The Best Flower Bath and Massage in Ubud, Bali – Karsa Spa

There are so many spas to choose from in Ubud, relaxation central. Karsa Spa is by far my favourite. The relaxation level at the spa is unrivaled and I end up feeling like a brand new woman when I leave. The spa is nestled in the quiet countryside of Ubud, surrounded by rice fields on a dirt track. You may see locals working in the fields or walking home carrying dinner for the family, the odd stray dog in tow.

Upon arival at the spa we were greeted in a calm manner with tea and soothing music. The spa looked like a tranquil garden with beautiful ponds and soft running water and my partner and I enjoyed our tea while waiting for our treatments.

karsa spa massage and flower bathkarsa spa flower bath

Flower baths seem to have become a serious trend on Instagram and it’s easy to see why. They are not only very relaxing but extremely aesthetic. It can be difficult knowing which spa to go to as some cannot live up to their Instagram fame. I did a lot of research and Karsa Spa delivers the most beautiful flower bath every time. It doesn’t matter if you are insta-famous or the average holidaymaker.

karsa spa flower bath bali

I opted for the 90-minute deep tissue massage, followed by a 30-minute flower bath. The massage came in at a whopping 15GBP and the flower bath was 10GBP, which was exceptionally cheap for such a beautiful and professional spa. The massage was perfect and different strengths were offered. Each treatment is performed in a private open-air room which comes with its own bath and shower for you to rinse off after.

Tips before you go
➸ I cannot stress this one enough – book before you go, it gets booked up very quickly
 Don’t be late, it sounds obvious but Bali traffic can be a pain in the bum…
➸ Don’t forget to relax

And Just in case you or your driver are not sure where to find Karsa Spa or you get stuck then you can follow the map below, it is a little off the beaten track!

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3946.099740508937!2d115.25590871478275!3d-8.48968269389607!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x2dd23d35c45da5a1%3A0xa1268b489fef3bd4!2sKarsa+Spa!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sde!4v1521113834271&w=600&h=450]


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Useful Links

Book your flower bath now!

Berlin’s Abandoned Cable Factory

Kabelwerk Köpenick looms over the River Spree, hauntingly beautiful with a lengthy and proud history. Two years ago marked the 100th anniversary of the factory, built in 1916 by Julius Vogel and his sons, the cable factory now has sadly been reclaimed by nature.

abandoned cable factory Berlin outside entranceabandoned cable factory outsideabandoned cable factory abandoned berlinabandoned cable factory Berlin kabelwerk Köpenick

Access was suspiciously easy and we realised why pretty quickly. We wandered quietly through the damp halls coming out into a beautiful paradise. Birds tweeted, trees were thriving and sunlight poured in, creating a greenhouse feel to the factory hall. We were in awe and our guard was down as we giggled at how beautiful this place was. I took a panoramic picture and upon finishing it I spied the security guard. We ran, we clambered and we had minor heart attacks but luckily came out unscathed.

Kabelwerk Köpenick Berlinabandoend cable factory main hall graffitiabandoned cable factory main hall plantsabandoned cable factory Berlin kabelwerk Köpenick inside

After some heavy breathing and a brief cooling off period outside, we went back in. This time we were quiet and careful, sticking to the more dense areas of this indoor forest. We soon realised that the only way into the neighbouring building was past the security guard’s hut or by climbing out and going around the back. I stood under the 10ft wall and took a deep sigh before my urbex partner and I did some dodgy parkour moves to scale the wall and land safely on the other side. My arms ache as I am typing this.

abandoned cable factory main hall lightabandoned cable factory Berlin abandoned berlinabandoned cable factory abandoned berlin insideabandoned cable factory Berlin kabelwerk Köpenick inside wall

The factory was originally called CJ Vogel Draht- und Kabelwerk AG until 1939 when the Siemens company took the site over. At this time 1600 people worked at the factory and the production of electric lighting and power system cables began. The factory survived through GDR times and saw it’s end around the same time that many of the buildings in East Berlin did – after the wall came down. Abandoned since the late 90s this collosol factory is now forgotten, a sad remainder of East Berlin.

abandoned cable factory locker roomabandoned cable factory Berlin womens locker roomDSC_1072

Strangely a couple had wandered in off the street straight past the security hut while he was doing his rounds – they were unfortunately now our buffer. While exploring a dark room with a tiny doorway the security dude heard the clicking of my camera (Nikon – the silent mode has been tried and tested and has failed my expectations). We stood with our backs against the wall hardly breathing as he circled the room and stood outside the doors at either end. He knew we were there but whether he was truly bothered we will never know.

abandoned cable factory BerlinKabelwerk Köpenickabandoned cable factory Berlin Köpenick detailsabandoned cable factory Berlin Köpenick

After Kabelwerk Köpenick closed its doors, part of the area was briefly used as a skate park for BMX riders and skateboarders. Remains of  ‘Mellowpark’ are still visible with a small structure and an Adidas logo emblazoned on the asphalt.

