Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Berlin, day one

A couple of weeks back The Boy and I jetted off for a few days in Berlin. A city we'd never visited before but always wanted to.

It was The Boys Christmas present from me, which is becoming somewhat of a tradition. He's notoriously difficult to buy for as he wants for nothing. Gifts for his hobbies of cooking and cocktail making had pretty much been exhausted (no more glasses, thank you, they're all over the kitchen) so I turned again to a weekend away.

I really wanted to go to Kracow but after some digging around I discovered that Berlin was top of his "to visit" list, so a short (4hour long) browse on the internet threw up a trip that had a hotel I'd approve of and was in an area The Boy could explore for days on end. Two months later and we were off!
We took an early flight from Heathrow and were checked in and exploring the city by lunchtime. Our hotel was in Mitte, right by the Television Tower.
We took a stroll near the hotel and messed about on a beautiful fountain along with lots of other tourists. The weather was perfect, not nearly as cold as I'd expected, and for once I'd packed the right set of clothes for both the weather and the activities - yay me! It's only taken thirty years for me to nail this ever so tricky task.
The city is full of graffiti and quirky sculptures and reminded me a lot of Shoreditch and some areas of East London.
We settled down for some beers and food in the afternoon sunshine - cheese sausage for me, pretzel and veal sausages for The Boy, but really we shared it all - and it truly felt like we were on holiday, away from all the stresses and strains of everyday life. As much as I'm enjoying planning the wedding and the house move, I have to say it was nice to have the chance to forget it all for a while.
After our food we continued our afternoon stroll around the local parks and streets, stopping off at a flea market to search for bargains.

We managed to resist making any purchases but I particularly loved this part of the day. I've always been a bit of a bargain hunter and there were so many items that I could have easily taken home with me.
The buildings are fantastic. Old and new architecture sit side by side, it's the type of city I could imagine visiting for a whole week and sketching the entire time.
We even saw this amazing piece of art on the side of an abandoned building.

After wandering around for hours we heading back to the hotel for an hour where we wrapped up warm for a night time stroll to a local traditional German restaurant I'd read about online called Gerichtslaube.
Hungry from all the walking and looking to warm ourselves up we chowed down on a number of delicious dishes. I started with the cheese pear (well, why wouldn't you?!), whilst The Boy went for fish tartare - both of which were amazing.
For mains I settled on Berlin Escalope, while The Boy went for the Berlin Style Grand Feast. Basically every type of meat possible, all on one plate. Everything tasted delicious and was a great introduction to some serious eating, German style.

The setting was beautiful, really small and quaint, the perfect Saturday night for a romantic dinner date.
We headed back to the hotel and went for an evening swim (alas not in the aquarium) and then hit the mini bar before sleeping more soundly than ever before, exhausted from all the food and walking around.

Again, sorry for the lack of posts as late, life's been getting pretty hectic. There's more to come from Berlin and life in London, (hopefully) over the next few days.

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