So we spend half the year scorning the cold weather, cursing the icy breath from the East and lamenting the scorching summer days from yesterday- when just like that, Summer is once again upon us and our longing for the sun is long forgotten.
The clammy heat, inability to sleep and chafing in areas best left unmentioned, have us dreaming of frozen-off faces and miniature icicles clinging to our lashes.
However, I say we should be careful of what we wish for and try our best to relish these hazy summer days, because those Berlin winters are brutal and always only just around the corner...
So here are some of my favourite things to do on hot Berlin summer days like these.
1. HEAD TO THE LAKE. Lakes, lush, green and cooling, are scattered across Berlin in abundance. Easy to get to via public transport or one of the car sharing services, they are a soothing tonic to the blazing inferno that is the city centre. Grab a french stick, pot of hummus and some water and go enjoy. The water is perfectly good to swim in and indeed, you must. Don't let the FKK scene startle you, naked bits and pieces is totally normal here in former East Germany :) My favourite is the Krumme Lanke/ Schlachtensee both on the u-bahn/s-bahn. Krumme Lanke- U3, Schlachtensee- S1. And you must rent a rowing boat to go for a little paddle!
2. Don't fancy the lake but still want to get wet? Head to one of the awesome outside pools in the city. Sommerbad Olympiastadion kills two birds with one stone- some splash down time merged with a historical tour of one of the only remaining pieces of Nazi architecture left in the city. Alternatively, Columbiabad in Neukölln is awesome, or Badeschiff in Kreuzberg.
3. Grab some shade in one of the beautiful, leafy parks in Berlin, my go to would be Treptower Park. Here by the little Treptower Hafen (harbour) makes for a wonderful stroll. The boardwalk now hosts numerous kiosks to grab a bite. Over time it has become extremely diverse offering Thai, Italian and even Israeli cuisine amongst a fish smoker and classic flammkuchen. Plus the Soviet memorial in the park is another historical highlight- so another couple birds taken down. Another very Berlin thing to do is to set up your own little BBQ in a park, grab a disposable one from a supermarkt and go to town. BUT PLEASE, PLEASE clean up all your MESS! <3 Treptower Park- S-bahn S41, S42, S8, S85 and S9
4.Make the most of these warm, long and dry days by going to an open air cinema, there are quite a few in the city and often show some true classics. A few years ago we watched Metropolis as the sun went down. Check them out here
5. Ice cream. Of course. As soon as there is even a touch of sun, Berliners hit the icecream parlours in their droves. It's quite normal to see a queue of people waiting for an inordinate amount of time for scoops of frozen milk. My favourites are: 1. Vanille & Marille, 2. Fraulein Frost, 3. Hokey Pokey, 4. Eiscafe Caramello (Wühlischstraße 31, 10245).
6. Drink as the locals and grab a beer from a 'Späti' (short for Spätkauf- lit. 'late-buy' akin to an off-licence) to keep you hydrated on the go. Alkoholfrei Erdinger or a Rhubarb lemonade is always a good choice, we don't want drunken mayhem in the middle of the day after all.
7. Head to the Dong Xuan Centre for some gorgeous Vietnamese food like a nourishing Pho. It gets you away from the city centre and I was told its good to slurp hot things on a hot day. Science apparently.
8. Summer is the time for beergardens in Berlin so go make the most of them. The best in the city are: Prater, Cafe am Neuen See, Birgit & Bier and BRLO but there are usually crackers near the many lakes I mentioned earlier- Fischerhütte Schlachtensee for instance.
10. Get on the water! Take a boat trip along the Spree and see the city this way. Feel the river breeze in your hair and wave at the locals as you pass them by. I'm sure they'll wave back. Well, some of them at least.
11. Find a roof-top bar to chill in. The Amano hotel has a nice one or for a more funky, Berlin vibe, head to KlunkerKranich at the top of a shopping mall in Neukölln. You have to walk through a car park to get there, it may seem strange but I promise you it's there. So KEEP GOING! Sometimes you can catch live music and it provides one of the best views of Berlin.
12. On Tuesday and Friday pop along to the Turkish Market and grab yourself and refreshing raw sugar cane juice- it's a superfood I'll have you know. Plus the market is spectacular and being right beside the canal, there may just be a cooling breeze. (Don't be like me, skip the straw.)
Keep cool friends! <3