I was a bit underwhelmed the first ever time I set foot in Berlin. I thought the city lacked in “WOW” factor and was sprawling too much and missing some form of a focal point. Some may beg to differ, but this was my first impression. But here’s the thing. Correlating my relationship to Berlin to a romantic one (and I think it very much is), since I have been doing a ton of dating since I’ve been here and come to see differences between exploding flamboyant things that crash and burn in seconds and slow burners that surprise you over time and make you grow fonder. Berlin is a total slow burner. It may not impress you immediately, but give it time and patience, and it’ll start to grow on you until you just can’t get enough of it and start seeing beauty at every corner.
I fell in love with being nude in public at vabali spa berlin. I know some of my German friends would roll their eyes at me for saying that Germans love themselves a bit of mixed gender nudity. But upon visiting vabali, I think they totally do. If you’re not familiar with the Freikörperkultur, of FKK (free body culture), chances are you will after spending some time in Germany. And while some would simplify that the FKK movement was born as a form of resistance against the East German regime, nudism in Germany has its roots way further in history. After doing a little research, what stuck with me most is the use of nudity historically as a way for people to free themselves from the religious restriction that has taught people to be ashamed of their body, and from the industrial society. Without clothes, no-one is a factory slave, everyone is equal.
I remember being at my Couchsurfing host Laura in Milan in preparation for my arrival to Berlin, about three years ago. She happened to be living between the two cities and kept yapping on about how free-spirited Berlin was. Specifically, she mentioned several times how wonderful it was that people were just totally nude in clubs like Berghain and Kitkat Club Berlin, getting it on in public as casually as you’d sip on a Coors Light back where I’m from.
I remember thinking she was either completely off her rocker, or something decidedly weird or wrong was going down in Berlin.
I realise that what I’ve been putting here about Berlin, and not only but also including the vegan scene, has been totally hedonistic. Vegan burgers, all the fast food, clubbing naked and plain just getting naked. I’ve done a pretty decent job in my now three years in Berlin, I’d say. But Berlin is not just that, I promise you. It’s also a mecca for all things health-minded, with yoga studios, green and healthy restaurants, temples, parks and amazing fitness options. All the decadent stuff I’ve written about is what got me excited when I arrived. What I’m telling you today is what is making me stick around. Incidentally, now that I’ve been here for three years, would you be interested in exploring the city with me and Withlocals? I feel I have much to contribute by now!
Berlin. Vegan. They. Have. It. All.
It’s taken me the best of the last three years to wrap my head around all the vegan options in the city and I’m excited to finally present you the best of everything. Just for you guys, I’ve eaten my way around the finest vegan kebabs, burgers, donuts, cakes… in fact, just pick your favourite food. I’ve probably eaten it in Berlin. The problem with spending three years trying to eat all the vegan food is that it’s such a vibrant scene, it’s constantly expanding. I keep thinking I’ve eaten everywhere, then overnight another five incredible vegan places appear.
Let’s start by stating what’s obvious. I’ve been growing roots in Berlin over the past three years. To a point where I’m now ready to call this damn gorgeous crazy impossible city my home. There once was a time when the thought of having all my belongings fit on the back of my bicycle was reassuring — that way I could push the eject button and ghost at any opportunity. But something, I’m not sure when, shifted.
I started buying plants. I got a second-hand sofa and started chilling on it for the simple enjoyment of being home. I started fermenting stuff. I even got a goddamn dressing gown. Me. A dressing gown.
RIP, Dandy Diner 🙁
I’m vegan burger-obsessed as much as I’m a health nut. If there’s a burger on the menu, it’ll trump any organic carboardy bird food I’d usually go for. Burgers are the bomb! They’re cheap, filling, somewhat of a blank canvas for anyone’s imagination to go free, but (almost) always delicious whatever level of fanciness they’ve been dressed up or down into. And to say Berlin has its vegan burger game down pat is quite the understatement. Every burger joints ha a vegan option. Scratch that. Every restaurant has a burger option has a vegan burger option. Berlin has more burger spots than native Berliners and my ambition to document every single vegan burger option in the city was quickly shut down by the pace at which places open and close. So, as the Berlin vegan burger scene ebbs and flows as a goddamn annoying breathing thing (come back, Dandy Diner!), this guide is getting updated with latest discoveries and classics not to be missed.
Looking for some ideas for day trips from Berlin? Berlin is an incredible place to live, but just like any other totally happening city, there are times when you just need to get away and recharge. We all need a break, and a change of scenery once in a while a great way to find new inspiration. We come back full of energy and ready to take on the world — but not everyone has the time to go on indulgent getaways. Often, though, a day trip is sufficient to give you that much-needed boost, and if you’re living in Berlin there are great destinations not so far away that are just waiting to be explored. Below are my choices of top day trips from Berlin that you can add to your day-tripping list
Guys! I’m very excited to unveil a project that has been in the making for some time now. I’ve been working loads behind the scene between Berlin and Prague since the Summer to get this baby on the road, and I can finally spill the beans. And let’s hope there will be a lot of beans! Next month, my friend and fellow vegan travel blogger Randi, from the travel websites Just a Pack and Veggie Visa and I are joining forces to discover the German vegan food scene beyond Berlin (well, also in Berlin!)
A lot of you wander here in search of vegan and long haul travel advice. But some of you (the ones who stick around and support me, I love you all so much!) have a genuine interest in me as a person and how my inner journey unfolds. I owe you a bit of an update… So it’s been six months – SIX! That’s the longest I have stayed anywhere in three years – since I arrived in Berlin from Milan. Obviously, the pace has been very different from the constant backpacking or bicycle touring you’ve known me to do, and the current state of the blog is a reflection of that – I feel like I have nothing exciting for you to bite into. It’s hard for me to share what I am up to for various reasons, and I have been postponing it up until now.