sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Phase 2 - The Berliners

I know I haven't continued the story very quickly, but I have still been travelling!  Now for some down time and updating the next phase of the trip - to Berlin!  Atilla was meant to come with us, but at the last minute, he couldn't.  So Stanley and I flew there for about a week of exploring.  I had never been to Germany, so it was a fabulous introduction.  
When we arrived, we headed straight to our fabulous Airbnb in the trendy Kreuzberg neighbourhood of Berlin.  It was good sized old place with character.  Stanley loved her loft bed.  
The loft bed
The courtyard
Then we headed out for some lunch.  Ironically, our first meal in Germany was pizza.  But it was really good.  We had been up pretty early that day, so after a nap we went to check out a bar called Madam Claude's.  It was pretty funky with its furniture on the ceiling decor and really big beers.  But we loved it -- except it happened to be experimental arts night in the performance space.  It felt more like a David Lynch film, so we didn't watch very long.  Luckily for us, the bar tender from NZ was very informative about stuff for us to do during our stay.
Madam Claude's
The next day we got up early and headed out on a scheduled free walking tour of Berlin.  I highly recommend doing one if you can.  We picked the one listed second on google which meant we had far less people on our tour.  It was very good.  We saw a lot of buildings and memorials.  I was particularly fond of the holocaust memorial with its eerie grey stone blocks.  Photos of the tour....
Me at the Holocaust Memorial

We made sure we had a pit stop for a snack -- the infamous Curry Wurst.  It is basically a brat covered in curry sauce, but a staple in Berlin.  Accompanied with a pint and chips, it is a great staple.
There were quite a few others around Berlin at the time so that night we had dinner with Gabriel and Julia at the Chen Che Tea House.  It was fantastic.  Then we met up with Lauren for a few beers.  

The next day we dedicated to museums: The German History Museum and the Topography of Terror. Both were incredible and took a lot of energy for everything there was to read, but really fantastic. The lunch at the German History Museum was worth the stop alone.  The next day we got up early and went to Potsdam, the site of an old Prussian castle and gardens.  The house itself was a small version of Versailles and the gardens were incredible.  It was a lovely sunny day so we wandered around for a while.  

That night we caught up with a few others for pulled pork sandwiches and more beer.  We also stopped in again at Madam Claude's.  We even managed to have a few road side beers - quite a Berlin thing to do.  
We decided to investigate a new cafe in our neighbourhood for breakfast the following morning.  It was called ORA and used to be an old pharmacy.  It ended up being the best coffee we had so we returned several times.  

We did a bit of shopping around Berlin and then met up with Gabriel and Julia for dinner at Freishswimer.  This place was definitely worth the trip.  But next time we would book!  It is outdoors along the canal with incredible food.  Even though we waited for a table, it was totally worth the trip. We jumped in the photo booth at the end of the night as well.
The next morning was brunch at Morganland followed by a tour with the others to the Boros Collection.  This was amazing.  You have to book in advance.  It is a private art collection in an old above ground bunker.  The couple who own the gallery (and the art) built an apartment on top of it and change the collection every 4 years.  Highly recommended.
After beers, brats and pretzels in the Prater Garden, Stanley and I headed off on our adventure to the Hipster Escape Party.  The Escape Party trend was new to us, so we turned up at an apartment building, took the lift to the top floor, opened the door and walked in.  The door shut and locked behind us and we had 60 minutes to solve some problems, follow the clues and 'escape'.  There was a mobile phone in the room which texted us hints along the way (which we definitely needed at the start!).  But when it got to 59 minutes, we made it out!  Although some of the others had doubts, Stanley and I loved it.  
We were quite pumped after our party escape, so we wandered around a bit.  We ended up stumbling upon a huge outdoor beer garden/live music/art space venue called Neueheimat (New Home in English).  It was very cool and some parts were probably too cool for us, but we had a great time.  

The following morning, we hit a local flea market and another stop at Morganland brunch and ORA for coffee, before heading off to the train station.  We had a big overnight trip ahead of us off to Phase 3 - 6 cities in 7 days.  Next stop: Venice!
In our train carriage
So obviously there is more to come.  I will try to get it out sooner.  Hope all is well with everyone.