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Sustainable city guides #3: Berlin

Turen gik denne gang til skønne Berlin (tjek mine andre guides ud HER), og i år er jeg fast besluttet på, at skære endnu mere ned på mine rejser med fly – for at skåne miljøet endnu mere. Derfor hoppede jeg på et tog fra Rødekro torsdag morgen, og skulle skifte i hhv. Flensborg og Hamborg, før jeg var fremme på hovedbanegården i Berlin omkring kl. 12.30. Både turen derned og hjem gik fantastisk helt uden forsinkelser eller andre ting, og det var en tur på ca. 5 timer inklusiv skift hver vej. Endnu én af grundene til, at jeg elsker at bo i Sønderjylland så tæt på den tyske grænse; det er så bekvemmeligt at hoppe på et tog, og rejse ned i Europa! Krydser mine fingre for, at de næste rejser der måske venter i fremtiden med tog (London turen up next, gisp) kommer til at forløbe ligeså let! Jeg ved jo, at det desværre ikke altid er tilfældet; men denne gang havde jeg måske heldet med mig. Og jeg håber, at tognettet i Europa generelt, vil forbedre sig de næste par år. Der er bare noget magisk ved, at sætte sig på et tog frem for et fly! Jeg er blevet meget bedre rent psykisk til at hoppe på et fly, men det vil nok altid føles fundamentalt unaturligt for mig (og mange andre mennesker), at svæve så højt over jorden i flere timer af gangen på den måde. Næ du, en togtur hvor man har fødderne solidt plantet på jorden (sådan da) er mere mig haha! Og kører man med ICE (og ikke de der gamle diesel tog) det meste af vejen, så har man altså gjort miljøet en kæmpe tjeneste.

Jeg har været i Berlin et par gange før, og dét, jeg synes er så magisk ved netop denne storby er, at den rummer så meget historie – især i forbindelse med 2. verdenskrig og tiden herefter. Det er også en interessant by fordi der ikke som sådan er én by-midte; mest af alt er det nok et produkt af efterkrigstiden og murens fald i 1989, men det skyldes bestemt også den diversitet byen rummer. Der er simpelthen så mange forskellige kulturer, mennesker og områder i byen. Jeg gentog den tilgang til min guide som før, hvor jeg delte mine dage op i nord/syd/øst/vest. Men i virkeligheden kunne man også have delt turen mere op i områder: Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg og Schöneberg, for blot at nævne nogle af de “mini-byer”, som Berlin rummer. Men med blot 3 dage foran mig, var jeg nødt til at gå lidt mere effektivit til værks. Det var en dejlig tur, og der er ingen tvivl om, at jeg rigtig gerne vil tilbage med min mand (og vores hund) på et tidspunkt. Byen har nemlig også en særlig plads i mit hjerte, fordi den første ferie min mand og jeg var på sammen for 10 år siden, var Berlin.

Fun fact: vidste du egentlig at jeg er halv tysk/halv dansk? Min far er tysker, men fordi han taler dansk er mit tyske sprog utrolig gebrokkent…. Men, måske er det også én af grundene til, at jeg føler så stor en tiltrækning til Berlin og Tyskland generelt. Det ligger simpelthen i blodet! I kan finde det kort jeg har lavet specifikt til min tur nedenfor.

ENG.: I went to lovely Berlin this time around (check out my other guides HERE), and this year I’m determined to cut even more down on how much I’ll be traveling by airplane – to lower my environmental impact even further. I went from Rødekro (South Jutland, DK) thursday morning and I had to transfer in both Flensburg and Hamburg, and I arrived at Berlin Hbhf at noon around 12.30. Both the trip down there and home went amazingly smooth, completely without delays or anything like that, and in total the trip was around 5 hours each way. Another reason why I love living so close to the German border now, is that the access to the rest of Europe is so convenient! Fingers crossed that any train travels in the future will go as smooth as this one (London up next, yikes)! I know for a fact, that it’s sadly not always the case when traveling by train; maybe I was just lucky this time. I do hope the train connections in Europe in general, will improve over the next years. There’s just something magical about traveling by train instead of flying! I’ve gotten a lot more courage to fly, but it will probably always feel fundamentally wrong to me (and other people who are anxious about flying) to travel in sky like that for several hours. A train ride where you have your feet firmly placed on the ground (well, kind of) is more my jam haha! And if you’re riding a ICE train (and not those old diesel driven ones) most of the way, you’ve made a great effort for the environment too.

