We spent four days in Berlin over the most recent long weekend (don’t worry, there’s another one coming up in June and we’ll be spending it…traveling! To Budapest this time…) and had a great time celebrating Germany’s 60th birthday as a federal republic, despite somewhat iffy weather at first. Here’s how it broke down:
We woke up really early, caught a train to Nürnberg, caught a plane to Berlin, caught a bus to a platz near our hotel. Dropped off the non-essentials and reveled in Dunkin Donutty goodness with pals Snooker and TQE. Why aren’t there any DD shops in Regensburg? Or even Nürnberg? Oh well. After a while, Yelli showed up and the whole gang proceeded to enjoy the latest Star Trek movie. Especially the plot devices. Afterward, TQE led us to a really great Weinerei in Prenzlauerberg for dinner, laughs and geeky camera talk (I bow down to Snooker’s bokeh).
Yelli took us to the Reichstag and quite shamelessly exploited her own offspring in the process. We line-jumped due to their stroller, and settled our hungry bellies with world-famous currywurst from Curry 36. TQE and Sarah and I set out for a really nifty bohemian street after a stop at Einstein with Snooker for coffee. That evening Yelli & Family entertained the crew at their house for a great North African-influenced dinner. I am still fuming that they have access to merguez in bulk proportion and I wouldn’t even know where to look for it around here.
Most of the party made it to Winterfelder Markt for perusing and sampling. Highlights for me were the raclette stand and the freshly-squeezed OJ. After that, Snooker gave us an expert tour of the Gedächtniskirche — a fascinating war monument in that it, unlike just about everything else in Berlin (that I could see) was never restored or removed. It’s still there will all its fallingapartedness and big gaping holes. A trip to KaDeWe — Kaufhaus des Westens — secured me some long-sought-after aftershave and a chance glimpse at one of Germany’s Next Top Model contestants from this season. We didn’t see a name tag on her, but we’re pretty sure that was Dana Franke we saw there. Saturday evening Snooker took us to the Hackescher Markt area to seek out an Indian restaurant and were joined by the whole crew. After that, Nora showed up to the rescue with some tripods and Snooker and I geeked out with the night photography.
One final meal together at a restaurant for brunch, and then Sarah and I decided to go for a bus ride to the Siegesäule and walk from it to the Brandenburg Tor. It was a nice stroll through the park (partway) and a thoroughly fitting end to a great long weekend exploring a pretty-much new place.
It was great to experience Berlin outdoors; the last time we were there was Thanksgiving 2005 and it was freezing and we spent a lot of time trying to find ways to get warm. This time the weather was much more forgiving, but even better were all the suggestions from Yelli & Co., Snooker & Nora, and TQE as an experienced Berlin traveler and the great conversations. I loved bouncing from topic to topic across the table. Big, big thanks to everyone.
Here’s the slideshow: