Thursday, 30 September 2010

Sore backs and new furniture

Last night we drove back and forth between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain to pick up the furniture we bought from R – we couldn't fit two kitchen chairs, a tiny drawer on wheels and a coat rack into the van and had to do a second run. Frustrating! We were home at 23.30 after starting to pack the van at 18.00. But now we finally have a comfy sofa, a wardrobe, a bigger coffee table, a new shelf, a table that we can turn into a desk... and a helluva lot of knickknacks that R added to our load, like a shoe rack, a smaller coffee table, balcony chairs and chocolate powder that expired in 2009. And now our apartment is a mess!

Only in Berlin...

To sell beer as take-away is not even legal in Finland. If it was, a beer would cost at least five euro. These little everyday details keep blowing my mind here in Berlin! The other day we bought four beers, a copy of Prinz magazine and a 400g Milka chocolate bar and they cost under six euro altogether!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

R is for risotto

My friend once summed it up pretty well: A relationship eventually boils down to asking each other "What should we have for dinner?" once a day. Often it really does feel like that. That's why Berlin is so great: we can afford to eat out more often than ever before.

Last weekend we couldn't resist trying this Mitte newcomer, RisOTTO, a restaurant that only serves risottos. I'm interested in any fast food that doesn't come from a big factory somewhere! We tried the mushroom risotto (€5,50) and the smoked salmon, horseradish and caper risotto (€7,50). The risottos are light and fluffy – not greasy and stodgy. RisOTTO is more of a lunch restaurant than an evening place: you place your order at the till, the portions are served quickly and the kitchen closes at 20.30. Italian fast food at it's best.

The cold isn't all bad

Blaah, blaah, blaah, weather... blaah. Rain and cold again, that's all I'm gonna say. We haven't even left the apartment yet today, just painted a little in the living room and did some cleaning. S and R are meeting up for a drink in Kreuzberg later tonight, I'm not sure we'll make it. I just feel like TV and chocolate :) So it's autumn.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sunny in Görli

Görlitzer Park in the sun

Last night we went to an Exberliner at Kaffee Burger event, where we saw up-and-coming Berlin bands My Name is Claude, Susanna Berivan (she was amazing!) and Paris Suit Yourself. As a result, we didn't get up early today, even if I had every plan to soak in all the rays on sunshine that I could – but we did our best. We had our breakfast al fresco at Restaurant Anastasia – the restaurant was picked solely by where we could get the most sun. Our cheese platters were €6,50 each, were nothing special, and the bread was clearly frozen, processed crap. With tea and a Saftschorle it came to €19,00, which to my mind is too much for a very average breakfast.

After brunch I cycled off to meet our friend R. To optimize our sun-intake we hung out in Görlitzer Park (with the rest of Kreuzberg – does no one in Berlin have a job?!). R is moving back to Finland next week and we have promised to buy a lot of her furniture to help her get rid of it (and to fill our empty rooms). Now she handed me a backpack and a paper bag full of bonus knickknacks; scissors, oven forms, a cook book, pens... I have a feeling we'll have a very full house by the end of next week!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The dinosaur and his friends

The Museum für Naturkunde is celebrating its 200th birthday this weekend and offering free entrance (usually €6). I have been waiting to see the world's tallest dinosaur skeleton since last summer! Work isn't as busy as I feared so I didn't have to go to the office today – so I dragged A to look at dead animals and skeletons instead. He was as excited as I was, mind you :) The exhibition "Klasse, Ordnung, Art", with dead fish and other creepy crawlies preserved in 276.000 glas containers and in 81.880 liter alcohol, will be on display until the end of February 2011. (Berliner Morgenpost article here.)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Öko at the corner

Last Friday I happened to stumble across an organic farmer's market just around the corner from our house. It's still very small, but you find all your basics: bread, cheese, vegetables, fish and meat. It's on every Friday between 12 and 18, on the corner of Samariterstraße and Schreinerstraße.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

My first time

They're everywhere: at the supermarket, at the farmer's market, in the office... All I've seen for the past week are figs! I have never had a fresh fig in my life – they are not a very typical Finnish fruit. I've only ever had the dried, sticky, brown ones that look more like mushrooms than fruit. But today, in honour of this Indian summer we got for the weekend, I had fresh figs for breakfast on our sunny balcony!

I'm not sure I love figs yet – they were a bit bland – but they were the most beautiful thing on the table, for sure.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The best breakfast in Friedrichshain?

One of my absolute favourite things about Berlin are the breakfasts. You can get a decent breakfast almost any time of the day, almost anywhere. It should be enjoyed slowly and in good company. I never recommend that any of our visitors get the hotel breakfasts: go out, be adventorous, be Berliners! This time of year wasps ruin the joys of al fresco dining, but inside is warm and cosy, anyway. When A's parents were visiting Berlin they happened to walk into this amazing café on Voigtstraße, that has now become a regular spot for us. The bread and the pastries at Orange Coffee are homemade, the coffee is good and the portions are generous. I'd say it could be the best breakfast in Friedrichshain, at least for value for money (in photo: Meditarrenian breakfast plate €3,80, fresh mint tea €1,80.)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Guiding a shopping brigade

I got some unsolicited retail therapy yesterday. My friend came to Berlin for a short work trip and wanted to meet up with me. She ended up bringing five colleagues with her: picky fashion lovers, all thirsty for shopping – which I know very little about. I suggested we meet at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz U-bahn stop and then head towards Münzstraße, Alte Schönhauser Straße and Rosenthaler Straße. They found a lot of interesting shops there that I somehow have never even noticed. The best find was probably this, a vintage shop on Neue Schönhauser Straße called Made in Berlin:

There are two rooms for shoes in the back and a cool selection of vintage accessories, like hats and bags. I've read about it's sister shops, Garage in Schöneberg and Colours in Kreuzberg, where you can shop second hand stuff for €14,99/kilogram. They're meant to be good, too.

I'm feeling a bit shitty today, because my boss told me off for asking about the raise that I thought I was getting this month. Not until next month (of course, apparently). Maybe the shopping brigade will call me for nightlife tips and I can drink it off :P

Monday, 6 September 2010

Monumental Berlin

Geifswalder Straße, Prenzlauer Berg (near the corner of Danziger Straße).

These colossal things always surprise me when I've haven't thought about the history of Berlin for a while. I used to live in P'berg and never saw this before last week!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Kiezfest / Suppe & Mucke

We had fun at the Suppe&Mucke street festival yesterday. The concept was simple: soup and music (=mucke in Berlinish). We bought a bowl and a spoon for €1,50 and then got to eat free soup from any of the different stands. I had three different soups and my favourite was a Thai coconut soup – I don't even know who was serving it and to promote what cause. The music was ok, my favourites were the folk/ska bands like Berlinska Dróha and Walakatah. The first band we saw was Fire Flowers, a pop/punk band of 12-year-old girls :)
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