more traveling, more eating (berlin)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pierce wanted to go to Berlin. I did not.
Pierce had never been to Berlin. I had.
Pierce convinced me to accompany him.
The convincing involved him going to the train station
and buying my tickets for me.
He didn't have to worry about a ticket for himself
because he has a Eurrail pass
(I'm thinking about buying my 3rd Eurrail
for a trip I'm taking later on this summer).

Anyway, I had a 4 day weekend last week,
which was a good opportunity to travel.
(All these Austrian holidays really come in handy
when you are like to travel as much as I do.)
So after work on Wednesday,
I went to the Vienna train station
and met Pierce.

We went back to my apartment,
where I packed my bag for the weekend
and we ate Ravioli with Pesto.

We then took the overnight train to Berlin and
- surprise! -
stayed in a sleeper car.
Yes, that's right,
a compartment with beds.
(as opposed to sitting up all night,
which is what I'm so accustomed to doing).
When I found out Pierce had reserved it for us
I was immediately fine with my decision to go to Berlin.
We were so excited when we found our compartment
that we didn't even care we were too tall to fully sit up
(we both had top bunks).
Seriously, you'd think I had never slept in a bed before.
I was just so excited to not be sitting up all night.
I thanked Pierce a dozen times....
very appreciative that he likes to travel in the lap of luxury,
as opposed to choosing the cheapest option (like me).

Since the top bunks weren't really working out for us,
we watched season 6 of LOST on the couch below,
(where we could sit up fully)
because, at that point,
I hadn't yet finished the series.
It was definitely the best overnight train experience
of my life!
(And I've had quite a few overnight train experiences).

When we woke up, we were in Berlin!
We went to our hostel, unpacked, changed clothes,
and headed straight for the Berlin wall.
One of my favorite things about the wall,
is that it's like a free, open-air art museum
and you can spend however long you want there.
My experience at the wall was different from last time
because last semester I took History of Germany post-1949
and studied the wall in depth.

Little known fact:
there is a beach on the other side of the Berlin wall.
I went with Caroline
and I wouldn't stop talking about on the train ride there.
I made Pierce go with me
and it was fun,
although we didn't spent 3+ hours there
like Caroline and I did.
...more like 30 - 45 minutes.
But it was a great intro. to Berlin.
Oh, I forgot.
Before we went to the wall
I insisted that we eat burritos.
There was this place...
a burrito place...
that Caroline and I discovered last year....
and I would be lying if I said I haven't thought about it
dozens of times in the past year.
(thought about it/dreamed about it...same thing)
I googled: "Berlin burrito"
and, luckily, recognized the location enough
to discern which one it was on Google maps.
Pierce and I were there in no time at all
and I enjoyed their signature lime tofu burrito,
which is soooooo delicious.

In related news, isn't this a great photo (below)
that Pierce took of the Bundestag/German flag?

Another little known fact:
near the Bundestag
(and inside the train station)
one can find my favorite cookie store in Europe:
Millie's cookies.
Did you know cookies are impossible to find in Europe?
They are.
Pierce was telling me he knows some people in Graz
who have never seen a cookie before.
What. A. Terrible. Life.
Over the course of 3 days in Berlin,
we may or may not have eaten a dozen cookies.
Do I feel bad about this?
(I promise I haven't become morbidly obese
since moving back here).
My favorites were the raspberry/white chocolate
and the cherry oatmeal.
So. Good.
Also in the train station,
was a Dunkin Donuts.
Any time I'm in Berlin,
I have a very strong desire to eat donuts.
A lot of donuts.
Similar to the cookies,
I may have eaten 12 donuts total
over the course our 3 days in Berlin.
Pierce ate some too....
but mostly he just ordered giant muffins and coffee.
Eating donuts always reminds me
of the kind my mom would buy me any time I was sick.
(My favorites are still glazed&strawberry frosted!)
To counteract all the cookies and donuts, we walked.
A lot.
A lot, a lot.
Some places we saw on our walking tour of the city:

The Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe. ^^
The parking lot, under which lies the remains of Hitler's bunker.
Which, as you know, is the place where he committed suicide.
If you haven't seen Der Untergang, you should.
(Caroline, I know you have).

So, do you want to know what else we ate?
Well, one night for dinner,
we each ate a giant pizza the size of an inner tube.
And the next night,
We ordered this ravioli and Mediterranean dish (below).

We had 10 minutes before taking the U-bahn back to our hostel, we (I) got dessert
in the form of this Ritter bar:
I could only eat half of it,
(apparently, it is possible for me to be full),
but it was great and,
believe it or not,
my first Ritter since being back here!
Also worth mentioning:
I did not get a hair cut while in Berlin.
But Lord knows I needed one!
See: the above photo for further reference.

During our train back to Vienna,
(day train this time -- not overnight),
Pierce had a near emergency.
Our train passed through the Czech Republic
and Pierce's Eurrail is only valid in:
Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
This could have been very problematic.
My ticket was fine, but his Eurrail just wouldn't cut it.
The ticket woman told him he could buy a ticket
right there on the train,
and we thought this would be just fine,
until we realized the ticket was 17 euro
and I had no euro
and he had 10.
Then the woman pressed some buttons
into her little, portable ticket machine
and said, "10 euro, please'.
Pierce wanted to hug her.
I wanted to hug her.
She was so nice.

We had a stop in Breclav (Czech),
where we only had 5 minutes to catch our next train
which would take us straight to Vienna.
Our train was late
and I was convinced we wouldn't make it,
since 5 minutes of connection time
was already cutting it close
and now we had less than 2.
Turns out, our train to Vienna was
Twenty whole minutes!
This meant that I could eat!
I withdrew 20 Czech Kronen (10 euro)
from the ATM in the station
and then realized I had to spend every bit of that
because I am not planning on returning to the Czech
for a long time.
So Pierce and I went on a shopping spree
and bought lots of treats
(and of course, water)
and then had a compartment to ourselves for the train ride back.
We watched You've Got Mail
and it wasn't even my idea!

I am easy to please,
so this trip was near perfection.
Thanks Pierce!
Jan said...

That trip sounded so fun!! I would love to see the wall. The food sounded awesome - especially the Ritter bar (which I had forgotten about). And those cookies looked delicious. And of course the donuts - you know how partial I am to those!! (I'm not sure if I was being a good mom - giving you donuts when you were sick!!)

DiamondGirl said...

Burritos????? Who knew??? I am not surprised by your cookie eating but burritos? I love that food is your measuring stick for success!

Jeneric Generation said...

Wait, I'm sorry...I was following everything until you said your mom bought you donuts when you were sick. I thought surely you meant that your mom bought you donuts and you got sick. But you are not one for typos...

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