They make their own ice cream and, after Italy, I think it is the best ice cream in the world. I’ve tried pineapple, mango and cherry flavours and they were all amazing!

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

The Isle of Mull Experience - byLiiL

Have you been to the Isle of Mull?

With love,

Lii