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.

We saw the TV Tower and this old church. It's an interesting contrast between new and old, which you find throughout the city because most of the city was bombed to smithereens during WWII.

We then headed in the direction of Prenzlauer Berg, which Rick Steves says is a really trendy place with lots of great restaurants and bars. Like the White Trash Fast Food Restaurant.

I kind of wanted to go there. But we had eaten dinner and breakfast within four hours of each other on the plane, and we weren't hungry yet. Besides, Rick Steves had not mentioned this place (though Graybeard said he read about it when looking for restaurants online and that it's actually supposed to be good).

There are traffic lights just for bikes.

We wandered some more, and it got dark, and we tried to go to to Gugelhof, which is "an institution famous for its Alsatian German cuisine" that is "the Prenzlauer Berg stop for visiting dignitaries." They wouldn't let us in. Apparently you need reservations to eat alongside visiting dignitaries.

So went went to Metzer Eck, which RS also recommends, and it was great. It was this tiny, cozy place that felt like it could've been there for 70 years. And maybe it has been. They didn't speak much Englisch, and every table was filled but one, which was reserved. They sat us at the reserved table, with the understanding that we would be moved when seats at another table opened up. While we waited to order, a couple of German guys came in and the waitress also sat them at the reserved table, across from us, but before sitting down, the guys asked us if it was okay. It was. They said "guten tag" and we all made friendly faces at each other and they "cheersed" us when we all got our drinks. It was neat. Then when the reserved people arrived for their table, the waitress put us all at different populated tables that had newly vacated seats. And the people there greeted us in English ('hallo") and made friendly faces at us, and said good-bye when they left. And the next people who sat down also greeted us and made nice faces. It was all quite nice, and I realized that it's fun to share tables in another country because then you get to see that the people are really quite friendly.

It was time to eat. We ordered the currywurst. I had seen currywurst advertised everywhere, and in my imagination it was sausage sliced up and doused in a thick orange-colored curry sauce, which sounds gross, but must be wonderful, or else why would there be stands everywhere exclaiming "Currywurst!" I would not have guessed that it was just regular sausage slathered in ketchup with curry powder sprinkled on top (even though that's what Graybeard told me it was. That just sounded too unimpressive to be right. But that man is rarely wrong. You would think I'd know that by now).

I had my sausage and ketchup with an amazing potato salad. Graybeard had the currywurst with amazing fried potatoes. They tasted like bacon. Graybeard said that they were the best fried potatoes he's ever had, and I have to agree with him. He wants to go back just to get them again.

Then we headed straight back to our hotel and went to sleep. Then I woke up at 5:30am and couldn't go back to sleep, so I thought it would be a good idea to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Big mistake. I don't know if I would've been able to go back to sleep anyway, but I didn't even want to, the book is such a page turner. I've been fighting the urge to read it instead of writing this post, but I know that some of you would like to know lots about how the trip is going (Mom :), so post it is. I thought I would only post pictures and write about them later, but really? Would I write about them later? By later I will have so many pictures it will be too overwhelming a task. So there you go. That's the first half day. Man, I'm wordy. Auf wiedersehen for now!


  1. Guten Tag J and G,
    The pictures are fabulous. Now I have to go to Berlin.
    G, don't eat too many sausages. They'll kill you.
    Mom "O"

  2. Great post and great comment from Mom "O". ;) Love that we can all experience Berlin through your eyes and stomachs. Soak it all in! Can't wait to hear and see more. Mom C

  3. Love your blog!! The pics are so great. I feel like I am right there with you. Although, I would never order curry-anything. They don;t call it curry-worst for nothing. I had a very bad experience with curry in college, or maybe that was from the 4 vodka & cranberry's? lol.
    Have fun you guys!!! Mom M

  4. Currywurst was invented by Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 as an affordable but filling meal for the people of Berlin at a time when food was in short supply.

    When you order your Currywurst you can ask for it skin on “Currywurst mit Darm” or without skin “Currywurst ohne Darm”. Sausage casings were in short supply in the Soviet-controlled side of the city. If you grew up in East Berlin, you like sausage without skin; if you grew up in West Berlin, you probably prefer sausage with skin.

    I’m not from Berlin, I prefer Currywurst without skin and in my opinion the best place to get it is from Fritz & Co (a Currywurst stall) on Wittenberg Platz in the Schöneberg area of Berlin.