Thursday, July 28, 2011

berlin - herzlich willkommen!

well, thumbs up to air berlin. from jfk to tegel airport in berlin they were efficient, clean, on time and, dare i say it, pleasant. a nice airline.

landed wednesday morning, found an atm and a tourist information desk at the airport, then somehow found the taxi stand and made it to our hotel in about fifteen minutes. thankfully, hotel aida already had our room ready where we dumped our bags, took a quick shower and headed off in search of breakfast. after that, the most luxurious nap ever ensued. wow. we chose the charlottenburg area around savignyplatz for our first night because we knew the area. that allowed us to quickly find some things without having to stumble around blindly while also being sleep-deprived.

our first "aaahhh" moment came with sips of beers at the schlausenkrug beer garden on the landwerk canal near the zoo. we'd been here four years ago where we met a couple of whack-job swabians who hadn't seen each other in a while and, what was intended as a beer or two next to the river, turned into a drunkfest with these guys writing obscenities in german in the back of our guidebook. we still have that page! anyway, this time was a more quiet affair on a beautiful berlin afternoon after a nine hour flight and two weeks in the states visiting family and friends. although we've been throwing around the term "on the road" for the past couple of weeks, it REALLY hit us when we stopped moving and took that first sip of beer. holy crap, we're not going home.

our new motto? "home is where we are."

on that note, we moved over to our apartment in mitte which will serve as our home for the next five days. classic east berlin vibe. kind of grimy, kind of hip, kind of everything, really. we're right on the edge of prenzlauerberg, sort of berlin's noe valley but without all the self awareness. right outside our door we look down the street to see what was the symbol of GDR power and modernization, alexanderplatz and the east german tv tower. "suck it, west germany!" they seem to be saying. might be our bad german translation but that's gotta be the point.

did a quick grocery run to stock up for breakfast and what-not and, wow, do these people like their yogurt! what is up with that? i mean, the meat thing, we knew, but the yogurt? we're not complaining about their love of beer, though, since it costs less than a dollar for a 22oz bottle of pretty much anything. we're imbibing a dunkel erdinger right now. other than groceries, we're so far eating on the cheap without even trying to. 4 euros for a doner kebap and a bottle of beer.

tomorrow: turkenmarkt and an open air concert in the tiergarten. we're seeing tinariwen, a band chris and nan were lucky see recently in new york. we couldn't not go. 


  1. OK, guys, preseason's over! I like how the drunk swabians also gave you suggestions for ordering mit spaetzle. Always get the spaetzle. And are you seeing that Malian band that Chris and Nan just saw? Strangely small world.

  2. So envious of you two...what an adventure. I do love me some Berlin. One of our very favorite cities ever.

    If you get a free night (?) and want to relax, I just finished watching this fantastic silent movie about Berlin, circa 1927. It's touted as one of the best films of the time. Amazing to see the city in one of its prime times, and the amount of commerce etc, and how modern! It's called "Berlin, Symphony of a Great City".

    I watched with Pink Martini's "Splendor in the Grass" as the music in the background (feel free to choose your own) and it was amazingly apropos!

    Miss you guys, enjoy the travels!

    Mark (and Kevin too)

  3. marky mark!

    good to hear from you, my friend. i always think of you and kevin when i think of berlin, actually. so no envy, ok?

    about pink martini, just before i left town i had some beers with friends and a friend of a friend showed up... he's the stage manager for pink martini. talked to him about all their touring, cool dude.

    thanks for the movie tip, maybe we'll see if we can fire up the netflix internet stream.

    say hey to the kev and hope you're both well.

  4. Ahh charlottenburg is a name I haven't heard in a while very cool area. try and check out Kunsthaus Tacheles they have a beer garden in the back. The building used to be a department store and prison then artist squatted the building in the 90's and sold beer in the back to fund their living.

    Mark and I have discussed skipping a dive trip next spring and finding y'all. Any idea of where you will be in March/April next year?


  5. Can't remember if we mentioned this or not but a good day trip from Berlin is Sanssouci Palace in Postdam it was just a little summer palace for Fredrich II when he wanted to head out hunting with you do. Beautiful gardens, fountains worth checking out.

  6. hey kev,

    sadly, kunsthaus tacheles is in the process of being broken down. we went by last night and it was kind of sad. only a few artists still hanging around, a little disco upstairs and some punks playing music in a corner. no beer garden out back any more. you guys hit it in its peak.