My little sister was doing an exchange year in Germany this past year. Her program was very regulated, so while she was able to come visit us in Switzerland for Christmas, visiting her every weekend did not happen. I was pretty excited when her host family asked me if I would take her to Berlin. Apparently the school trip there didn’t pan out and since I’d already met the host family, they trusted me to plan everything!
I had already been to Berlin in 2007 during my study abroad, but I went in December and didn’t see much. I organized our plane tickets to meet my sister on a Friday evening and then take the train to the main station where we stayed in a Motel One not far away.
This time I decided to do some proper gluten-free research before the trip. Researching gluten-free restaurants is much quicker and easier via computer than on a handheld device and this way I was able to print out the locations of the places with a short description so that they were easy to find without internet in the city. I also packed a fair amount of GF power bars and dried fruit so that after breakfast I would have something to snack on before dinner or in case I was in a pinch.
I also decided to pre-book the breakfast option at the hotel so that we could eat breakfast straight away in the morning and hit the city without wasting time looking for gluten-free friendly places. I just hoped it would be OK for me and it turns out it was one of the best decisions of the trip!
The breakfast was seriously the highlight of our rainy weekend in Berlin. They had so many gluten-free options with fresh fruit, fresh veggies, meat, cheese and even gluten-free rice bread and lactose free milk for my coffee. I was beyond impressed! My sister was amused by how much I ate, but with daily sports during the week, I’m completely famished all the time now!
My sister was also thoroughly enjoying the breakfast. They had muesli, hard boiled eggs, fresh bread and croissants of the gluten variety. We really enjoyed breakfast both Saturday and Sunday. We even got up a little earlier on Sunday to enjoy it even longer!
There were quite a few showers during the weekend, but when it was sunny it was really nice. It was much colder than the week before and up North the temperatures dropped quite a bit, so we bought tights and jeans for my sister who had only brought shorts.
Saturday we mainly walked around and shopped because every time it rained we would duck into a store. We saw the Berlin Cathedral, walked around Flohmarkts and shopped in the Kreuzberg district. I snacked on my GF treats whenever I got hungry because my appetite is so much bigger than my sister’s right now and we got some fresh fruit and snacks at a local market along the way.
We made plans to come visit the TV tower at night, but we were disappointed that the view was not very well set up for night visits. We mainly saw a reflection of the indoor lights… and well, once you’ve seen the tallest buildings in Chicago and NYC, it’s hard to compare.
On Saturday night we went to dinner at the all-paleo restaurant Sauvage. My sister convinced me that we deserved an expensive meal together to celebrate our summer birthdays which are not too far off from one another. It was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it if you are into paleo or gluten-free. It is a bit on the costly side, but I really have to accept that specialty restaurants like this just have to cost more.
The next day we made sure to visit some top sights like the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the WWII memorial, the Wall and some more flohmarkts.
For lunch we went to Aunt Benny’s where they had a few gluten-free options. I had a sandwich and my first ever gluten-free dessert off a menu. OK, that’s not true… I had a chocolate flour-less cake in Vieques which was pretty good too, but this was my first ordered dessert in two months! Apple crumble. Mmmm. I could have about a billion more of them.
I had a really lovely time talking with my sister and having a relaxed weekend in Berlin. We had a loose idea of what we wanted to do and I had all my food preparation so that I wouldn’t be caught hungry searching for a place to eat. It made the weekend much more relaxing for me.
I so enjoyed this weekend away that it made me wonder why I don’t do more weekend trips in Europe. I always say I want to, but then Kay and I book ourselves up or decide that it costs too much. Well… that should change! I told you all that I wanted to go to Rome, Venice and London in 2013 and I only went to Rome last year!
Are you a fan of weekend getaways?