Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Postcards from Berlin: Bites

I had a rough time in Berlin.  I have never been anywhere in the world with a deeper, darker history.  I grew a fascination with Berlin’s cold war history where the east was split up from the west via a wall.  But after soaking myself in museum after museum touching on Cold War Berlin and World War II, it got a little bit depressing, truthfully.  As if commiserating with me, the weather was gloomy and raining a slow drizzle the entire time.  My German cannot even be considered pathetic because, well, it doesn’t exist.  It starts and ends with “danke”

I stifled my shivers under my umbrella as I walked the length of the renowned boulevard Unter den Linden (Under the Linden Trees) hoping to get a little pick-me-up from the monochromatic couple days by admiring the dramatic turning of leaves of these famous linden trees.  I was almost at the end of Unter den Linden and did not see a single linden tree.  I checked my map again.  Yes, I was not lost. 

Well, it turns out, they pulled the trees out temporarily while the subway was under construction.  
I sighed loudly and squared my shoulders.  I surveyed my surroundings looking for somewhere to sit and at the corner, a Microsoft emblem seemed to wink at me.  Just because it was the only thing familiar and recognizable, I crossed the street to find out what it was.

It was a Microsoft Digital Café that had a small menu, free Microsoft gizmos with wifi available for use, books about Berlin (in English!), uber friendly staff who joked around and spoke English.  If you can’t tell yet, it was my haven for an hour.   

I gathered my bearings as I slowly worked on my delicious beet soup.  One staff member kept coming by and checking up on me.  It was a rare friendly encounter with a stranger in Berlin and just because of that, I am choosing to defer judgment on what I think about Berliners.  

I would also defer judgment on Berlin food since I did not have a lot of time in Berlin.  I would say though that if you're a foodie, the fifth (or is the sixth?) floor of KaDeWe is where it's at.  Typical Berlin food include weinerschnitzel, which is breaded pork steak fried and served with fries and pickled vegetables.  There's also a significant Turkish population in Berlin so currywurst - a sausage drenched in catsup with curry served with a German roll - is a staple here.

My first ever Weinerschnitzel
It was so tongue-in-cheek, I had to try it.  Checkpoint Curry?  Too clever!
Dining under the S-Bahn train rails on Savignyplatz.  Literally.

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