Thursday, 25 February 2010

Spring, glorious spring!

Wow, what weather we had in Berlin today! +11°C and full on sunshine! To our misfortune we slept in (partly because A was up at 4am to watch Finland beat the Czech Republic in hockey) and only realised in the afternoon how nice the weather was. We ran out to get breakfast, or lunch, and a lot of sun. We found a perfect spot on Fehrbelliner straße, where we could sit outside in the sun at La Focacceria. I love the focaccias at the focacceria on Kastanienallee, and these were just as good! Three big pieces cost 4,20€, a cappuccino 2€ and tea 1,20€ – a very reasonable price for lunch for two. Not to mention a seat facing the sun!

We popped in to Lidl on Choriner straße and found that they have again had a Nordic week with nordic products on sale. They still had Danish akvavit, Finnish lingonberry jam and Swedish punschrullar, chokladbollar and mazariner left, and we stocked up on "dammsugare", my favourites!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Hired! (Spring in Berlin)

Last weeks job trial exhausted me: getting the magazine to print in time while working in a chaotic environment and not having a clue about the system was tough. The magazine is ganz ok, but the work flow is like going down a hill with your eyes shut on a bike with no breaks. Yesterday, after we finished the issue and sent off the pages at 20:30, I was finally told I got the job! That means we get to stay in Berlin, and we won't run out of money! Yay! It's just a part-time job, but it pays enough to cover our rent and bills, and that's all we really need now.

It's been happy days here lately; we've seen more and more of the sun and less and less of the snow. I hope the thermometer won't dip below zero anymore and I can take out my blue bicycle again! It's going to be a good spring in Berlin!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Half way there

I'm half way through my Probearbeitwoche, and am a little exhausted. I forgot how tiring it is to work :) It ads stress to have a trial period and trying to be in charge of the situation and three interns – I think I'm doing an ok job, though. We'll see by Friday, I guess. And A has another interview next week, after getting a 'no' on Monday from the IT job he thought he would get! Hopefully we will find incomes soon and get to stay in this fantastic city a bit longer...

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Probearbeit stress

Tomorrow begins my week of Probearbeit. In Germany it's customary to first invite job applicants for interviews, then select a few to do a work trial for a day or longer. Usually you get paid, but it's not a given: I'm lucky that both my Probearbeits so far will be compensated for. I'm a little stressed, because I have a feeling that tomorrow I am entering a very artistic and disorganised environment and will have to work really hard to get my share done. I also did a trial with a photographer on Friday, and she wants me to help her out next week, too – not a chance! Why does everything always happen at once?

Luckily we got to relax a bit on the weekend and had a very successful fasching party yesterday. I ended up dressing as Alice in Wonderland, because I had everything I needed for that at home. A dressed up as Finnish rocker Ville Valo, from the band HIM. The best costume award was won by K, who came dressed as the Fernseherturm!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Happy tourists

We have been running around Berlin for four days, drinking beer and eating too much. Our friends just left for the airport and we get to stumble on to the sofa and watch something nice and silly like Heroes or American Idol and drink tea.

We tried to take it really easy with our tourists and not tire anyone out with too many sights. We have a routine down for our visitors: we start at Potsdamer Platz and see the Sony Centre, then walk north to the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag, where we go up in the dome if the queue isn't too long. Then walking along Unter den Linden to Alexanderplatz we check out most of the old, pompous buildings, the last one being Berliner Dom. That takes about a half day, and after that we are free to do more fun stuff, like buy t-shirts and drink cheap beer :) Anyway, the best thing in Berlin is the funky bars, the cheap food and checking out the different neighbourhoods. We also had time to take L and U for to our favourite bar, Zyankali, in Kreuzberg. It reminds us of Bar Mary, our favourite bar at home, that was closed a few years ago. Zyankali is just a bit more crazy: skulls, spiders and coffins galore! The Zyankalibrau is delicious and dangerous stuff...

Last night our friends spent the night at Michelberger Hotel in Friedrichshain – our birthday present to them. The hotel was soooo cool! We all went there together yesterday to check in L and U, and we had a beer at the bar. I wish I had a reason to stay there myself!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Fasching and friends

NOT fashion, fasching – the German carnival celebrations are culminating right around now. We are invited to (and kind of co-hosting) a fasching party next Saturday and have had to think of low budget costumes for the occasion. I haven't been to a costume party in over ten years, so I'm a bit clueless. I hope everyone embraces their inner German, dresses up and has fun with it!

Tomorrow our friends L&U are coming from Finland to visit us for three nights. We almost never see them, and because they have kids, it's not so easy for them to get away. I am really happy to show them around Berlin! It's both of their birthdays this month, so as a surprise we booked them a night at Michelberger Hotel, a mega-cool new hotel in Freidrichshain. I hope they will love it!

Photos from

Friday, 5 February 2010

Eating and... eeh... eating.

If I don't watch out this will turn in to a food blog :) I just really have to write down the name and details for our newest Sunday brunch hang out. Last Sunday the sun was shining and the snow and ice melting, and we met with our Finnish friends for brunch at Schwarze Pumpe on Choriner Straße. We have walked past it before and the name staid with me, but not until I found this great blog on Berlin cafés did it occur to me to go in. The brunch buffet is fresh and plentiful and only sets you back €4,50 – and it's really popular, so a booking is strongly advised. We got there at 11 and had a perfect timing: later it got busy and the kitchen started to struggle to keep up with the demand.

Other than that we haven't been eating much. Well, I got take away sushi from Papa Nô the other night. Their sushi was surprisingly tasty and reasonably priced – even if I still prefer to not patron restaurant chains. I might have to give them some more of my business, because they have a free delivery service as long as you order for over €10... Then we ate more sushi on Wednesday: D wanted to thank us for letting him stay with us by treating us to sushi and a tour of his new apartment in Kreuzberg. He took us to Akitatsu on Bergmannstraße, where they seem to have a never ending happy hour and half priced sushi – very affordable, very tasty, miso soup and all.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Another interview

I had my first job interview in German today. It went quite well, I'm proud to say. I'm not sure I want the job, but I'm also not sure if I get to pick and choose anymore. It would be an interesting gig as a part-time assistant for a social events photographer, but hard work and awkward hours, too. We'll see, she will let me know by the weekend. In two week I will do my "Probearbeit" at the magazine I interviewed with ages ago... So maybe something will work out. Our really good friends are taking some time off from their kids next week and will let their hair down here in Berlin – so we need to get some rest before then :)

A is actually schmoozing at a Gibson charity event tonight – I offered him my spot as our well connected friend K's plus one. Maybe they will offer him a job on the spot? Meanwhile, I get to eat all of our new favourite sweets: Bärenland on Schönhauser Allee has upped their game for us true candy connoisseurs ;)

Monday, 1 February 2010

The best pizza in Berlin?

It's the word on the street: the best pizzas in Berlin are served at
A Magica in Prenzlauer Berg. We read about it in the Zitty Lieblingsrestaurants booklet and later our American friend K convinced us with her empirical research results: it's true. When she asked us if we want to join her for a pie, we jumped up and down with excitement to finally try this treat. What can I say – it is a good pizza and I'll go back for more. I had a buffala mozzarella, cherry tomato and basil pizza (€7,50); the dough was good and the base thin, the cheese was of high quality and I loved their tasty tomato sauce. Their red Nero D'Avola was cheap and lovely, too :) A Magica is small and gets very busy, so make a reservation or go early!

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