I’ve been in Berlin a couple times before, and what I think is so astonishing about this city is the history – especially because of World War II and the time after that. It’s also an interesting city because there’s not really one city center; that probably has something to do with the war and the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, but it’s definitely also because of the diversity throughout the city. There are so many different cultures, people and areas. I repeated my way of going around the city like before, and parted my trip in  north/south/east/west. In reality though, you could have parted it in areas instead: Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg and Schöneberg, to mention a few of the “mini-cities” you’ll find within Berlin. But since I only had 3 days there, I had to work around it a bit more productively. It was a lovely trip, and there’s no doubt I’d love to go back with my husband and our dog some time. The city has a special place in my heart, because my husband and I travelled there together on our very first holiday as a couple 10 years ago.

Fun fact: did you know I’m actually half German/half Danish? My dad is German, but because he speaks Danish my German language is pretty bad…. but, maybe that’s another reason why Berlin will always have a special place in my heart. Because of my German ancestry!

FIND THE MAP ON GOOGLE MAPS HERE

Where to stay

Reklame | Jeg var så heldig, at have fået lov til at bo på Hotel Guldsmeden uden beregning. Guldsmeden er iøvrigt en kæde af hoteller, som er Dansk ejede. Hotellet i Berlin har fået tilnavnet Lulu, og det var simpelthen så skønt! Jeg har længe gerne ville prøve ét af deres hoteller, fordi bæredygtighed er noget der ligger øverst på deres dagsorden; de bruger ikke smarte ord eller hurtig markedsføring for, at lyde som om de gør en masse godt i forhold til miljøet. Faktisk har har de nogle certificeringer, som jo er din sikkerhed som kunde for, at de faktisk overholder dét de lover. Hotellerne er bl.a. certificeret med det danske Ø for økologi, og denne certificering kan man kun opnå, hvis over 90% af det mad/drikke man serverer på hotellet er økologisk. Udover det er hotel-kæden også tildelt “Green key”, som er en international certificering (startet i Danmark) og den har for nyligt opnået GSTC godkendelse (Global Sustainable Tourism Council). Udover det er spild noget de aktivt bekæmper; derfor har de skåret alt unødig engangsplast ud af værelserne (ingen mini-bar fuld af plastik og ingen små plastikpakker med sæber m.m. på badeværelserne), ligesom de også siger nej tak til plastikkrus og plastik sugerør i baren, og de bekæmper madspild ved, at trylle madrester til nye retter. Den ene morgen var én af müsli-blandingerne i buffeten bl.a. en “brownie müsli”, som var blevet tilsat rester af brownie fra dagen før. Virkelig lækkert iøvrigt! Der er ligeledes taget højde for veganere/vegetarer i deres restaurant. Det er også ting som håndklæder i økologisk bomuld og dét at hotellerne bruger et system, som sænker vandtrykket og dermed sparer på vandet der gør, at jeg synes dette hotel er super sejt. Det er bæredygtighed med hjerte og sjæl, og det kan man altså bare mærke.

