Nothing represents the transformation of Berlin more than Kreuzberg. Little coffee shops line up in front of South American bars, lost tourists mix in with hurried locals. If you look up, you won’t see the sky but windows full of regal, old Berliners frowning down at a city they never imagined. Kreuzberg is a conservative’s nightmare. Turkish bakeries, English bookshops, Jamaican supermarkets, all come together to speak Berlin’s slogan—eclecticism.
Mornings in Kreuzberg, if sunny, demand lounging. Head to La Femme — the Turkish bakery known for creamy frosting and quick cups of strong, almost lethal coffee, and spend at least an hour there. Don’t be fooled by the waiters’ bow ties and polite manners, they are busy, busy, busy, and they won’t linger too long at your table. Noon is the perfect time for a bike ride. Berlin is too big to walk in, and too beautiful to drive through, but like Goldilocks’ porridge, bicycles are just right. Get a bike, head to Tempelhofer Park (an airport converted into a park) and speed through onetime runways. Get another coffee at any small Columbian coffee shop on the street outside, or a Club Mate — the Berliner’s fizzy drink of choice. Kreuzberg apart, wander through wide, green-lined roads (don’t be fooled, nothing about Berlin is winding and quaint) and eat the best mint-meat-rucola kebab in Gel Gor on Kotbusserdam. Remember to thank the owners before you meander around that pocket of Berlin’s Turkish community. English bookshops are big in Kreuzberg. On a rainy day, take shelter in a cake shop, or an Irish pub, depending on what the day demands.