Visiting Germany: Cologne & Berlin

I just got back from Germany this past Sunday and I wanted to share a little of my trip with you. I visited Cologne first and then took the train across to Berlin a few days later. I mostly took pictures of the food but you can’t blame me once you see what we had!

We flew directly from Washington D.C. to Frankfurt on a seven hour flight. Once me and my husband arrived in Frankfurt, we drove up to Cologne and got settled in a local hotel. The next few days were consumed with a few business meetings and drinking the local Kölsch beer. One of the city’s customs is to continually serve you Kölsch beers until you’ve put your coaster on the glass, signalizing that you don’t want another beer anymore. Now how cool is that?! In addition to trying the local beer, I also tried a Flammkuchen, which is a type of flatbread topped with thinly sliced leeks, onions and speck cubes. Yum!

Flammkuchen

Cologne wasn’t as big of a city as I expected it to be, even though it’s considered the fourth largest in Germany. It made it easier to get a good sense of the city and the Cologne Cathedral is a great reference point for when you get lost :-) .  We walked past it several times and it’s beautiful from the inside as well. It took over 600 years to complete, so it’s quite an impressive site.

After three days in Cologne, my husband and I took the train across Germany to visit Berlin. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel Berlin and absolutely loved it. The location right near the Kurfürstendamm was very convenient for getting around the city and the hotel offered great service. I’ve been to Berlin before but it was the first time for my husband, so we knocked out the usual touristy things, such as visiting the Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag. We didn’t go inside the Reichstag but I was surprised that you could! Correct me if I’m wrong but I doubt tourists can visit the US Capitol and have lunch sitting under the dome…?

Brandenburger Tor

Reichstag

On one of the days we did an underground tour of an old air raid shelter that was used during the 2. World War. The company that puts them on is called Berliner Unterwelten and I can highly recommend them. It was incredibly fascinating to walk through the air raid shelter and learn how it felt to live in Berlin during the war. The tour guide was a very friendly dutch guy who was extremely knowledgeable about the world war and was eager to answer any questions that our group had. After the underground tour we decided to continue our educational part of the trip with a visit to Checkpoint Charlie. We went to the museum and read about the history of the Berlin Wall and the importance of Checkpoint Charlie. It was interesting to see how different people fled from the East into West Germany, but I wouldn’t go into the museum if you’re not ready to read yourself through the whole museum. It was a bit overwhelming after our underground tour but I would still recommend it. At the Potsdamer Platz the city set up a few of the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall so people could see them up close.

Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin Wall

Moving on to the most important part of the Berlin trip: the food! The first culinary highlight was going to Seoul Kitchen in Kreuzberg. It’s a restaurant situated right off of the Warschauerstrasse train station. It specializes in, you guessed it, Korean food – but also has an excellent selection of Japanese Sushi. We opted for the Korean BBQ experience and let me tell you, I have never eaten this much before. It was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for some serious Korean Cuisine.

Seoul Kitchen

Korean BBQ

Aside of trying the mandatory Curry Wurst, I also enjoyed one of my favorite pastries named Berliner! I don’t actually think that it originated from Berlin so I don’t know how it got its name. But nevertheless, it was amazing. It’s filled with either a berry or apricot jam and you can get it at any local bakery. Our last culinary highlight was going to the KaDeWe department store and walking through the food section on the top floor. We ended up getting oysters at the infamous Oyster bar and I still can’t believe how fast the chefs were chucking those oysters in front of us. I had never had an Oyster Rockefeller before and oh my, how I’ve missed out!

Berliner

KaDeWe Oyster Bar

Overall I think that mostly covered our Germany trip. The weather was a bit chilly but we luckily never experienced any rain. We had a great time exploring both cities and got to meet very nice people along the way. Have you been to Cologne or Berlin before? What was your favorite part?