Udover det, så se lige hvor lækkert værelset er! Der er iøvrigt kun ca. 20 minutters gang til Brandenburger Tor og nogle af de turistspots der ligger i dét område, og der er også let adgang til både bus (der holder lige uden for hotellets indgang) og S-tog samt metro. Jeg har fået lov til, at dele en kode med jer, som giver 15% rabat på jeres næste ophold på Lulu i Berlin. Du skriver blot Signe_Lulu ved når du booker HER (som i kassen anvist nedenfor), så bliver de 15% trukket fra. Jeg fandt forresten også ud af, at hotellet er hunde-venligt! Så nu er der endnu en grund til, at rejse tilbage med Morten og Oskar! Der er Tyskland altså bare dejlig fleksibel, for faktisk må du have hund med ind de fleste steder, både på restauranter og i butikker.

ENG.: Advertisement | I was so lucky that I got offered to stay at Hotel Guldsmeden on a complimentary stay (free-of-charge). Guldsmeden is a Danish hotel chain. The hotel in Berlin has the surname Lulu, and it was just lovely there! I’ve been wanting to try out this hotel for ages, because sustainability is a core value for them; not just something they try to use in a fast and fancy type of marketing. They’ve got a couple 3rd party certifications too, which is your safety as a customer because then you’re sure that they actually do as they say. To name a few they are certified with the Danish “Ø” for organic (økologi), and you can only get this certification if more than 90% of the food you serve at the hotel/in the restaurant is organic. Besides that they are also certified with “Green Key”, which is an international certification (Danish origin though), which recently received a GSTC approval (Global Sustainable Tourism Council). Besides that waste is something they are actively working against; they’ve cut out all unnecessary single-use plastics from the rooms (no mini-bar stuffed with plastic and no plastic mini-shampoos in the bathroom for example), they also turn down plastic cups and straws in the bar and they turn leftover food into other dishes. One morning there was a special müsli with brownie at the breakfast buffet, and the brownie was simply leftovers from the day before! They also offer both vegan and vegetarian options in the restaurant. The organic cotton towels and cloths and the fact that the hotel uses a system that lowers the water pressure to save water, is also why I think they are doing so well. It’s sustainability with heart and soul, and you can just feel this straight away.

Besides, look how lovely the room is! The hotel is located only a 20 minute walk away from tourist spots like Brandenburger Tor, and you’ve got easy access to both the bus (which stops literally outside the hotel) , S-bahn and the tube. I’ve been granted a dicsount code to share with you guys, which will give you 15% off your next stay at Lulu Berlin. All you need to do is write Signe_Lulu when you want to book (as illustrated in the picture below), then the 15% will be deducted. I also found out the hotel is pet-friendly! So there’s another reason to go back with Morten and Oskar soon! Germany is nice and flexible like that, because in fact you can bring your dog almost anywhere both in shops and in restaurants. 

15% off Lulu Berlin with code: Signe_Lulu (valid until December 6th 2020)

hotel guldsmeden berlin discount code

Amazing vegan Donuts at Brammibal’s

Where to eat

Berlin er et mekka for veganere og vegetarer, så en guide er nærmest overflødig; der ligger seriøst veganske restauranter nærmest på hvert et gadehjørne af byen. Hvis jeg boede i Berlin ville jeg vælge flere veganske alternativer uden at blinke! Men jeg besøgte nogle super lækre steder i løbet af turen, så hvis du synes det er svært at vælge så er ét af disse stedet måske noget for dig. 2 af dem på listen er iøvrigt supermarkeder. Vær opmærksom på, at nogle af disse er kæder og er flere steder i Berlin – har forsøgt at plotte dem alle ind på kortet, så du kan se hvorhenne de ligger.

ENG.: Berlin is a mekka for vegans and vegetarians, so a guide is almost not necessary; seriously, you’ll find vegan restaurants on every corner of the city. If I lived in Berlin I’d choose more vegan alternatives in a heart beat! But I visited a few nice spots during my trip, so if you find it hard to choose then maybe some of these are a great place to start. Two of these are grocery stores by the way. Also, be aware that many of these are chains so they are located several places in Berlin – I’ve tried to plot them all into my map, so you can see where they are.

