Nobody told me there would be days like this, lounging on a beach chair in the sun, sipping ice-cold beer as boats lazily float past.
This wasn’t summer on the French Riviera; it was springtime in Berlin and the living was easy.
The sun’s warm rays buoy your spirit and lift your heart, especially if you’re travelling from somewhere with worse weather. Food tastes better, beer tastes better and everything is more photogenic.
Years later, you’ll look back at the pictures you took of that bright and sunny place and you’ll find it difficult to imagine it ever rains there.
For me, Berlin is one of those places.
I visited Berlin in late April a couple of years back. The sun was shining, the temperature was sitting somewhere around the high teens or early twenties (degrees Celsius) and there was nary a cloud in the sky.
Perfect weather for drinking beer.
But first my girlfriend and I hired a couple of bikes and went on a tour of the city – along the river Spree, taking in the Reichstag, the few remaining chunks of the Berlin wall and the Brandenburg Gate, among other sights.
The city’s architecture is as eclectic as it gets, with the hugely iconic Brandenburg Gate and the sleek curves of the Reichstag sitting at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Typical Berlin street food consists of big, juicy, delicious bratwursts often served with lashings of sauerkraut or curry powder to make currywurst. Or oversized pretzels covered in salty deliciousness, which go particularly well with German beer.
Germany is to beer what the French are to champagne. Suffice it to say, they are really very good at making it.
Even girly-looking fruit beers are a delicious treat. Provided you can suffer the indignity of drinking a pink-coloured lager, raspberry beer is well worth a try, as is the grapefruit-flavoured one that my beer-hating girlfriend confused for a bottle of soda.
Which brings me to Germany’s other great drink, at least in my eyes: Mezzo Mix.
A product of the Coca-Cola company sold only in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Finland, this delicious soft-drink tastes like a subtle mix of Fanta orange and cola. In fact, its slogan is “cola kisses orange”.
And spring is the best time of year to visit Berlin.
Predictably, Berlin gets very cold during the winter months with temperatures commonly dropping to below ten degrees Celsius and rarely ever going above five degrees.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, summer is Germany’s peak tourist season, with the price of flights and accommodation likely to go up according to demand.
Autumn, meanwhile, is a nice time to visit the city to avoid the summer crowds and the bitter winter chill but the weather tends to get a little more unpredictable as the country moves into the colder months.