Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More of Berlin

Berliner Weisse - raspberry flavour

Eisbein and sauerkraut


Building sculpture - Kruezberg

Graffiti - aka Street art


Bullet ridden building - as part of our Third Reich tour


Bridge near the DDR museum

Proof that I was there - see no graffiti with "Lien woz ere" needed
A friend of mine described Berlin as one massive Newtown and I found Kreuzberg and Prezlauenberg to be like that. I guess it's the edgy student type area with the funky secondhand/vintage shops and cool little coffee shops and bars - so it was a great place to visit after the heavy historical walking tours we went on.

See the dress I'm wearing? Why I made it myself! It's the Lisette Portfolio (Simplicity 2245) dress (I went on a bit of a Lisette pattern spending spree at one point). I think I started off making the tunic but then changed my mind when I saw how much fabric was left over and changed it to the dress. Fabric is Lisette sateen as well. [Edit - just realised I've already posted about this - oh well you get to hear about it again!]

I look pregnant in this photo, but rest assured, it is just my gut from all the eating and cheap beer I was consuming. The weather was also picking up in the last two days we were in Berlin and was really starting to feel like summer - hence my squinty eye look.

I actually brought a few of my hand made clothes (including this mammoth effort of a knitted dress which I only ended up wearing to show to my in-laws).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bye bye Amsterdam - hello Berlin

Above ground water - pipes for construction (either water or sewerage)

Potsdamer Platz

Monsieur Vuong - Vietnamese restaurant

Berliner Dom - Museum Island

I think this was taken at Museum Island Berlin

World War II war memorial - Neue Wache

Bebelplatz Book burning memorial


Brandenburg Gates

Inside the Deutsche Bank Building - Berlin

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

What's left of the Berlin Wall
I was sad to leave Amsterdam (like I said, I can live there) but I was also really excited to go to Berlin. We ended up staying in Berlin for one day more than I had planned because I stuffed up the Berlin to Copenhagen flights (costly mistake!!). But I'm so glad I did. There was so much to see and do in.

Berlin was a bit of an "out there" choice for this trip. Very random but mostly because I have been reading Sandra's blog for quite a while and thought "why not?".

The BFG and I are into doing walking tours whenever we travel. While we were there, we did two walking tours - both run by Insider Tours. The guide who took us on both tours was just so enthusiastic. We loved it. I can't recommend enough walking tours through unfamiliar cities.

The funniest thing that happened to me while we were in Berlin was at the hotel we stayed at (Ku' Damm 101). For some bizarre reason, they gave us an accessible room. Now, I remember travelling when I was little and hotel rooms used to provide a laundry line in the bathroom so you can hang stuff up. So when I saw this red cord in the massive bathroom in our massive hotel room, I pulled it thinking I could wash my underwear and hang it. As soon as I did, this red light came on! Next thing I knew, the phone rang and the receptionist rang to see if everything was ok. When I explained what happened, she told me in a rather curt manner that it was for emergencies and not for flushing the toilet (not that I was trying to do that!).

The other thing about Berlin was how cheap alcohol was. Beer and kebab for less than AU$10? Score!  The thing I didn't get was currywurst. I couldn't see what the big deal was, it was a curry tasting sausage and you can get one on nearly every corner.

I was also really stoked at the cost of everything. I bought MAC and Benefit makeup for a fraction of what I would pay in Australia, discovered the Marimekko store near Alexanderplatz, and nearly died and went to vintage heaven when we went to a couple of flea markets - the BFG quite graciously said that I can buy some of this stuff if we ever move to Europe.

What I didn't really get around to was checking out some of the yarn stores. I did find one in Charlottenburg but they mainly stocked Italian yarn. When I asked about German yarns, the woman who worked in the yarn store told me that the Italian stuff sold better and the German stuff was a bit boring. Gah - I was hoping there would be a Berlin stockist of Wollmeise - oh well I did end up buying a couple of skeins of cashmere and saved my pennies for yarn buying when I got to Denmark.

We also managed to go see the Berlin production of Blue Man Group (done in both German and English). I had wanted to see this show when I was in Boston (many many moons ago) but ran out of time and never got around to it. The BFG who had seen in it New York (also many many moons ago) wanted to see it again because he thought it was so great. I'm not sure how to describe it (a series of skits?) but it's really worth seeing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A birthday in Amsterdam

Looks like torture

De Kas

De Kas - garden

De Kas - lights

De Kas - Aperitif

Fresh food and local produce

Most delicious tomato salad ever

De Kas - as evening sets

De - Kas

Red light district - Amsterdam

Amsterdam canals by night
We celebrated the BFG's birthday in Amsterdam. I wanted to book somewhere nice for his birthday and was already researching this before we left for our trip. I did think about trying to book at Noma in Copenhagen, but seriously, can't be bothered with their booking system. I would have had to check their website daily, three months leading up to the date to try to get a table. I read good things about De Kas and seeing as we would have been in Amsterdam on the day, I thought this would be great.

And it really was! All the food is grown on the restaurant's own farm, or in their greenhouse or sourced locally. It was fantastic and the price! Sydney fine dining restaurants need to get some lessons on how to run a great restaurant at decent prices. We had great service (none of this hoity toity crap you get in Sydney) and the location was fantastic (inside a giant glass greenhouse).

We also got our feet nibbled on earlier in the day. This really kind of grossed me out but the last time we were in the UK (in York specifically), there was a place that offered this but I was too chicken to try even though I knew the BFG was game. Seeing as it was his birthday I knew it would be something he'd get a kick out of. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and my feet felt nice and soft afterwards (could have been the soaking in the water, but I like to think the fishies did their job).

What's a trip to Amsterdam without a visit to the red light district? The canals are also lit up beautifully in the evenings. Oh and the thing I got a kick out of the whole time we were away? The fact that it was still light at 10pm. I LOVED that!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Amsterdam continued

Posts covered in denim

The shop - can't remember the name now, sells super exxy jeans.

Flower market

Floating garden (look closely)

Heineken Experience

Artis Royal Zoo

Band of bandits
We're home now and I'm just getting around to uploading my photos. There was a lot of walking and I felt that my feet were constantly swollen. We did a very touristy thing and went to the Heineken Experience. Last time we were in Copenhagen, we went to the Carlsberg brewery as well and felt that we should see what Heineken had to offer. I must say, it's very slick compared to Carlsberg but the BFG and I felt that it was more about the marketing and telling the world how great Heineken was. In comparison, Carlsberg was a bit more down to earth with a museum showing the history of Carlsberg and a friendlier bar where we we tasted the beer.

We also went to the zoo. Not something we would normally do while overseas but we bought the I AM Amsterdam card which included entry to museums and transport and we were trying to maximise it. I'm glad we did as I finally got to see racoons!