– Brammibal’s Donuts (vegan)
– Veganz (all vegan supermarket)
– 1990 Vegan Living (SO good!!)
– Original Unverpackt (zero waste supermarket)
– Goodies Deli (vegan/vegetarian restaurant)
– Hummus & Friends
– Der Sache Wegen (supermarket)
– Frea (Vegan)
– Gayaya (vegan)
– Lucky Leek (vegan)
– Goodmorning Vietnam (right next to the amazing vintage kilo store Pick’n’weight!)

Where to shop

Under min tur stødte jeg på konceptet Green Fashion tours Berlin. De laver ikke kun guidede tours, hvor de besøger bæredygtige modebutikker i Berlin, men de har også lavet et kort over de her butikker, så du selv kan tage turen rundt. Dette tæller desværre ikke vintage/2ndhand butikker (dem har jeg dog samlet mine favoritter af nedenfor og på mit eget kort), men det er en god guide fordi det kan være svært, at spotte hvilke butikker der faktisk mener bæredygtighed alvorligt, og hvilke der blot bruger det som et fancy ord som led i deres markedsføring. Green Fashion Tours har gjort det hårde arbejde for os, og stiller en række krav til, hvem der må komme med på kortet. Jeg forsøgte at besøge nogle af butikkerne, men havde slet ikke tid nok til dem alle! Tippet er dog hermed givet videre, og du kan finde kortet til Berlin online lige HER. Følgende butikker ligger ret tæt på hinanden i de enkelte områder, i nogenlunde gåafstand.

ENG.: During my trip I found out about Green Fashion Tours Berlin. They not only make guided tours, where they visit the best sustainable fashion stores in Berlin with you, but they’ve also made a public map for the stores so you can go on the tour yourself. Sadly, there are no 2ndhand/vintage stores on the map but I’ve put a few of my faves on my own map and below. It’s a great guide though, because it can be hard and overwhelming to see through if a store or brand is really sustainable or not, or if they just like to use the word “sustainability” as a fancy way to make more sales. Green Fashion Tours has made all the hard work for us, and there are some things a brand or store most do in order to be accepted as part of the tour/map. I tried visiting some of the stores, but I didn’t have time for all of them! But, the tip is hereby passed on to you guys and you can find the public map for Berlin right HERE. The following stores are located pretty close next to each other, so you are able to walk from place to place.

– Homage store (clothes/accessories)
– Standard Subere Sachen (clothing/accessories)
– Pick’n’weight (vintage kilo store)

– Maqu (clothes/accessories)
– KWD (recycled bags)
– Loveco
– There are also some vintage/secondhand stores in this area

– Wunderwerk (clothing/accessories)
– Freitag (recycled outdoor clothes)
– Pick’n’weight (vintage kilo store)
– Patagonia (sustainable outdoor/sportswear)
– Nudie Jeans
– 1213BST (secondhand store)
– Ecoalf (sustainable outdoor and sportswear)
– Humana (secondhand)
– Soeur (secondhand)

I den nordlige del af Berlin ligger også kommercielle butikker som COS, Samsøe Samsøe, Vagabond, & Other Stories, som jo også har nogle kollektioner der fx er lavet i økologisk bomuld. Ville blot nævne det, i tilfælde af det ligger nærmere dit budget end nogle af de andre butikker. Ellers er 2ndhand lidt af en drøm i dette område, hvis du gerne vil spare penge OG gøre miljøet en tjeneste! Skulle jeg vælge ét område, så ville nord være mit bedste bud. Der ligger virkelig mange gode butikker og restauranter her!

ENG.: In the Northern part of Berlin you’ll also find commercial stores such as COS, Samsøe Samsøe, Vagabond, & Other Stories, and most of these also have some sort of a more eco-friendly range. I only wanted to mention that, in case that’s a bit more suitable for your budget than some of the other stores. Otherwise, 2ndhand is a bit of a dream in this area if you want to save some money AND do the environment a favor! If I had to choose only one area to visit, North would be my best tip. There are a lot of great stores and restaurants in this area! 

