Treasures of Thessaloniki

It’s June and the spirit of summer is definitely out there, everywhere, while some of you might be planning some shorter or longer excursions. Well, that’s not my case at all, since I’ve just started a new job and my mindset is almost fully focused on it. Since I will stay in Berlin for most of the summertime, I will only share my travel ideas or past experiences looking at my writing backlog and most importantly: sharing my pictures from the last couple of months.

This is why I would like to re-inaugurate a subsection of the Berlinering blog – within ‘Beyond Berliner Ring‘. I love travelling and Berliners do too, no matter how much they love their city. Convenient location within maximum 3 hours of flight from all the tips of the European continent, with 2 airports (and another infamous one being a special case of Berliner ‘Sagrada Familia’ construction type opening erm… soon) and similarly convenient trains, bus, motorways or even bikelanes (will be soon testing out the one connecting Polish border and the one leading to Copenhagen at some point, too!).

So put Thessaloniki first, as it was my Easter 2016 destination, which turned out to be discovering fantastic food, chic neighbourhoods and breathing the history at every corner.

I planned it equally active, so knowing that the city is great for long walks and hiking around its hills. I wasn’t disappointed and was pretty lucky with weather (since it can be still pretty rainy and cold around end of March/beginning of April).

The flights conveniently covered the period of all the Easter days, and in the city with so many interesting Orthodox Churches it was definitely interesting to see how is it celebrated, even for not particularly religious person like I am.

Generally pleasant weather accompanied me during the daily sightseeing – from the magnificent promenade to the Ano Poli and Ag. Pavlos hills, but I was also surprised how vibrant the city was night and day.

Located nearby the port, the best neighbourhood to taste local food is Ladadika, where I was going out to try delicious and original dishes for pretty affordable prices everyday.

Last but not least, the city didn’t feel too touristy (at least not at this point of the year), there were a lot of families and locals hanging around. The only one thing I regret is not having done the excursions to Chalkidiki and Meteora sanctuary which are still on my list and should definitely be for those visiting Thessaloniki. Καλησπέρα!

Sunday Funday in Berlin: now & then

Today is one of these days one can only expect the unexpected in terms of the weather in Berlin. Intervals of sun, rain, storm and wind vary and it is rather difficult to plan anything outdoor. But the summer has been pampering the Berliners so far – even to the extreme.

Sundays are never boring: either you go on with the party mode or you go on a nature retreat. Alone or with friends – up to you, this city adjusts to all prefered options, be it brunch by the river channel, sunbathing in one of the public swimming pools or city beaches, visiting museums and galleries or cycling around the city.

It’s fun to see that the city was very active and alive on Sundays many years ago too, in the pre-Nazi era in Berlin. A light-hearted film made by Robert Siodmak in 1930 shows a group of the amateur Berliners in a very Sunday Funday mood. Many of the places pictured in the movie are still a very popular locations for hanging around on a sunny Sunday. However, it’s very interesting to see how the city looked before the WWII and live the spirit of the epoque: strolling down the Nicolassee, falling in love and chilling by the lake shore with a gramophone, or play with the sausages (just check this out!).

The movie will be shown in the Freiluftkino Friedrichshein next weekend (25th July) but for those that for some reason won’t make it, or are stuck at home on this rather rainy day, I attach you below an English-subtitles spoiler. Happy Sunday everyone!

Summer in the city or: my top 5 outdoor destinations around the Berliner Ring

Since I arrived, I have heard ‘just wait for it, summer in Berlin is truly magic’. It seems like everyone’s setting up in parks for BBQs, biking all day long, kayaking or dancing the night away (and day anyway) in the open airs. All of the sudden you discover so many great spots for the nature lovers all over the Berliner Ring and get almost the holiday-like feeling stil staying within the city limits. Let me share with you some pics and impressions about my top 5 fave ones as for June 2015. Disclaimer: some photos were taken earlier in the spring, hence the trees are still not looking as spectacular as for now!

1. Pankow & its surroundings.

IMG_0049 IMG_0050 IMG_0047 IMG_0046 IMG_0045 IMG_0044

It’s not an exact place, it’s a neighbourhood. There is a cute cycling path that leads from Pankow to Barnim region (i.e. Bernau and its wonderful lakes) or even, for the most triathlon-loving ones, all the way up to Copenhagen! For those that want to spend time in parks, feeding ducks and goats, and take a breathe in the green surroundings and still staying in the city’s limits, I fully recommend the short trail around Panke river, being also a part of Berlin’s Mauerweg. You will see a lot of interesting reinvented buildings. Perfect combination of how urban and post-urban landscape could look like.

2. Tempelhofer Feld.


 The biggest empty spot in the city’s map as for 2015. Not sure if this will last for much longer (?), so enjoy the empty runway, and green grass surrounding it. Perfect for cycling, skating, wind-skating, sun-bathing, BBQs and what-not.

3. Potsdam & Babelsberg.

IMG_0018 IMG_0017 IMG_0028 IMG_0010 IMG_0023 IMG_0031

Needless to say, the royal town, situated only 30 minutes away from Berlin is a must for the history-loving people or the ones that love to discover the beauty of the past (which got already destroyed in the WWII). An interesting spot nearby would be Babelsberg park, where the citadel locations for Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’ and many more were set. Definitely deserves a separate post, coming up soon!

4. Rummelsburg.

IMG_0039 IMG_0038

If you’re tired of hanging around Friedrichshein’s bar and clubs (my fave party Kiez around Ostkreuz), you can follow the path on the northern side of Spree till you reach the Rummelsburg lake. Post-industrial architecture interchanged with  endless green spots makes it a perfect location for a Sunday Open Air.

5. Along the Spree and Spreepark.

IMG_0042 IMG_0041


    On the other side of the Spree river, the magic still happens but you need to be quick to still spot it. One of the best abandoned  locations, Spree Park is about to disappear from Berlin’s map. Make sure you hear the abandoned wheel still spinning, notice dinosaurs, rainbow cats and GDR-era toys. A very interesting documentary about Spree Park’s history will be screened on 29th June in the Freiluft Kino on the Spree nearby.