September 4 in Berlin

It was raining this morning when I woke up which made me move slowly.

I wandered the six blocks to Nollendorfplatz for breakfast and I happen upon a farmers’ market/art show. It’s very large with lots of food and art vendors wrapped around this church.  This must be the church whose bells I hear from the hotel.

Three croissants, 100 grams of Gouda cheese and some slices of salami become breakfast as I wander the stalls looking at the different food items and great handmade artwork. I find some gift items and souvenirs.

The market attracts lots of different folks from old women doing their shopping to young couples with their kids. The market had a very authentic feel and I enjoyed it immensely.

On one corner of the square, I noticed someone tending a lush balcony garden five stories off the ground. Also noticed a burrito shop which just doesn’t seem right.

Took the U-bahn (part of Berlin’s amazing transit system) to Charlottenburg to see one of the attractions I saw from a distance on yesterday’s tour, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche (Emperor William Memorial Church). This cathedral that was all but destroyed during World War II was surrounded by a children’s carnival today. Quite a juxtusapostion for a memorial to the destructiveness of war.

Adjacent to the damaged tower is a new modern church known locally as the “lipstick case.”

The floor of the old church was a beautiful mosaic of an angel. Most people were staring up at the ceiling, which was beautiful, and not even noticing what they were walking on. The displays are in German and English and follow the history of the building from compoletion in the 1890s through present day. Some of the exhibit talks about how even Jews that converted to Christianity were persecuted by the Naxis. Wondered if the bombing raid that all but destroyed this church was one that Uncle Joe flew on during the war.

Outside, there were some street performers including a group of guys doing some bad break dancing and another doing skateboard tricks.

I wandered a bit further down the street which was one of the big shopping streets in West Berlin to view an interesting piece of public art. The guide yesterday had called it fighting spaghetti and I understand why.

I hop back on the transit system, The S-bahn and U-bahn (one’s supposed to be underground and the other above ground, but the first train I took went both above and below ground) to Friedrichstrasse with the intention of going to Pergamon Museum which is supposed to have some great antiquities on display. I never made it inside. Blame it on the great weather and another market that stretched along the river with everything from antique books to drawings and original paintings to souvenir crap.

Meandering through the market, I ended up at the same at the same cafe as yesterday, Cafe Im Sueg Haus. As I take my seat, I notice today’s entertainment is a mime who mocks folks walking through the market. I’m horrified to think I may have been one of his subjects just moments ago but am soon laughing along with the rest of the crowd at his good natured antics.
You sure can’t beat the view of Berliner Dom and I love when the bells ring. The little birds are quite tame here at the cafe and hop on the table to join you much like the Kona Country Club. The waiters use a wireless device with stylus to enter the customers orders — kind of high tech. After the mime, one of the young accordion players from yesterday is back, this time playing to track music. I decide I LOVE cafe live in Berlin and it’s not due to accordion music.

The Ice Tea I ordered turns out to be a sweetened, peach-flavored liquid that’s good enough. My lunch is a chicken breast sauteed in thyme and rosemary with root vegetables and potato noodles. It was excellent and affordable.  A patron at a nearby table calls over an older accordion player and sings along with him.

I notice folks walking by with what looks like hotdogs in super short buns — the bun is about 1/5 the length of the dog. I guess they’re meeant as a tidy way to eat a sausage by hand.

Just realize that most kids here don’t wear bicycle helmets. When the bells ring again, I realize that an hour has slipped by without an effort. Ah, vacation.

I walk back to the hotel through some of the same neighborhood as yesterday including Humboldt Universitat and the Mercedes Gallery.

I take a nap, work on the notes for this blog and then head out for a late dinner.

I decide to stop by an Italian restaurant to experience the German take on this cuisine. I thought I ordered pork medallions but what arrived was either beef medallions or the rarest pork I’ve ever eaten. Let’s just pretend for sure that it was beef. Regardless, it was delicious in a balsamic reduction sauce served with greend beans and root vegetables. It’s a very leisurely-paced meal.

I should have closed the window before going to bed, but I love sleeping in fresh air. I awake chilled and double up the duvet to get warm. I haven’t mentioned the hotel bed before. The king-sized bed is actually two twins shoved together which is common in Europe. What is odd is the bed’s wood frame including two slats down the middle of the bed that are taller than the mattress when one lays down. Makes for an interesting experience when one rolls over onto a cold wooden slate.

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