April 28, 2011

Cookies Cream - Best Restaurant in Berlin

My friend Robin, who somehow always knows the absolute coolest places to go, recommended Cookies Cream for dinner in Berlin. She doesn't even live in Berlin, never has, and yet she sent us to the coolest place we went to on our trip with the best food. I don't know how she does that.

Cookies Cream is located in an alley. In her article in The New York Times, Gisela Williams describes it well: "Finding Cookies Cream is tricky. This upscale restaurant is tucked at the end of a garbage-filled alleyway behind the Westin Grand Hotel, upstairs from a club called Cookies." If you want to see this for yourself, go to their website and follow the dots. That's exactly the path we took. Good thing we were forewarned or we would have turned around. And good thing we didn't turn around, because the food was fantastic.

April 26, 2011

Berlin Day 3 - Sachsenhausen concentration camp

On day 3 in Berlin we toured the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Be warned, this post contains some grisly details, so skip it if you're not up for that today.

The camp is outside of Oranienburg, which is a small town a short train ride from Berlin. We arrived at the same train station that prisoners arrived at from Berlin.

The camp is a 15-minute walk through town.

April 19, 2011

As it turns out...

it's hard to blog during vacation, even just to post pictures. Right now we're in Amsterdam. What a crazy city. We got lucky and the weather has turned beautiful. Perfect walking-around weather, though the bright sun makes it hard to take great pictures because of the shadow. I'm learning so much about photography, and I will post pictures when I get home this weekend. Until then, I hope you're enjoying your week!

April 16, 2011

Berlin - Day 2

Okay, no stories this time. I did not get a nap in yesterday or get to read more of The Hunger Games, so I'll just post pictures for now and label them, and tell stories later.

Day 2 we did a walking tour. We started off by checking out Museumsinsel (Museum Island), which is an island full of museums, where the city was originally established. This is the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery):


Our tour guide said that though this, and many other buildings, look super old, it's really been rebuilt after the war. Our guide said that you call tell which parts of buildings are the originals by the bullet holes; all of the original building foundations have bullet holes. At first they were left because the city could not afford to fix them, and then they were left so that the city would never forget what happened to cause them. They take the history here very seriously. It's actually against the law to deny that the holocaust happened, to do the Nazi salute in public, or to wear or display the swastika.

April 14, 2011

Guten tag! May I offer you some currywurst?

I apologize, San Francisco. It was me, not you. Apparently I bring the rain. When Graybeard and I got to Berlin yesterday morning, it was gray and rainy. When we got up this morning, it was gray and rainy. When we looked at the weather report for the rest of our trip, we saw that it will be gray and rainy. But! After we leave here at 7am on Monday morning, it will no longer be gray and rainy! Good for you, Berlin. You deserve some nice weather, you're a neat place to visit.

Here are a few pictures of our travels so far.

We took an overnight flight and arrived at 10am (4am body time). We were sleepy. So we checked into our hotel near Alexanderplatz early, and we slept. That felt good. Then we got up and wandered. It was only a 10-minute walk to Hackescher Markt where, according to Rick Steves' Berlin guidebook, "The brick trestle supporting the train track is a classic example of the city's Brandenburg New-Gothic brickwork" and "Most of the brick archways are filled with hip shops." There was tons of outdoor seating, which there is all over the city, and it must be a lively place to be in nice weather.

Then we wandered some more, and came upon the following church. But we didn't know anything about it, and we kept going.

April 7, 2011

Quick note to my email subscribers

Dear blog email subscribers,

You've probably noticed that the format of the email notifications of my blog posts has changed. The emails now contain a truncated post, but you can click on the post title in the email, which is a link that will take you to the full blog posting.

Thanks so much for reading and subscribing! I really, really appreciate your support!


Spring Break is almost here! You know what that means: time for sauerkraut

When I lived with my best friend Rachel, who is a New York City teacher, the first day of school each year she would come home, pull out her calendar, and start marking down her days off, listing them out loud right in front of my dreadfully jealous ears: Labor Day, two days off for Rosh Hashanah, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day!, Thanksgiving, a week for Christmas, New Year's, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Winter Break (it's like spring break, only it's in addition to it), Washington's Birthday!, Spring Break, Good Friday, and Memorial Day. And on top of that the entire summer off.

I get seven paid holidays a year and 10 days of vacation.

In the beginning of the school years I always contemplated becoming a teacher.

That idea quickly dissipated as the school year got going. (Though it did rematerialize on Rosh Hashanah and Veteran's Day.) Rachel was the only 20-something I knew who couldn't wait to go to bed early on a week night because she was so exhausted. She was up hours before me, on her feet all day, and dealing with rebellious teenagers with lots of 'tude. Sounds unfun.

April 6, 2011

The Inspired Palo Alto

Does it mean that I’m not hip if I like Palo Alto better than San Francisco? Even in the rain I loved Palo Alto. I think it was the trees that really won me over, and the thought of Graybeard making me freshly squeezed orange juice every morning using just-picked oranges from our backyard trees, then cooking me an extravagant breakfast, after massaging my feet and mowing the lawn shirtless, of course. (What’s that, Graybeard? I can’t quite hear you. Oh, well, I’m sure it’s nothing important.)

Oh Palo Alto: Ye of the exhilarated trees:

April 2, 2011

Radioactive rain be damned (or: I just signed up for a CSA)

And I am so excited.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it's when you pay a local farm (or group of farms) for a weekly delivery of their produce throughout the growing season. My vegetables will be grown at Stoneledge Farm in Leeds, NY. This will be Stoneledge Farm's 16th year doing CSA. My vegetables will be both organic and local, which makes my heart happy. Here are samples from Stoneledge Farm's website of what the deliveries will contain each week:

Spring vegetable share (sample)
Garlic Scapes - 6
Bok Choi - 1 head
Perpetual Spinach - 1 bunch
Chives - 1 bunch
Red Sails, Red Leaf Lettuce - 1 head
Escarole - 1 head
Greek Oregano - 1 bunch
Sugar Snap Peas - 1 pound