How to get around

Åh, den Tyske effektivitet. Dén kan mærkes i Berlin, og det er skønt! Jeg havde glemt hvor nemt deres metro/S-bahn system er at finde rundt i (meget mindre forvirrende end undergrunden i London fx kan være), og generelt synes jeg heller ikke der var så proppet med mennesker. Måske var jeg bare heldig at undgå myldretid, men jeg synes offentlig transport i Berlin er langt mindre stressende, sammenlignet med andre storbyer. Jeg købte typisk et dagskort ved én af undergrundsstationerne, og disse kort kan så bruges både til undergrund, S-bahn og bus. Der er også både el-cykler og løbehjul rundt omkring i byen, men jeg brugte dem ikke af den simple årsag, at man ikke kan sætte sin telefon på styret. Det gør det til en halv-farlig oplevelse, når man forsøger at navigere efter et kort samtidig med man kører rundt i en stor og ukendt by! Jeg er med på, at man nok ikke sætter holdere til telefonen på styret, fordi man jo først og fremmest skal holde øje med vejen. Men alligevel, det ville nu være smart så man ikke skal stoppe op midt i det hele for at tjekke Google maps i tide og utide, ikke? Dét scenarie er jo heller ikke helt ufarligt…

I kan følge min tur rundt i Berlin i videoen nedenfor, så I måske kan få et bedre indblik i hvordan jeg havde struktureret min tur og alle de steder jeg gerne ville besøge. Jeg håber ihvertfald at guiden falder i god jord – sig endelig til hvis der er nogle gode steder jeg har glemt, og lad mig vide om I skal afsted selv! Min mand og jeg har snakket om ikke, at tage et fly sydpå i år – men i stedet enten hoppe på et tog ned i Europa, eller ganske enkelt blive hjemme i Danmark. Hvis valget falder på den første mulighed, så kunne Berlin meget vel være stedet vi skal holde sommerferie sammen, tror jeg. Ville elske, at tage tilbage med både mand og hund <3

ENG.: Oh, the German effectivity. You can certainly feel that in Berlin, and I love it! I forgot how easy their tube/S-bahn system is to navigate around in (a lot less confusing than the tube in London can sometimes be), and in general it didn’t feel nearly as overcrowded and stressful either. Maybe I was just lucky to avoid rush hours, but I truly feel like the infrastructure in Berlin is a lot less stressful compared to other big cities. I typically bought a day travel-card at one of the tube stations, and you can use these cards in both U-bahn, S-bahn and busses. You’ll also find those electric scooters and bicycles you can rent scattered allover the city, but I didn’t use one of those for the simple reason, that you can’t place your phone on the handles. This means it becomes a rather unsafe endeavour when you are trying to navigate around in a big city you don’t know! I understand that they might not place a phone holder on the handles of these, because the most important thing is to keep your eyes on the road. But still, it would be nice not to have to stop to check Google Maps all the time, you know? That scenario might not be completely safe either….

You can follow my journey around in Berlin in the video below, and maybe get a better image of how I structured my trip and all the places I wanted to see. I hope you like the guide! Do let me know if I’ve forgotten something, and if you’re going there too! My husband and I have discussed not traveling to South Europe by plane at all this year – instead we might hop on a train and drive down through Europe, or simply stay home in Denmark. If we go for the first option, Berlin could be a great spot to have our summer holiday. Would love to go back with both husband and dog <3

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The Comments

  • dianne obeso
    1. February 2020

    Dear Signe Thank you for the Berlin video. It was lovely to see shops that offer gently loved clothing. In my area many shops like that closed as neighborhoods gentrified. Now they are slowly opening up again but still rare in my opinion here in San Diego. When broke years ago that was the only way I could dress..now I see it is an effective effort in the plan to buy less, wear more, donate or offer good clothes someone can use. Again, you have really helped me shop my closet and avoid buying things that won’t work in the overall scheme. And , yes..I am trying your pledge to shop less unless absolutely necessary.