About two years ago Deutsche Wohnen purchased the 70,000 square meter site and made plans for more than 1,000 upmarket apartments to be built. The brick wall surrounding the factory and the two large buildings at the entrance are listed and preserved therefore will need to be maintained.

abandoned cable factory Berlin Köpenick outside.jpgmellowpark berlin

After attempting to enter the Mellowpark building close by we decided to call it a day. As I stood looking at the building, clear as day in a wide open space something caught my eye. I watched blatantly as the security guy cycled past me his blue helmet bobbing along, my body twisting to follow him. My exploration companion, completely oblivious was still looking at something behind me. This game of cat and mouse was about to come to a sticky end. We ran as fast as we could and scrambled over the eight-foot fence tumbling down onto the other side. A group of four friends had to stop to allow us to land and they laughed as we apologised for our abrupt and ridiculous entrance into their lives. We then strolled past the front gate and nodded at the security guard who just stared back at us, still in action pose with his bike.

Tourist-o-meter: 2/10
I will give it a 2 because we did see two explorers in there but I think the presence of the guard makes it a lot less accessible and doable. You have to really be on the lookout and aware of your surroundings.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have ever trespassed on this property nor do I condone doing so. 


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Sources
Berliner-Zeitung.de

10 Amazing Abandoned Places to Visit in Berlin

Abandoned Places in Berlin Waldhaus Buch Abandoned Sanatorium Garden Hall Love

Berlin is home to some amazing abandoned places and they just keep coming. After the reunification of Germany, many buildings were abandoned or just not needed anymore. From legal to illegal, I bring you the best and most notable abandoned places to visit if you dare.

DSC_54151.Krampnitz – Abandoned Nazi & Soviet Military Complex
A whole military complex left to nature, consisting of around 50 buildings it takes the whole day to explore. Used to film movies such as Inglourious Basterds, Valkyrie and Resident Evil, it is easy to see how this place could come alive. You may, like us, even need to use Google maps to find your way out, you can read about our experience here. Don’t forget to watch out for zombies…

Abandoned Berlin Waldhaus Buch abandoned places2.Waldhaus Buch – Abandoned Sanatorium
This abandoned Sanatorium is the prettiest abandoned place I have seen, with its exposed red brick, high ceilings, and delicate glass windows it takes ‘ornate’ to a new level. One of the less explored buildings it has little graffiti and vandalism which makes it different from the rest. You can read about its sad history linked with the Nazis and see plenty more pictures here.

Abandoned Berlin abandoned places chemical factory3.Chemiwerk Rüdersdorf – Abandoned Chemical Factory
To call this abandoned factory epic would be an understatement. Once used to help the Nazis war efforts it is now a playground for all things antisocial. Dirt bikes tear around, graffiti artists leave their mark and drones scope out the wasteland from above. The Chemiwerk factory combines brutalist architecture with an urban explorers dream. You can read about my visit here.

Abandoned Berlin abandoned places NSA Spy base teufelsberg4.Teufelsberg – Abandoned NSA Spy Base
Teufelsberg definitely makes for an epic exploration – built on top of an unfinished Nazi military college and the rubble of war-stricken Berlin.  It is now the largest graffiti gallery in Europe showcasing artists from all over the world. You can read more about my visit here.

Abandoned places Spree park abandoned berlin5.Spreepark – Abandoned Theme Park
This amusement park was once very popular in the former GDR. It was closed in 2001 and since 2002 has been left, like many other abandoned places, to be taken over by nature. Spreepark is almost impossible to explore as soon after entry you will almost definitely be caught by the police or security. Luckily you can purchase entry tickets from Grün Berlin for 5€ per person, a pretty agreeable alternative.

Abandoned Berlin Abandoned places anatomy institute6.Institut für Anatomie – Abandoned Anatomy Institute
This abandoned anatomy institute still contains apparatus and items left over from its days of teaching. The building is extremely easy to access and is a popular spot for those of you who like company. There is plenty of interesting things to see including the student lecture hall with all its seats, you can read about my visit here. For those of you who dare, the abandoned anatomy institute still has a morgue in one of its three basements, I won’t tell you which one though.

abandoned train station berlin graffiti abandoned berlin7.Siemensbahn – Abandoned Train Line
This train line was built by Siemens to help their staff get to work but after a strike in the early 80s, it was closed forever. Now the train line which consists of three stops has been reclaimed by nature. Platforms are now only eligible for ghost trains especially as the track has been removed. Part of the track crossed the river, now the bridge stops just before so you cannot walk the full line. The easiest spot to visit is Wernerwerk just by the Siemens U-Bahn.

