Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Traveling with Stephanie Lin to Berlin

I'm so excited to introduce Stephanie Lin who blogs over at Stephanie Lin: Spiritual Construction Worker which is her blog that works hand-in-hand with her business. This is an exciting post for me because it's my first guest post from someone I didn't have to bribe who is an awesome real life friend of mine. This is also an exciting post for her because it happened just last month and the trip ended in an engagement! One of the things I really like about her post is that she doesn't mention one museum or popular cultural landmark. Museums are great but I always like to hear about the more off-beat places in a city.

Four Purely-for-Pleasure Things to Do in Berlin

"One of the things I’m devoted to in my life right now is following my pleasure and excitement at any given moment, no matter what. That extends to traveling, too, of course.

'Isn’t traveling for pleasure and excitement, anyway?' you might ask. Ah, one would think so. But how many times have you found yourself filling your travel itinerary with things that a respected guidebook, or perhaps a trendy friend, told you you MUST do? Even though you prefer cafe hopping over sight-seeing. Or even though museums bore you. Or even though cocktail bars are so not your thing.

We’ve been conditioned to follow the advice and expectations of others over our own heart’s desires. Why? For approval. For love and acceptance. Even for perceived safety.
For example, when my fiancee (who’s Israeli) and I (Americano) visited Istanbul a few months ago, almost everyone here in Tel Aviv told us to be careful and not to speak Hebrew or let anyone know he was from Israel. My fiancee ignored them and followed his intuition instead. When people in Turkey asked him where he was from, he told the truth. And time and time again he was received with hearty handshakes, genuine warmth, and a real openness.

If we had listened to all the 'shoulds' we received before our journey to Turkey, we would have missed out on the thing I loved the most about our trip: human connections.

I took the same approach when visiting Berlin last month. I was only there for three nights, but it was amazing trip. Ok, perhaps I’m biased since on one of those beautiful nights I got engaged, but I tend to think it was amazing because following your pleasure and excitement ALWAYS leads to good things.

My number one tip for traveling is to forget about 'cool' or 'cultured' or 'should' and just do what feels GOOD. Below I’m sharing four purely-for-pleasure things to do in Berlin. 

v.Kloeden (Wielandstr. 24)
This charming little toy store in West Berlin caught my eye on my first day strolling around the neighborhood. The variety of toys and books is totally whimsical and clearly selected with care. They had everything from high quality hand puppets to beautiful toy unicorns. I bought myself a delicate little hand crank music box decorated with an Alfons Mucha painting.
What Do You Fancy Love (Knesebeckstr. 68-69)
This super cute, super cool, super friendly cafe was walking distance from where I was staying and my fiancee and I found ourselves there every single day of our trip. I just love establishments like this where the staff is clearly happy and well-treated, and the food and drinks (green juices, coffee, and smoothies) are made with care and Love. They have the most amazing bagels I’ve ever had, and I’m a New Yorker. You can choose from 3-4 varieties of bagels and then top them with guacamole, honey mustard chicken, creamed cheese, or mozzarella and tomato. I tried them all and all were ah-mazing. Don’t get me started on their cheesecake. And their granola. Who would have thought granola could be prepared so beautifully? This cafe was always busy, but we always managed to find a table and cozy up for as long we desired.
Ritter Sport Store (Franzosische Strasse 24)
This is one of those stops that is way to uncool for those who care about cool. But for chocolate lovers who want a bright place to have a rest and feel as giddy as a six-year-old, this three-floor flagship store is perfect. On the first floor you can make your own chocolate bar by choosing your chocolate base and adding different ingredients - probably fun for the kiddies. The second floor sells the chocolate in individual bars (mini to large), in beautiful gift boxes, and in big 2kg bags. And cheap! And so many flavors! The third floor is the cafe where you can sit. I enjoyed a hot chocolate made with dark chocolate. Divine.
Exit — Live Escape Room (Klosterstrasse 62)
This was one of the absolute highlights of my trip. It was my first time doing an escape room, and I was seriously impressed by the ingenuity that went into its design. The four of us played “Prison Break” and had an absolute blast. It’s hard to explain how delightful the adrenaline high is when you need to work your brain and work together with people you adore to “escape” before the clock runs out. How awesome is it that we live on a planet where these things exist?
Life is good. Follow your joy."

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing! Make sure you look at her Instagram as well!You make me want to go eat a huge German chocolate bar right now. If you haven't had German chocolate I suggest you go find some right now. If you would like to share your city or travel destination please send me an e-mail at coffeeandcleveland@gmail.com. From there I will send you more information on requirements for posting.

1 comment

  1. I love this! I love finding fun things to do that are off the beaten path and it really makes the experience of the city completely different than if you had followed the guidebook.


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