We visited Berlin when James was 11 months old. We were able to visit all of the places we wanted to see in Berlin with a baby in tow – we aren’t into clubbing, which is one of the reasons people visit Berlin, of course, so we weren’t hindered by James’ presence!
We travelled from Newcastle via London, which of course meant taking two flights. A word about flying with a baby – they are very easily entertained simply by just being in a strange place, and comforted by being with their parents. Travelling with a baby is a lot easier than people tend to think it is! Flying with a toddler is marginally more of a challenge, but babies don’t need quite so much stuff to keep them busy!
We stayed in a gorgeous hotel not too far from Mitte – Hotel Indigo Alexanderplatz. I had cranked my brain into using German a little while before we visited Berlin and had asked for a cot bed (Kinderbett) to be available. When we entered the room, there it was, all made up already – it makes such a difference not having to ask again at check-in. Our bed was super comfortable, and the shower and bathroom was terrific. I’d definitely recommend this hotel, not only for location but also for service and style. The breakfast buffet was fantastic, with everything made freshly and presented well.
Moving around in Berlin was easy – you can see that we could have hopped on a tram, but we either walked as we were so close to the centre and the weather was good, or we got taxis. In the UK taxis may or may not have a child’s seat, and it’s usually a booster seat, but in Berlin we were very well catered for with James’ weight and age being asked of us before a suitable car seat (Autositz) being provided.
We visited the Brandenburg Gate, which is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Berlin. At most of the landmarks in Berlin, there are people like this dressed up in costumes. You can have your photos taken with them for a small fee. They have you pointing and throwing shapes to make some interesting photos!
We carried James everywhere in our Solarweave Connecta. He was just walking by 11 months, and a pushchair, although useful as a pack-mule, isn’t really our style, so we carried him everywhere in Berlin. It isn’t uncommon to wear your baby in Germany, and plenty of people commented to me that’s how they’d carried their baby when they were younger, or that’s the way to do it, and so on. In fact, blending in with the Germans may have got me slightly into trouble…
We visited the Reichstag, which is the home of the German Parliament, where the views of the city are brilliant. We visited at night time, so the panoramic view of the city from the glass structure was quite romantic and beautiful.
Entrance to the roof is free but you must register in advance – you need to enter your passport details and book a time slot. You get an audio tour included, and that is totally worth listening to if your baby doesn’t yank at your headphones all the time. The view from the open roof was great, because you can see the glass structure.
After we’d visited the open roof, we headed inside, and there was quite a queue for the toilet. I was totally ok with standing in the line. Except a lovely toilet attendant second guessed my reason for being there, and decided I must be wanting to change James’ nappy. So she summoned me over, and informed me there was no baby change in these toilets. I told her, that was ok. I should tell you that this whole sorry story was all in German. Then she involved another tour guide, who told me that I was welcome to change the baby in an office, but first they needed to make sure the minister was finished for the day. Oh my goodness.
So, at this point my shyness and German oral did not combine well. I didn’t actually need to change James. I just wanted a wee! However, frantic telephoning and radioing on the walkie-talkies was going on. I felt rude to interrupt (or, apparently, explain I was English!). Then we were ushered into a lift and taken to another floor, with special instructions as to how to leave the building as we were not on the tour anymore…
So we found ourselves in an office with an en-suite (would you call it that in an office? You know what I mean) and we were pretty much obliged to change James. Ha! Anyway, my accent was obviously convincing enough that I was mistaken for a German on several occasions during our visit to Berlin. Thanks, Mrs Copeman.
Anyway, what else did we do in Berlin? Lots of eating!
When eating out with a baby, we found there were plenty of places to eat well and so many restaurants had high chairs (hochstuele) that it really wasn’t a problem. We also ate at a fabulous burrito restaurant not too far from the Fernseherturm called Doroles. I took no photos because I was too busy enjoying people watching and also loving my food!
And, say what you want about McDonalds, but one thing we really like about their restaurants is the free wifi. Checkpoint Charlie is right next to a McDonalds, so we FaceTimed my parents while showing them the view in these photos.
But this is my favourite memory of Berlin – this photo of James on a section of the Berlin Wall. It was my phone background photo until Noah was born! I love it because it’s so colourful, but also because we had a great time in Berlin.
So, would I go back to Berlin? Oh yes, it’s easy to get around, there’s so much to see and do, and the people are friendly.