Berlin olympic village8.Olympisches Dorf – Abandoned Olympic Village
Visiting Hitler’s Abandoned Olympic Village, Elstal is like going back in time. Basketball hoops still lie on the ground of the sports hall and the Olympic pool sits empty and unused. There are plenty of barracks to explore and sports halls, if urban exploring sort of scares you then you can book a tour of the Olympic Village online.

klinikumbuch9.Helios Klinikum Berlin-Buch – Abandoned Hospital
This one makes the list purely because it is the abandoned building with the highest security in Germany. As former GDR Klinik for sick politicians, the building has an interesting history.  The abandoned hospital is in amazing condition and there are motion sensors inside to detect any intruders. Find out why the security is so high here.

abandoned brewery berlin abandoned berlin10.Bärenquell Brauerei – Abandoned Brewery
The impenetrable fortress that is the abandoned brewery sits in the southeast of Berlin perched on the River Spree. A beautiful gallery of graffiti art and a playground for urban explorers, the abandoned brewery is so well protected you won’t see another soul while there. Climb to the top of the tower for amazing views of the city and that feeling of being alive…

As with any urban exploration adventure, make sure you bring a torch and watch your step. Unless on a tour, entering these places is done so at your own risk and can lead to injuries, arrests and excessive fun.


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Abandoned East Berlin Office Complex

The most recent urban exploration trip found us exploring the abandoned office complex in Weissensee. This time we were a girls-only team of two and armed with pepper spray we rode our bikes to this abandoned gem, not known to many. The building was once a large office complex home to brands such as Arbonia Forster, TECO and DEVK and judging by the state of it, had been abandoned for some years.

Abandoned Office Complex Wiessensee EntranceAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee TowerAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee Outside Parking

The fence was broken so it was alarmingly easy to get in, the area was overgrown to the point where it resembled a jungle and rubble from the building lay across the path. A parking sign from the lost car park poked through the bushes and the office tower loomed over our heads, calling us up.

Abandoned Office Complex Wiessensee BasementAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee Basement OfficeAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee Basement Back Door

A broken window in the basement offered ample space to enter the building, unfortunately into the bathrooms which had been used by squatters and it was apparent they may still live there. The basement was unnervingly dark and still, the damp crept up our backs which were warm from the summer heat outside. A few steps into the dark and an almighty clang happened. Frozen on the spot we blindly spun around looking for the source except we did not find it. After some minutes our frantic whispers echoed through the basement and an executive decision to power through was made. 

We made a break for the stairs which promised daylight and warmth, it is known in Berlin that people who squat in abandoned places can be dangerous and irrational.  As we walked into the stairwell a hand saw on the ground confirmed our fears and we hastily continued.

Abandoned Insurance CompanyInside the abandoned insurance company building

The chatter from the nearby street offered some form of comfort although also aided in our sudden panic when an unusual sound drifted in through the open windows. What sounded like footsteps echoed through the halls above our heads and a large piece of wallpaper flapped in the wind loudly. 

Abandoned Office Complex Wiessensee InsideAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee telephoneAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee Grafitti

Several pieces of office equipment had been left lying around including key tags and telephones, most of the items are located in the cellar presumably for storage but now ruined by water damage. An old 70s style fridge stood out – I love a good fridge opening for the ultimate scare (I always imagine it will be body parts but it never is!).

Abandoned Office Complex Wiessensee Inside upstairsAbandoned Office Complex Wiessensee Grafitti stairsName tags at the abandoned insurance company berlin

At the moment a new residential and commercial building has been proposed in Berlin-Weissensee. The largest building will be used as living quarters for seniors boasting 143 apartments. The proposal suggests a total of seven buildings on the site including a medical centre and will be privately owned. No date has been scheduled for this to go ahead as of yet.

Abandoned Office Complex Wiessensee roof

Another abandoned building ticket off in Berlin, I am excited to see what lies around the corner for me and my urban friends! The office complex was definitely scary and I would highly recommend for anyone looking for the fear factor (especially as two young girls). Crazy? Maybe, adrenaline-fueled? Definitely.

Tourist-o-metre: 5/10
I will give it a 5 because there was not a great deal of graffiti and there were signs of people living there but we did not see a soul the whole time. To be fair there are plenty of abandoned places to play in in Berlin so explorers are spoiled for choice. With that being said it was fairly destroyed whether it was by vandals or the test of time.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have ever trespassed on this property nor do I condone doing so. 


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Adina Hotel & Apartments Budapest Review

On my recent trip to Budapest, I had the huge pleasure of staying at the Adina Hotel & Apartments Budapest. I had decided it was time for another solo trip and Hungary was high on my bucket list. Arriving at the Adina Hotel & Apartments Budapest was like coming home, I felt completely at ease. I could not wait to see what this hotel had to offer.

