JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH RYAN KRETCH FROM BERLIN, GERMANY !
Ryan Kretch is based in Berlin with his husband, Bruno. Berlin is the perfect city for sewing some roots as a restless traveler, since it is so centrally located and has tons of fun stuff to keep him occupied while he isn’t on the road. Originally from New Jersey, he has been living abroad in China, India, the Philippines, the UK, and Germany for the past 6 years with no plans to go home. He manages the blog The Hopeless Roamantic, which encourages spontaneous travel to off-the-beaten-track places and is obsessed with making Youtube videos at the moment.
Berlin, the capital city of Germany is a modern and funky city with deep historical roots. More than 775 years old, this city still attracts the young and hip. Renowned for its museums, beers, clubs, döner kebabs and graffiti artists, the city is a ‘Multikulti’ with flavours of different culture and religions of the world.
When in the city, head to the Berlin TV Tower to get the most unforgettable view of Berlin which is also one of the absolute highlights of the city or visit the remnants of Berlin Wall, the most famous symbol of Berlin !
Which is the best month to visit Berlin?
Berlin has its charm every time of the year, as the seasons are distinct and the Northern position of the city makes light ample in Summer and dark in the Winter. Winter is magnificent for Christmas markets and spending entire weekends clubbing in the warm indoors, while summer is gorgeous for relaxing in parks and beer gardens.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Berlin?
Biking is my favorite, as the bike lanes and infrastructure are everywhere. If you arrive without a bike though, you can rent for 10-12 euros daily or use the Mobike application. If you aren’t a biker, the underground (U-bahn), overground (S-bahn), trams, and buses are reliable and only cost 2.8 euro a trip!
What are the different modes of transport available from the airport to your city apart from cab?
There are two airports in Berlin and both are accessible by public transport. Tegel requires a bus to get to Alexanderplatz and Schonefeld connects to the S-bahn (S9), which takes you right through the main part of the city. These are highly recommended as they only cost 2.8 euros or 3.4 euros, respectively.
Which are the top 3 must visit places in Berlin?
Treptower park – This is a park right on the banks of the Spree. Perfect for a summer afternoon, this park has something different to see and do around every corner. On one side, you’ll encounter Spreepark, a creepy abandoned amusement park. Nearby, you can relax at waterside bars and even take a swim if the weather is nice enough.
Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – The area around Brandenburg Gate is buzzing with history dating back centuries. Starting from Brandenburg gate and walking around the area, you will learn all about what Berlin and its people have been through. If you are limited on time, the free Sandeman’s New Europe tour is the best thing you can do, taking you to the places mentioned as well as Hitler’s Bunker, the Berlin wall, and more.
RAW Gelande – This is a repurposed train yard made into a rock climbing wall, bars, and restaurants. It is the gate to Friedrichshain’s trendy and graffiti-filled district and has incredible flea markets on Sundays. You will also find there allegedly the world’s smallest night club, which is in a telephone booth!
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Berlin ?
Potsdam is just a short ride away on public transportation (S7) and offers a totally unique and beautiful contrast to Berlin. It has palaces, a dutch quarter, small Russian colonies, and the most famous bridge during the Cold War. It is an ideal day trip from Berlin and can be reached in just 45 minutes with Public Transportation.
Szczecin, Poland is just an hour and a half away by bus, but is a totally different culture and vibe. If you want to cross Poland off of your country list, this a great little city to get a taste of the place. Make sure you indulge in Polish food, such as pierogis. It is accessible by Flixbus and can sometimes run under 20 euros for a ticket.
Sachsenhausen concentration camp is also accessible via public transportation and gives visitors a grim picture of what life was like during the Holocaust. 30,000 people were killed in Sachsenhausen, and the experience will be sure to give you the chills. If you feel like doing a tour, Sandemans also offers tours to the concentration camp.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Berlin?
Christmas is big here judging by the general cheeriness and amount of markets. But my favorite days are Berlin Pride which is held in July and Tag der Arbeit on May 1st, where the whole city turns essentially into anarchy and raves are held in parks.
Which is the most happening area in Berlin? Can you suggest a place where photography enthusiasts can spot street art?
Friedrichshain has tons of great bars, clubs (Berghain, anyone?), and restaurants. Out of all the clubs though, my favorite is KitKat on a Saturday night (not for the faint hearted). Berlin is a crazy, kinky place where techno leads the way, and that is what makes the city so incredibly unique.
Friedrichshain and Kreutzberg district is brimming with the city’s most famous grafitti and street art.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Berlin? Is it a vegetarian friendly city? Where can one find amazing street food in Berlin?
Currywurst is one of the most famous things here (there is even a museum devoted to it), but I am not exactly a fan of it.
Absolutely a vegetarian friendly city, which is unlike the rest of Germany. My favorite place is 1990 Vegan Living in Friedrichshain. As for street food, the best falafel and halloumi wraps I have found thus far are at Oase on Warschauer St.
Where to head for shopping in Berlin? Which is the local craft, product or souvenir of your city?
Thrift shops rule the city on every corner. You can find tons of great vintage products for cheap. Likewise, flea markets take over on the weekends; RAW Gelande and Boxhagener Park have two famous ones on Sundays.
As for luxury shopping, KaDaWe is very well known.
Design of all kinds is famous in Berlin. It is almost a competition to see who is the most creative. Just wander the boutiques of Friedrichshain to see what I mean ☺
Do you recommend any walking tours or travel photography tours in Berlin to the visitors?
As mentioned above, the Sandeman’s New Europe tours are phenomenal and the guides know their Berlin facts. This tour is free, so you don’t have to be limited by funds to enjoy the city.
I also recommend this gamified, riddle tour offered by Secret City Trails, which are a blast to do with friends.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Berlin?
Mobike is great if you have data on your phone and want to rent bikes cheaply (7.90 per month, unlimited usage)