If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R Tolkien

04 October 2011


And only six months later I am back! The whole summer passed without a laptop and hence no opportunity to process my photos hence no inspiration to blog. I feel an inspiration to write more now that the laptop situation is fixed and the weather is getting colder, making it cosier to stay at home wearing woollen socks and drinking tea. Perfect time to start looking back at the lovely summer we had...

We had our summer holiday at the end of August, destination Berlin. It seems like everybody loves Berlin and I was convinced we would too by all the recommendations from credible sources. (Check Pumpkin Jam's post in Finnish of her trip for example) We stayed at Excelsior hotel near Zoologischer garten, which I had found just by browsing online. It was a bargain for a four star hotel, but we found it lacking personality and while the location was nice as such being very close to the U-bahn, S-bahn and busses, we were enjoying the eastern Berlin a lot more and found it a little annoying to have to travel quite a long distance to our favourite brunch cafe in Prenzlauer berg.

We spent a week in Berlin, mostly hanging around, eating LOTS, seeing the sights, shopping, getting a bit lost and just enjoying. Here is my Best of Berlin list:

1. Mauerpark
Berliners know how to spend their Sundays! At Mauerpark there is a huge fleamarket with lots of quality stuff, food stalls and good atmosphere. Behind the fleamarket there is a park where you can find all sorts of bands busking, people having picnics and chilling out. There is also an amphitheatre where a huge crowd gathers every Sunday for the Bearpit karaoke. I have never ever enjoyed watching karaoke as much as I did there.

2. Dinner in the dark
What an experience, recommend to everybody! We booked a table at Nocti vactus in advance and chose to have the surprise three course menu for around 30 €. We were a little apprehensive before the dinner wether it would be worth going or not, but as soon as our waiter Thomas led us in to the darkness of the dining room we were amazed. You really cant see a thing and you have to rely on all your other senses. You don't know what the food looks like, or in fact what it is so you really TASTE the food. After each course Thomas would ask us what we thought we had eaten and then correct us, if necessary. I was quite proud of my taste buds, I believe that practising with wine tasting has made me quite accurate. At one point we got company as unexpectedly an another couple was seated at our table. It was truly amazing to to start talking to strangers in the darkness and get to know them without seeing them. The night was unforgettable and so much fun. Thank you for the great company if you are reading this!

3. Brunch
Nearly every morning we had a great breakfast, the best ones were at Anna Blume in Prenzlauer berg and Schwarzes cafe quite close to our hotel. The three-tiered brunch is a must at Anna Blume, and well worth the wait. The cake selection looked amazing but we never had any room in our bellies for them...Next time. Schwarzes cafe had a lovely garden in the inner court and a good selection on different breakfasts. I made my own ordering smoked salmon and avocado, the best combo ever.

4. Getting lost
In Berlin you never know what is behind the corner. There are bars and cafes in courtyards, behind the East side gallery there is a beach bar, in Kreuzberg a Kiosk bus and a cafe in a vegetable garden.
Next some pictures starring the culinary delights of our visit... enjoy!

 Pad thai and a green curry at Mai Thai in Prenzlauer berg. Quite expensive but pretty tasty.

Prater, our favourite beergarten. Hundreds of people, pretty lights, Berliner Weisse and pretzels.

 Anna Blume three-tiered brunch. Divine.

 Beach bar behind East side gallery. I tried Moet Ice for the first time, quite refreshing but basically a waste of  Champagne.

 Amazing sushi at Sasaya in Prenzlauer berg.

 4€ Caipirinhas at Wohnzimmer.
 Outside Spanish restaurant Tres tapas where we enjoyed some really good red wine and tapas section, plus good tips from our waitress on what to see and do in Berlin. 

 Kjosk in Kreuzberg.
 Mexican lunch at Santa Maria in Kreuzberg. Loved it!! So happy that there is something like this also in Helsinki, might do a post about it later...

 Cafe in a vegetable garden in Kreuzberg. 

 Saturday market in Prenzlauer berg.

 Andy had a taste of the famous Berlin snack, Currywurst. Verdict: not the best you can have in Berlin.

 This is a crap picture from our African dinner at Massai. Interesting,would love to try again.

 Had to try one of these! Ice tea with bubbles. 

 Tasty focaccia type snach at Mauerpark fleamarket.

 Brunch at Swarzes cafe.

 Caffe & Gelato ice cream... Amazingness!

Proper German food on our final day. This was at restaurant Bavarium in Europe center. Schnitzel, spätzle and strudel. We like! Washed down with a glass of Riesling and a beer of course.

I loved the graffiti, observing was fun as you never knew where the next piece of art would be.

 Berlin, we will be back!!!

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