Adina Hotel Budapest welcomeAdina Hotel Budapest bedroom

This beautifully decorated hotel has not forgotten one of the most important elements when staying somewhere and that is customer service. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff was incomparable. I have noticed in recent years that customer service in Europe has slid somewhat but not at the Adina Hotel & Apartments Budapest. The staff helped me find the best spots to see and advised me where to eat. They greeted me with a smiling face every morning and even had band-aids ready for me when I had hurt my foot. The staff even remembered where I had been and asked if I enjoyed it – it felt like I was staying with family!

Adina Hotel Budapest roomAdina Hotel Budapest room detailsAdina Hotel Budapest living room

The term apartment is more than adequate, in fact, the apartment I stayed in was actually bigger than my apartment in Berlin. There was so much space I could not believe it. The open plan kitchen and living/dining room made for a nice social setting and the two balconies offered an extended outdoor space. The kitchen came fully equipped and included a large fridge to store your food, making cooking with family or friends extremely easy. The toilet was located separately to the bathroom meaning while someone is getting ready then others can easily use the toilet. There was even a connecting door to the apartment next door for larger groups who wish to stay at the Adina.

Adina Hotel Budapest MinibarAdina Hotel Budapest FridgeAdina Hotel Budapest Kitchen

The sweeping bedroom was more than comfortable and also offered a television and large wardrobe space complete with a safe. The quality of sleep was perfect, the bedroom was away from any noise and the hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood so I had no problems catching some Z’s. It helped that the bed made me feel like I was sleeping in the clouds!

There was also free WiFi available throughout the apartment which made life so much easier as I could use my laptop and chat to my loved ones at ease.

Adina Hotel Budapest pool

The hotel boasts a beautiful pool and hot tub as well as a gym area for those of you who like to work out on holiday. It really gave the hotel that high-end exclusive apartment feel to it. It was really nice to be able to have a relaxing swim in the evenings before I went for dinner.

Adina Hotel Budapest breakfast barAdina Hotel Budapest breakfast bar foodAdina Hotel Budapest breakfast choicesAdina Hotel Budapest breakfast

I always eat breakfast at my hotel as I am notorious for getting ‘hangry’, especially when looking for somewhere to eat in the mornings. I also have a lot of dietary requirements so a breakfast buffet suits me perfectly. The food was laid out beautifully with a vast choice for every taste. Warm and cold breakfasts were available as well as a selection of drinks to choose from. I was so delighted that they even stocked my chamomile tea (which I usually carry in my bag). The breakfast staff were wonderful and explained what everything was for me.

Adina Hotel Budapest balcony

I will definitely be staying at the Adina Hotel & Apartments on my next trip to Budapest. Staying at the Adina made me feel so at ease and perfectly at home.


Useful Links

Book your stay in Budapest here!

Adina Hotels For Every Location

20 Things to do in Berlin on a Sunny Day

It’s a beautiful day in Berlin but you just can’t decide what to do. Germany’s capital city often suffers from long cold winters and recent rainy summers so when the sun shines you may be left wondering what you can do in Berlin to make the most of it. These 20 sun-soaked activities will have your summer plans buzzing.

badeschiff berlin1.Badeschiff
Cost: €5.50
A boat that has been transformed into a swimming pool, perched in the River Spree and surrounded by a bar, sand and live music. The ultimate beach party in Berlin, and the ‘coolest’ thing to do on a hot day. Just make sure you get there early to secure a spot and avoid the queues to get in. You can party until the sun goes down in a beautiful setting wearing nothing but your swimwear and a grin.

pfaueninsel berlin2.Pfauninsel
Cost: 8€

A fairy-tale castle on a beautiful protected island in the south of Berlin. Pfaueninsel castle was built in the late 1700’s as a secret rendezvous spot for the King of Prussia and his mistress. The island is home to many peacocks which makes it even more beautiful and unusual to explore. Hop on the train to Wannsee then get a bus and a ferry across and enjoy a sunny day on the island.

DSC_85313.Walk around Schloss Charlottenburg
Cost: Free
Even if pretty castles are not your thing, Schloss Charlottenburg boasts stunning gardens and a beautiful lake to admire. It’s clean, well looked after and civilized, bring a picnic and some friends and enjoy the sun in style. Can’t sit still? The grounds also make for a beautiful bike ride.

4.Have a BBQ at Treptower Park
Cost: Beers and food
Sit on the River Spree and watch the boats go by or sit on the grass with hundreds of others soaking up the sun. The park has food and drink kiosks or you can bring your own picnic or BBQ. The area is huge and always has a really good vibe during the summer months. Bored of sitting down? Check out the grand Russian War Memorial located also in the park.

fet de la musik berlin5.Go to an open air
Cost: Beers and food
Open airs are held all summer long in Berlin, consisting of live music, good food and drink and of course, like-minded people. You just need to know where they are – keep an eye on Facebook for event information and locations. From large sponsored open airs in Mauer Park to more chilled riverside grass sessions in Spandau there is something for all ages and musical tastes.

lake berlin6.Visit a lake
Cost: Mostly free, some lakes charge an entry fee of €5
Berlin is surrounded by lakes, some busier than others in the summer months but each just as beautiful. For a beach feel head to Plötzensee in Wedding, for a large body of water visit Müggelsee. With all the lakes that exist in Berlin and the surrounding areas, you will have a new one for each weekend of the summer! 

Klunkerkranich Rooftop Bar View Berlin7.Klunkerkranich Rooftop Bar
Cost: €4 entry fee after 4pm
A rooftop bar situated on top of a car park with stunning views of Berlin. Get there early to avoid the entrance fee and to get a spot for sunset. This quirky bar offers live music, a Photo Booth and a cute garden for you to look around. Families are welcome, with a large sandpit for children to play in. Read more here.

Go-karts Templehof8.Hire Go-Karts at Templehofer Feld
Cost: €20+

Grab your bike, roller skates or skateboard and head to Templehofer Feld. A huge airfield with plenty of tarmac for you to go crazy on. If that’s not your thing then kick back with a beer and watch the others skin their knees. Don’t miss the community garden, a pretty collection of plants situated in an allotment, tended to by the neighbourhood. For extra fun, hire a go-kart from Mobilcenter Verleih Tempelhof in the middle and cruise around in style!

boat trip berlin9.Hire a boat
Cost: Dependant on hire
Splash out (no pun intended) and hire a boat with some friends. You can have a BBQ and drinks while you float along the river Spree and admire the sights from the water. Boats of all sizes can be hired, with staff or without. If you can’t afford to hire a boat, homemade rafts have also been seen floating along the river in the summer months.

10.Go clubbing
Cost: €20+

It sounds weird but outdoor clubs such as Else and Sysiphus (and even Berghain) are the perfect day clubs for sunny weather. With plenty of outdoor space, fun ideas such as a massage section, photobooths and fire pits for when it gets cold. If the weather turns bad there are always parts that are under shelter.

Abandoned Places in Berlin Teufelsberg NSA Spy Base11.Teufelsberg
Cost: €8 entry
This abandoned NSA spy base is now one of the biggest graffiti galleries in Europe. The site consists of several floors as well as a rooftop area with views of the city. You can even climb up into the globe and listen to the unusual reverb up there. The perfect sunny day activity, full of history and fun for everyone. 

12.Gärten der Welt
Cost: 15€
Grün Berlin owns a delightful collection of gardens around Berlin, Garten Der Welt is my particular favourite along with Spree Park (also owned by the same organisation). Take a ride in the cable cars above the gardens, step into a Moroccan dream or just enjoy the general beauty of the gardens. You could easily spend a whole day in the sun here, perfect for that holiday feeling at home.

graffiti like a pro13.Paint Your First Graffiti
Cost: €59
A graffiti class held by Sylvain, a Parisian artist at Mauer Park, Paint Your First Graffiti makes for a really cool and very ‘Berlin’ day out. The class lasts for three hours and starts with learning the basic skills, a few great stories from Sylvain and then you get to go nuts on a wall outside, oh and it’s completely legal.

beach bar berlin14.Chill at a beach bar
Cost: 10€+

Yes, Berlin has several beach bars for you to choose from! Get that real holiday feeling and head to Strand Bar or Capital Beach to relax in the sun. Some beach bars to open air dance classes, others offer deck chairs on the water. Whichever one you choose you will definitely get that summer feeling while sipping a cocktail in the sun.

15.Visit one of two zoos
Cost: Tierpark – €14,  Zoo €15,50
Berlin is home to two zoos, the East zoo (Tierpark) and the West zoo (Zoo Berlin). Both are great and have a different selection of animals, you will see giraffes, bears and elephants at both, however, only Zoo Berlin is home to polar bears and tigers. Can’t decide? You can always try both on different days and see which one you like better.

botanischer-garten-ashley-lmj-216.Botanischer Garten
Cost: €6
A very cheap and enjoyable day out in the sun, the botanical gardens offer indoor and outdoor gardens to enjoy. This makes it great for both sunny and rainy days, but be prepared for the sauna that is the greenhouse if you go when the weather is very hot! There is a cafe too so you just need to bring yourself and enjoy the beauty.

Ash and Marcus Watches 2017 08 06-289617.Berliner Dom
Cost: €7
Grab an ice cream and walk around admiring this magnificent cathedral in the center of Berlin. It looks pretty different from each angle and in summer has a beautiful fountain in front of it. If you have time and can manage the 270 steps up there, it’s worth walking to the top for beautiful views of the city.

bikes Mauer Park18.Bike Tour
Cost: Free – €24
A popular way to see the city during the summer months, either join a proper tour group or just map yourself out a trip with the many hire bikes available. You will discover many cool nooks and crannies that you would otherwise miss on the train. It’s also a great way to keep healthy and catch some rays!

