ask Dirk about
asian food • local design • flea markets • parks • café • german food • beer gardens
What do you do and why do you do it?
I work in tourism and couldn't imagine being in any other industry. I believe travel is the best teacher of important life lessons: learning mutual respect, understanding diversity and appreciation for what you have.
What are the best TV shows of all time?
Friends - all time favourite. Veep - cracks me up every time. Black Mirror - scary to think how close we're coming to that reality. Breaking Bad - took me a while to get into, but then captivated me.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
I'm a bargain hunter and not into fancy designer clothes. I usually just go to WE or Jack Jones - casual & stylish.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Rent a houseboat with a few mates and float across the lakes. Beers, sunshine, swim, BBQ - what could be better?
Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Berlin that you particularly like?
Mauerblümchen near S Schoenhauser Allee. East-Berlin style bar that's not very obvious when you walk past. Unfortunately, it's become less and less busy recently, but I still like it. Try a Bananenweizen (wheat beer & banana juice) and the Soljanka (stew inside a loaf of bread).
Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?
Berlin kebab to end a good night out... or just when you feel like it (at least every Tuesday or so for me). Currywurst - yeah, the guidebooks are right about that. A good 'Mettstulle' (mince meat on a slice of bread topped with fresh onion and gherkin).
What’s the one place you think is overrated in Berlin?
Klunkerkranich in Neukölln: alternative bar/ beer garden on top of a shopping mall with nice views across the city. You'll probably find that recommended as a local secret or something. The views are actually really good and the way it's done up is kinda nice, but staff weren't very friendly and I expected a lot more of the menu. A little pricier due to increased popularity with tourists more than the locals.
What are the Berlin spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
Even though Berlin is very spread out, the most important monuments are actually in walking distance from each other: if you start at Alexanderplatz, check out the TV Tower and the World Clock, walk across to Hackescher Markt, past Museum Island and the Dome. The main street Unter Den Linden takes you past some of the bigger museums & cultural institutions, Berlin's biggest university, some embassies all the way to Brandenburg Gate. From here you get to the Reichstag to the right or the Holocaust Memorial on the left. A bit further is Checkpoint Charly, Potsdamer Platz and Topography of Terror.
Tomorrow’s your last day in Berlin. How do you spend it?
Call all my friends and start with the closest place I've marked on my cousin map. Then work my way through until I realise it's morning and I should probably start packing.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
SYDNEY - what can I say, it's my second home and I fell in love with the first step I took. The harbour is stunning at day & night - it never gets old even after living here for years. The Eastern suburbs have some real gems in terms of bar & restaurants and the beaches are fantastic. If you're going, don't miss the coastal walk from Tama/ Bronte to Bondi.