Berlin needs to stop being so big…right now…
So, the kind, young man that is Simon Lewis whisked me away to Berlin.
Excellent. We booked a 2 night stay at a nice hotel near the shopping area. That’s important, isn’t it?
I knew that my BFF Terry had been there, him being the well travelled fellow. His advice was to plan before we got there as Berlin is a huge, huge city. He said that it wouldn’t be possible to simply stroll around like other smaller European cities. I listened carefully but didn’t actually get around to taking his advice.
I attempted to. I got a Berlin book with a Top ten of what to see, I spent hours on the net searching for top cafes, top restaurants and top everything. That in itself was overwhelming and it was impossible to plan a 2 day trip like this. I just didn’t have the energy.
Normal procedure of a Rozzie holiday*(*TM) is to arrive at city and sit in coffee shop all day with guidebook, coffee and other novel. At the end of the day, the rest of the group are happy to go anywhere and we have a plan for the next day. The plan usually centres around coffee shop, Jewish area, some sort of walking tour, glass of wine, sitting, art museum and more sitting.
However, this break was only 2 days. Plus, Berlin decides to shut all of the shops on a Sunday. How odd.
So, Sunday was spent visiting the usual must-sees of Berlin-The Reichstag, Brandenberg gate, Victory Column and the piece on the ground that shows “Berlin Wall was here”. I used the word “visit”, we moreso walked past these landmarks, posed for a photo and off we went.
We spent hours walking that day and even more hours navigating the Berlin metro/tube/underground. It was a great way to get a feel for the place but it was bleddy cold.
Apparently, the Berlin tube is the best and most efficient underground system in the world. Apparently, the German people are efficient too. Sunday night did not prove these stereotypes to be correct. It took us nearly 3 hours to get home on a combination of 4 tubes, walking outside to find another station and a broken down/cancelled tube. Simon may have a different account of the numbers I have used but that is not the point.
The point is it was cold.
We went to 2 rather nice restaurants, one called “Florian’s”, which was in the theatre district. http://restaurant-florian.de/ It served good ol’ traditional German home cooking, which I am not usually into. The pickled beef was divine and the chocolate mousse was so good that I regretted the “1 dessert, 2 spoons” idea of sharing immediately.
The other was a yum Vietnamese restaurant called “Saigon and more” which is run by this really, really cool and warm Turkish man who had lived in Berlin for about 40 years. The food was unbelievably tasty and fragrant, which I am told the way Vietnamese food should be. The dessert was Turkish-creamy yoghurt with grape syrup and toasted peanuts. This restaurant was one of hundreds we wanted to visit, it was way off the popular area but was thriving with people. Check out his sense of humour at http://www.saigonandmore.de/speisenenglish.htm
Shopping is amazing in Berlin but the main shopping street is so long and wide that crossing over to a chosen shop may cost you hours of your time.
Again, the time I have mentioned above may be slightly exaggerated. The very plush shopping department is Ka De We. Floors of unique things, including a Christmas gift section where the German humour was evident. A set of Christian teabags, anyone? Or how about a boxing glove on a stick to punch your husband when he is snoring? The top floor was dedicated to food….drink…nice things…Just sitting at a funky coffee bar with tasty German cake made my day. Now, this was more like it, I felt relaxed and took out my guidebook.
But…it was time to go back to the airport and fly home…
Booooooo…to big places…Boo o days going too quickly…Boo to not being able to live there….
We barely touched the surface of Berlin and I do wish that one of my friends had told us about needing a plan…