We're already a week into our trip and all I can think is that I just want more. Last night was the best night of sleep we've gotten. I'm too afraid to claim victory yet, but I'm starting to think we're fully adjusted to the European time zone. We woke up at a leisurely 7AM. While Jenn continued to rest past 7, I was able to go downstairs and go for a nice morning run.
We ended up getting ready at around 10AM and headed out to the nearby U-Bahn station. Today we booked another food tour. We originally hadn't planned to, but after we had to cancel the one Jenn had booked for Paris (after our amazing dinner at Spring in Paris) we transferred it to Berlin.
The tour was scheduled to leave at 11, and the Metro app we're using in Berlin said it would take twenty minutes. Sadly half way through the Metro ride we were told over the intercom that the Metro stopped due to construction and that we would need to board a bus to get to our station. We were in full panic mode as at this point it was 10:45 and we were 2 miles away.
Luckily the bus ride was quick and it dropped us off at the next station and we were able get back on the Metro and make it to our food tour less then ten minutes late. When we arrived we met the other couple (from Maui of all places) doing the food tour with us. Karl the tour guide grew up in Germany, moved to the United States as a kid, and moved back to Berlin a couple of years ago. One funny quirk about Karl was that he loved to tell you about restaurants he hated while we passed them. There was at least ten times that we'd be walking by people eating at restaurants and he'd turn and tell us that there food was awful and never to go there. The four of us would always look at each other and laugh thinking these poor people are eating there right now.
The entire food tour took place on the east side of the wall. So learning about the history of this portion of Germany both pre and post war was fascinating. It's amazing that seventy years later you can still see buildings that show signs of WWII and the mass poverty that ensued afterwards. Much of the architecture and buildings of that time has remained. He let us know that the Germans try to repair rather then re-build.
The tour did not get off to the best start especially for Jenn. We started at a kebab shop a couple of blocks from the U-Bahn station. There we got to try Fritz Cola which was Germany's Coca Cola alternative during the war when they couldn't get Coke. It was actually really really good. It's by far the best alternative to Coca Cola that I've found. We also got to each have our own Chicken Pita sandwich. You might be thinking that's not very German. You're right. There's so many different cultures that have assimilated into East Germany post-WWII and we saw it through every street. Unfortunately for Jenn it had lettuce in it (and a lot of it) and a white sauce which she despised. To her credit though she braved it the best she could and ate as much as she could. Luckily this was the only dish today she didn't like.
From there we stopped at a Cafe/Bar where we had German FlammKuchen, by far the best thing I've tasted on the trip. Think of a thin crust pizza but instead of sauce, there's cream cheese. It was to die for. Jenn and I absolutely loved it. There I also got a beer which Karl mentioned but I didn't write down but it was great. Jenn also got an extremely generous pour of a Spanish red wine. It was at this point you could tell everyone sort of eased into the food tour.
After the bar we made our way back further into the eastern side of the wall, and went more on a walking tour for the next half hour. We saw several former Russian government buildings, and areas of the city that just haven't come back after the war. We stopped into two sweet shops and got items for later in the tour. It was at this point in the tour that we started jumping into some political banter.
This isn't the first time on this trip (plus a couple times in Paris) that someone has asked what's going on in America, specifically with Donald Trump. It's honestly embarrassing. Luckily our Hawaiian tour mates seemed to agree that Trump is a disaster walking. We talked about the upcoming German election, Angela Merkel and the work she's been doing in Germany, and in general world politics. We even talked about the Syrian refugee's coming to live in Germany and our tour guide pointed out all of the Syrian refugee welcome flags seen throughout our tour. It was endearing to see that not everyone see's these people as threats but people trying to leave a war torn nation. The political talk was sprinkled throughout the entire day and that might have been as much fun as the food tour itself.
The next stop on the tour was one that I personally was very excited for. We went to a small restaurant that specializes in Currywurst. This is a dish that was made for a Szerlip man. If I have a son, my one guarantee is that he will love Ketchup, all Szerlip men do. Well Currywurst is just sausage, with ketchup dunked generously over it, and curry on top. It was incredible, I loved it. No one else at the table seemed to like it, but I was in love. My love for curry, ketchup, and sausage in one dish, what could be better.
Our last stop on the three plus hour food-tour was at a German Schnitzel restaurant. There we had a traditional German Schnitzel (not to be confused with Wiener schnitzel which we will try in Austria) which is slightly different from its Austrian brethren as it's made with pork. Our Schnitzel came with a beer for me (water for Jenn) and three dipping sauces along with french fries. It was fantastic, thin, crispy, and the sauces and fries were great. The food concluded with an incredible cheesecake from a baker who was 80+ year's old and some chocolate walnuts both which were just great.
It was one of our better food tours. We really enjoyed the smaller group, the political banter, and of course the food. Our tour guide was fun, very opinionated, and kept the day moving really nicely. It was a fun experience and I'm glad that we had the mishap in Paris to give us an opportunity to really delve into German cuisine. Plus it gives us another excuse to go back to Paris.
After the food tour we were let off near the site of the Berlin wall. We walked a good stretch of a portion of the wall that remains. It's sort of hard to imagine that this wall separated the country for so long. Spending the day in what used to be East Germany you can still see the poverty, and the first signs of that area being re-built.
We spent a long time walking up and down the wall and then made our way back to the U-bahn station. That was until Jenn remembered that along our food tour route there was an old-school photo booth. If you haven't been to Berlin you may not know this, but these old school photo booths are littered throughout the city. So we stopped by one and took four snaps. Well three good pictures, and one of my shirt, the machine didn't have the best directions.
From there it was back on the Metro and back to our hotel. We got a little lost finding our hotel taking the longest route imaginable. The good news is we found it and were back resting. From there it was time to figure out dinner. Our food tour guide said that they had amazing Thai food in Berlin. Ever since Jenn turned me on to Thai food (right before our Barcelona 2010 trip) I've fell in love with it, so I was for one really excited for it.
Before we could get food we had to go out and find Jenn some shorts. For some reason she thought this trip was going to be far colder then it has been and so we found an American Apparel, bought her some shorts and then headed off to dinner.
Once we got to the Thai restaurant it was finally time to eat. I went with my favorite Thai dish, Panang Chicken. It was fantastic, the sauce which is a nice creamy curry sauce was one of the best I've had. Jenn had the crispy duck in a soy sauce that also was extremely good. Jenn was mostly happy because they brought out a giant bowl of white rice. She chowed down on that while I ate half her duck and my chicken.
It was a really nice dinner and we had a beautiful walk back to our hotel afterwards. Once we got back, we started getting our plans ready for our last day in Berlin tomorrow and finalizing our plans for the rest of the trip. The first week has been so good I just don't even want to think about it ever ending.