Well, now that is an understatement! I am spending the Christmas Holiday here, and Berlin is very cold, what was I thinking? I must have had a brain freeze (no pun intended) when I decided to spend my time in this city at the height of winter. Eight years of sandy beaches -flip-flops and cheap beer in Vietnam must have had an impact on my thinking.
I am here now, taking in the sights of these pompous, opulent buildings, and I’m walking around this city with five layers of clothing on, looking like a snowman in disguise- and loving it. I realize Berlin Is fabulous in all its glory and history.
The history of this Sachsen land and its culture is everywhere. Museums come in packages of dozens. One runs into the other, no wonder there is Museum Island, an absolute must do and see. However, I suggest that springtime might be more suitable for the average tourist.
Graffiti and street art is everywhere, and besides being affordable, I loved it. This city certainly has impressed, confused, excited and emotionally worn me out, and that is only after day one.
Of course, Die Mauer (the Wall) and Checkpoint Charley brought me down instantly. Being a cold war enthusiast; spy movies, spy books have occupied me since the early stages of my life. I would have loved to be a spy in those days. I saw myself in a long trench coat with the collar up, the fedora big enough to cover my face but not the cigarette that is hanging out of the side of my mouth, disappearing into the night mist after the good deed was done. Yup, that was my fantasy world growing up in Austria.
Fast forwarding into this present time in Berlin, I can smell the gluhwine and the sausages grilling on every corner, and I know I have arrived into foodie heaven. Leberkase, Schnitzels and Goulash, and bread, beautiful, perfectly baked bread in every shape, colour and form, what’s a girl that loves those loaves to do? I figured out that there must be as many bakeries as people are living here. I am not kidding when I tell you that there are 3-5 bakeries in every block, thank goodness I brought my stretchy jeans along on this trip.
But that’s not all. You get everything here, amazing donairs the size of the tower of Pisa are starring at you everywhere, pizza better than in Rome (forgive me Italy) the gorgeous, inspiring sandwiches are calling you from every corner.
There are more Vietnamese restaurants here than in Hanoi with a menu that always includes Sushi, have not yet figured that one out. Vegan and vegetarian burgers are piled high with the oddest yet most delicious fillings that make you salivate instantly. Care for a salad plate with greens growing out of the plate that resembles a Christmas tree with a poached egg on top like an ornament?
People of all ages line up for the famous Currywurst at the little kiosk on the side of the road, where mustard and ketchup come in 20-liter buckets with a pump, no matter how cold it is on the street.
How on earth can these Berliners look so trim and lean? Is it because everyone rides a bike on their great bike lanes, (without a helmet) no matter what the temperature?
Should you ever consider celebrating New Years in this city, fair warning dear friends, as fireworks with noise is the name of the game. It goes on for hours on end, hundreds of people are on the streets making sure no one sleeps through this event peacefully. I finally know what a gun battle might sound and feel like.
I have not yet figured out if this is heaven or hell, all I know is BERLIN IS VERY COOL – put it on your travel list!