19.Hop on a Boat Trip Tour
Cost: €15- €26
Liked the idea of hiring a boat but just don’t have the funds or the friends? Not to worry, you can also choose from various boat tours on the River Spree in and around the city. Choose from a city tour, a trip to Schloss Charlottenburg and many more. Relax on the rooftop and catch some sun with a beer in hand. Grab an umbrella from the front of the boat to avoid looking like a lobster!

sans souci gardens20.Sanssouci Palace
Cost: Free
A stunning palace and gardens located an hour from Berlin in the city of Potsdam. This makes for a stunning day out with family or friends. The gardens are huge so even if it’s busy the area still has plenty of space. There are several attractions to admire such as the Chinese teahouse, the main palace and the University of Potsdam. See more here.

 Thanks for stopping by, be sure to check out more about the unique city of Berlin here.


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Oia, Santorini – The Ultimate Bucket List

If Oia in Santorini is not on your bucket list, then add it now – famous for its windmills, beautiful white houses, and churches the island is indeed unique. Many visitors of this town are only here for a day or two and after five days spent there, I have collated the best experiences for you. In no particular order enjoy this ultimate Oia bucket list.

oia sunset lookout pointByzantine Castle Ruins
You can book a tour online to visit this ancient ruin from the middle ages, alternatively, it is free to climb up to it’s highest point. This is also where many of the famous shots of Oia’s cave houses and sunsets are photographed from. This spot gets especially busy in Summer and the evenings as holidaymakers wait for the famous sunset. This viewpoint also offers 360-degree views which include the Aegean Sea.

amoudi bayAmoudi Bay
Amoudi Bay seems to be the less advertised gem of Oia, located down the hill it is a port as well as a short promenade. Packed with delicious seafood restaurants and crystal clear waters, Amoudi Bay offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Oia. You can walk or drive down to the bay, the walk is quite steep and requires some endurance but mostly on the way back up, perfect for walking off all that shrimp!

Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar Oia sunsetWatch the sunset
Oia is famous for its beautiful sunsets, make sure you head into town early to secure a good spot to watch the sun go down. You can sit on one of the many walls or head to a bar with a good view. I found Nocturna and Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar to always have a table free and deliver a beautiful sunset view.

DSC_7662Nocturna Rooftop Cafe
One of Oia’s best-kept secrets and the best value for money I have had in a long time. The prices are around 12€ for a meal with some of the most stunning views in Oia, a prime location for sunset and the decor is to die for. All the luxury and none of the cost. The restaurant also overlooks one of the most luxurious hotels in Oia making you feel part of the glamour. 

hike from Fira to OiaHike from Fira to Oia
This 9km hike will take your breath away for two reasons, the difficulty and the view! Get the bus to Fira and hike back to Oia just in time for sunset. Allow a good 3 hours to do the walk and wear sensible shoes, a hat and sunscreen. The views are unbeatable and there are some beautiful churches to be seen along the way. Bring water and a picnic to avoid high prices at the few cafes along the trail.

get lost in OiaGet lost in the streets
One of the best parts of visiting Oia is getting lost in the streets. If you stick to the main pathway you will likely miss all the cute hidden restaurants, fulfill street dogs, secret churches and boutique shops. Make sure you have a proper wander and take the road less used if even there seems to be no one walking that way. We found the most pretty spots that others seemed to miss!

dessert santoriniDessert at Melenio Cafe
Boasting one of the best dessert selections in Oia, Melenio Cafe is perched right above the most famous postcard shot on the island. You may see the cafe from the street, as you look down through the window you can see a delicious display of beautiful cakes just waiting to be eaten. Take a seat on the back balcony to enjoy the picture perfect view and watch the ships rolling in.

beach finch swimKatharos Beach
Tucked away past all the commotion of the busy streets of Oia is Katharos Beach. A quiet and secluded beach that brings it’s visitors a sense of achievement after hiking down to it. The beach is mostly pebbles but there are a few sandy parts with black volcanic sand. The water is calm and perfect for swimming, just bring some shoes to wear into the water if possible as you can hurt your feet. Stop at the beach bar for a drink on the way and admire the view.

oia santorini best picture spotsGet some Instagram-worthy shots
If you are into your photography or social media you will want to get the postcard-perfect shots for your own collection. The best way to find these spots is to do a recon one day by wandering around the town and then get up early the next day before the tour buses arrive to get Lonely Planet snaps. I will soon be posting about the locations of the best spots so stay tuned!


