A Vegan Weekend @ The Dude by Charly
There are plenty of reasons for a short city trip to Berlin. For us, it is a combination of things. We live in a small rural town, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. A place that becomes quiet and dark when the sunsets. A place that offers little to no nightlife, and no restaurants that cater to our diet. It offers us peace to work on our art and solitude to contemplate big ideas, but the solitude and peace does need the odd interruption
Friday afternoon, my partner and I rode down to our rural train station and boarded the ICE to Berlin. A little over 4 hours later, relatively late one Friday evening we arrived at Berlin Central and caught a taxi to our accommodation. “The Dude by Charly” was our home away from home for the weekend. They offer a completely digital check-in process so we were not at all concerned about how late it was when we arrived. We’d already checked in online while on the train, and our digital key was already opened on my smartphone as I got out of the Taxi. The two of us made our way up to the top floor, threw our bags on the ground and fell into bed.
The room was still and quiet in the morning when we woke, which was odd as it felt more like our small country atelier than Berlin Mitte on a sunny Saturday morning. The bed was comfortable, more comfortable than our own, and the two of us made no hurried effort to get up. Eventually, we did take our first steps of the day, feeling rejuvenated and excited about exploring the capital for a few hours and looking forward to the short change in scenery. After a long and luxurious shower, we headed to our first stop, breakfast. Even though our room had a kitchen, we decided to head downstairs to Yada Yada Breakfast club where the two of us spent the remainder of the morning, drinking excellent coffee, eating delicious vegan pancakes and enjoying the liveliness of the city. We chatted to the staff at Yada Yada for quite some time and they recommended a good selection of vegan restaurants in the area that we could check out for dinner. The afternoon plan was to check out Museum Island which was just down the road and walk along the Spree to the East Side Gallery. As an artist, it’s important to open yourself up to a broad spectrum of other artists work, whether you like it or not, and Berlin is the perfect place to do that. Within 30 minutes you can go from looking at classical masterpieces at the “Alte Nationalgalerie” to pop culture graffiti icons at the “East Side Gallery”.
After an active afternoon of Art Gallery hopping and walking, the two of us decided to make good on the tips given to us earlier by the Yada Yada staff and headed towards Alexander Platz. This inner-city highlight is, like almost all of Berlin’s landmarks, within easy walking distance from “The Dude by Charly”. The spot we were headed was called Dolores Burritos, a local tip where you can find the best vegan burritos, bowls and nachos in the city. Burritos are comfort food for ex-pats like us and make us feel like we’re back home in the suburbs of San Francisco. Strange that we’d been to Berlin so often before, but never stumbled upon this place before but we were definitely glad the Yada Yada crew pointed us in this direction. We took our time with dinner and enjoyed a few drinks with our meal and by the time we’d wrapped up, it was almost 11. A decision had to be made, go back to Charly, and enjoy a nice relaxing evening, or head down the road to Kater Blau, one of Berlin’s top nightclubs only a few hundred meters away. It wasn’t the toughest decision to make, and instead of getting to bed at 11ish, we got to bed at 4ish after an evening of dancing and enjoying the freedom that only a city like Berlin allows. The contrast between or little sleepy village and a town like Berlin really is as dramatic as the difference between night and day.
Waking up a little sluggish from the night before but still enjoying the peace and stillness that the Charly room offered, the two of us decided to repeat the previous days’ decision and head to Yada Yada again for brunch. We spent some time in the room first, packing our things, showering and flicking through the morning news on the TV before we got on our way. The 11:00 check out time means we didn’t need to rush, and checking out really was a non-event as it was complete once we closed the door behind us. We strolled down the stairs, out the front door, and straight into the comfortable loungers on the footpath outside Yada Yada. We’d had plans to do more exploring today as our train didn’t leave again until the afternoon, but as soon as we sat, we realized that this was probably about as far as we’d get today. What followed was vegan heaven with what seemed like a never ending supply of coffee, cake, bagels and smoothies, all while the sun shone on our faces and the city went about its business around us.
Eventually, we said our farewells to the Yada Yada team who’d been so nice to us over the course of the morning and made our way to the train station. It always perplexes me the difference a few hours of travel can make, from our sleepy little village with no nightclubs, no vegan restaurants & no art galleries, to Berlin, where you are inundated with choices.