Alice Thwaite, 27, from London, moved to Berlin to bootstrap her business, The Echo Chamber Club, which promotes a pluralistic approach to news media. She gives us her view on the city she calls home.
My favourite view in Berlin is this, by Frankfurter Tor U-Bahn station. Two large towers were built here in the 1950s by the Soviets — just out of shot — and if you look behind me, you can see the Soviet TV tower looming in the distance. They were built to show the strength of the communist ideology, but now it is just another interchange. There are few people and no tourists. It reminds me of the ebb and flow of what we consider to be politically important. It helps give me perspective.
Where to live: Kreuzberg
Like London and New York, districts in Berlin have starkly different identities. It’s been said before, but Kreuzberg is Berlin’s answer to Shoreditch and Old Street in London. It is laid back and full of interesting workspaces and people. It is also significantly cheaper than east London. Properties in Kreuzberg go for an average of €3,650 per square metre. In Shoreditch, you would have to pay more than €10,000 per square metre.
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Where to unwind: Stadtbad Neukölln
I’m a swimmer, and it was one of my first missions to find the best swimming pools in Berlin. There is an entirely different culture around swimming in Germany compared with the UK — the rumours about naked swimming in lakes are definitely true — and as a result swimming is more something to do to relax, rather than to exercise competitively. The Neukölln looks more like an old Greek bathhouse than a modern swimming pool, and it is lovely to come here for an hour or two to unwind.
Where to drink: Lerchen und Eulen
Around where I live there are a number of fantastic bars, but you wouldn’t look twice at them if you just walked past. One of my favourites is Lerchen und Eulen. I tend to order an Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, particularly because the wine and the cocktails in many bars just aren’t up to London standards.
Where to go for an espresso: Bonanza Coffee
This is a great coffee place tucked out of the way on Adalbertstrasse near Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station. They have a roastery out back and the coffee is always excellent. At the moment I’m picking up a refillable filter coffee from Ethiopia.
Where to go for a run: the East Side Gallery
A nice 5km run takes you from Görlitzer Park, west across the Spree River at Schillingbrücke, then on to the East Side Gallery, dodging tourists, then back across the iconic Oberbaumbrücke.
My favourite thing about this run is the impossibility of doing it just 28 years ago as you are constantly moving between what was East and West Berlin when the city was divided by the wall.
Where to go for dinner: Der Goldene Hahn
My favourite restaurant in Kreuzberg is Der Goldene Hahn — Italian food with a menu that is always being updated. If you are looking for something more “Berlin”, then I would recommend Max und Moritz near Moritzplatz U-Bahn station — or Hofbräu near Alexanderplatz for a lively beer hall experience.
Where to go with the kids: Woop Woop Ice Cream
If you have children, Woop Woop Ice Cream is a fun place to go. They specialise in ice-cream that is created in front of you using liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees. So it’s always fresh and a fun reaction to go and watch before enjoying some afternoon sugar.
Photographs: Hannes Jung; NurPhoto via Getty Images; Kristof Lauwers/Alamy; Peter Ptschelinzew/Alamy