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Inside the Impenetrable Abandoned Brewery in Berlin

After seeing the abandoned Bärenquell Brewery from the train and doing a quick recon visit it was apparent that this urban exploration trip would take some serious planning. With 3m high walls and a sea of razor wire, it was fast looking like an impenetrable fortress. Our only options were to arrive by boat on the River Spree followed by climbing up with a grappling hook or to hire a very tall ladder, along with a car and leap over the abundance of razor wire. This was a welcome challenge for us, the ever ‘hoptimists’.

Barenquell Brewery Main EntranceBarenquell Brewery Main Building berlinBarenquell Brewery Razor WireBarenquell Brewery TowerBarenquell Brewery Yard

Construction of this grand red brick structure started in 1882, back then it was called “Borussia”. At the end of the 19th Century, Berlin was the brewery capital of Europe and business was good. In the years to come other buildings were added including the large turret seen from the road, staff quarters and a couple of warehouses. The brewery had many different names until 1959 when several beer production companies decided to go under the one name: ‘VEB Berlin’, all were produced at the Bärenquell Brauerei.

Abandoned Brewery FireAbandoned Brewery Berlin Beer Bottleabandoned brewery electricalsAbandoned brewery berlin graffiti

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many companies in East Berlin found themselves going under. The East Berliners were all keen to get their hands on the forbidden West Berlin beer meaning that there was not much business left for the Bärenquell Brauerei especially with stiff competition. In 1994 the brewery closed its doors for good which was a big deal at the time, the brewery was one of the four main breweries in Berlin alongside Kindl, Berliner Pilsner and Schultheiss. The brewing of the Bärenquell beer was outsourced and ceased in 2014.

Abandoned Brewery BerlinAbandoned Brewery Tower BerlinAbandoned Brewery SchoeneweideAbandoned Brewery Rooftop

The wind whistled through the buildings in a haunting manner, not knowing what or who we would find, the excitement was rising and with adventure in our eyes we soaked up this abandoned place. The brewery was like a maze of biblical proportions, we zig-zagged our way through the many rooms, some still containing machinery left over from its hay-day. Each corner provided a new escapade and new historical findings from beer mats to invoices. A metal stairway led up to what would have been a manager’s office overlooking the River Spree, the second step worn out from feet climbing hastily to their superior. A beer bottle sat on a window untouched, still intact and containers of cleaning solution sat in the yard, sorted into bins.

spree view from abandoned brewerythe abandoned brewery basementInside the abandoned breweryAbandoned Barenquell Brewry in Berlin graffiticleaning bottles abandoned brewery

The smell of burning was fresh in our nostrils as we walked through many of the charred rooms, the heavy metal doors and windows still intact. As usual, the graffiti offered some comfort of human presence. Many eerie staircases appeared in the strangest locations, leading down into haunting darkness. One staircase in particular, led to where the beer was once kept in tanks. We crouched as we made our way through the pitch-black labyrinth rudely lighting the way with our phones, hoping not to find anything too gruesome.

Abandoned Brewery Berlin Grafittiabandoned brewery warehouseBarenquell Brewery Metal Doorsabandoned brewery hopsAbandoned Barenquell Brewry in Berlin

Light poured in through the ajar windows creating beautiful shapes on the ground, outside in the yard a hose leaked from a large tub of rainwater making us feel like we were not alone. This was by far one of the most exciting places I had explored. I think purely due to the fact that it was so impossible to get into which ensured that the vandalism was not at its worst.

abandoned brewery berlin amazinginside abandoned brewery berlinBarenquell Brewery Outisde yardabandoned brewery carsAbandoned Brewery Berlin yard

The yard was home to many piles of discarded items, once carefully organised only to be left to nature, adding an even more post-apocalyptic feel to the brewery. The accommodation for the employees was decadent, curtains still hung from the bathroom window which boasted a thick glass privacy wall in the shower. Several heavy-duty safes withstood the test of time on the bare floorboards offset by the peeling wallpaper and graffiti. This building took was the ultimate alt bau, the ceilings stretched above us with doorways as tall as two stories.

Abandoned Brewery Schoeneweide Main Houseliving quarters barenquell breweryliving quarters abandoned brewery

The Bärenquell Brewery is a listed building so the state refused the owners requests to build a hardware store in its place. In 2016 a new owner purchased the brewery and has been asked by the state to at least keep the listed building safe and inaccessible to vandals (the beer necessities). Today it serves as an art gallery for graffiti artists brave enough to face the razor wire and the 3m high walls.

abandoned brewery creepyabandoned brewery lift shaftabandoned breweryabandoned brewery from above

Tourist-o-metre: 0/10
We did not see a soul during this urban exploration adventure. Due to the large amount of razor-wire and the extremely high walls the brewery is almost inaccessible. The easiest way would be to go by boat and get in that way as on the river there is no security measures in place. With so many other easily accessible abandoned places this means that there is no one living there which usually is quite common in these types of places.

Thank you for stopping by, to read more of my urban exploration adventures you can click the related posts below or head here.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have ever trespassed on this property nor do I condone doing so. 


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Sources
Sanierungsgebiet Niederschoeneweide
Der Tagesspiegel

Bloomy Days, A New Floristry Workshop in Berlin

With the arrival of spring and many beautiful tulips, it is the perfect time to attend a flower workshop. After living in grey Berlin for a year it is safe to say that I welcome any colour into my life with open arms and Bloomy Days was no exception. Located in the upmarket area of Charlottenburg this quaint and pretty shop is beloved by the neighbourhood.

Bloomy days DIY workshopBloomy Days Berlin food.jpg

I was invited to do a DIY workshop with renowned florist Björn Kroner. Flower arranging was always something I had wanted to do but just never got round to. We started with some basics explained by Björn accompanied by a wonderful spread of appetizers, petite cakes and coffee.

The first arrangement that we did was a beautiful selection of different flowers arranged into a floral foam base. We started by using a glue gun to stick some green felt to a plastic pot while soaking the foam in water. We then placed the foam into the plastic pot and started to snip and place flowers into an arrangement. The shop was full of gorgeous flowers to choose from – I felt spoilt for choice. I was a bit worried my weird selection might look a bit odd but it came out beautifully!

Bloomy Days Workshop BjornBloomy days tulips BerlinBloomy days berlin floristry workshop

The second arrangement that we made was even more daring, it involved wrapping our flower stems to a metal mesh frame and then working this pictured fabric into the holes to give an unusual look. I found this one pretty difficult, my fabric kept popping out but I was offered plenty of help from Björn. The outcome was surprisingly beautiful, it was hard to envision the final product when we started – also let’s bear in mind I was doing this class completely in German so a round of applause for me please.

Bloomy days tulips Berlin workshop BjornBloomy days tulips Berlin workshop

Finally, we made a beautiful spring arrangement in vases of our choice. The yellow tulips are an icon of spring and the red-brown tones of the myrtle offset the yellow beautifully.

Bloomy days Berlin Bjorn Korner

I would like to say a huge thank you to Björn and the team at Bloomy Days, they made the experience amazing! I loved that they were giving away free tulips to the neighborhood while we were doing the workshop too – something so beautiful and generous that we should be seeing more of in this world!

So stay tuned for the Bloomy Days DIY Workshops, the company announced that more may be available in the coming months.


Useful Links

Bloomy Days Website

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The Ultimate Escape Room – Escape Berlin

Escape Berlin is an escape room experience located in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin with four intriguing games to choose from. I was recently invited to review the experience with a few friends in tow. The excitement was building as we made our way to Escape Berlin, having never done an escape room before we had no idea what to expect and the prospect of escaping a locked room was thrilling.

escape berlin

Upon arrival, we were brought into a ‘chill-out’ room with plenty of puzzles to warm up our brains while the staff prepared our game. The games are available in both English and German so if your German skills are not up to scratch then don’t panic just yet. We were briefed by a member of staff on the rules of the game and told the story behind the game we had chosen, which was Sherlock Holmes. You can choose your difficulty rating based on age and experience in escape rooms so everyone is welcome to play.

sherlock1_3000.jpg

We were then locked in a dark room where we had to solve the mystery of what happened to Sherlock Holmes. All the furniture and items inside the escape room were over 100 years old which made the game even more authentic. Escape Berlin gave us an hour to solve the mystery so the clock was ticking. We had to really work as a team and bounce ideas off each other in order to figure out where we had to go or what we had to do next. I will not give away any details about the game but I can assure you Escape Berlin really tested us, the creativity and attention to detail was incredible.

sherlock2_3000

We finished the game with four minutes to spare, the last two spent arguing and fumbling over the final key trying to figure out how we could get out. The game left us pumped and with a feeling of accomplishment, we reviewed the events of the day and laughed at the mistakes we had made. It was actually a real bonding experience.

I would really love to experience the other escape rooms that Escape Berlin have to offer now that I have tried my first one. It was surprisingly fun for all of us and actually felt quite real while we were playing it, especially because of the atmosphere and the sound effects.

The Games
There are four games to choose from:
➸ The Liquor Store – A game where you are encouraged to drink to find the legendary cocktail
➸ Kidnapped, where one of your team gets taken and you have to find them (18+)
➸ Big Päng, help the nerds find what they lost (this game includes lasers!)
➸ Sherlock Holmes, where you need to find Sherlock and solve the puzzle

sherlock3_3000

Before You Go
➸ No personal belongings are allowed inside, but free lockers are available
➸ The games are for 2-12 people for ages 8-90 years old
➸ You can book for parties, birthdays, bachelor parties, and work events
➸ Have your morning coffee for extra thinking power!

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Thanks for stopping by, if you are interested in other unusual and exciting things to do in Berlin then check out the suggested links below or my ‘Related Posts’.


Useful links

Book Your Escape Room

More Escape Games

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