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18 November 2011

Berlin Life: U-Bahn, Music, a Burrito, and Currywurst

Days 81-83: Tuesday, 9 August 2011 - Thursday, 11 August 2011
Traveling around Berlin is pretty easy, once you know the U-Bahn and S-Bahn system. The trains will get you everywhere quite easily. They're also clean and spacious. As a result, there aren't that many buses (unlike London which has an extensive tube and bus system).

I was still tired and recovering from the weekend, so on Tuesday I stayed in most of the day. In the evening, there was a jazz night at a bar called Edelweiss in Görlitzer Park (in Kreuzberg). Stephanie and I went there, and so did a huge group of couchsurfers. It was crowded inside, and there was a €3 entrance fee. Needless to say I wasn't very impressed. The jazz was ok, but compared to what I've heard in New Orleans, it was very underwhelming and frankly overrated. There were a couple of French people there. I met a couple of Australians, but it was unfortunately their last night in Berlin, so I had little incentive to really connect with them. Steph and I skipped out of the bar pretty early.

Wednesday was another lazy day. That evening, I joined Felix after work to have a little planning session with his friends, in preparation for the Highfield Festival. I went to Charlottenburg, Kaiserdamm, and met Felix there. We went to the Apartment, which is shared by Andy, Basti, Tobi, and Daniel (Jack). There was also Mirko and Dana. We ordered pizza, and I had one to myself. The pizza was dry and in need of sauce or something. Luckily, the guys had extra dressing from their salad that they gave to me.

Finally, on Thursday, it wasn't raining! So I explored the city on foot. I walked to the Tiergarten, the big park in the middle of the city, Berlin's equivalent of Central Park or Hyde Park. In the middle of the park is the Siegesäule, a large column commemorating Prussian military victories.

I continued walking south. After passing some political offices and embassies, I ended up at Wittenbergplatz. There, I got some food at Dolores, a San Francisco-themed cafe that serves Mission District-style burritos.

When I read about it, of course I was skeptical. I mean, Mexican food in Europe. But I tried the burrito, having a seasoned chicken with their chipotle salsa, and I must say that the burrito was decent! Much better than any other Mexican food I had had in Europe.

Afterwards, I walked toward Zoologischer Garten, and I tried to check out the Gedächtniskirche, but it was undergoing renovations and is completely covered up with scaffolding.

In the evening, I decided to go to the weekly couchsurfing meetup again. This time, by myself, although I did leave Steph a message that I was going. There, I met a crazy Russian guy who lit his mouth on fire when he took a shot. There were also a few Spanish guys, and a group of Germans who were impressed with my German language skills.

The next day, I returned to Wittenbergplatz, on a quest to try some good currywurst. There's a place there that serves organic "bio" currywurst, but it was over €3,00 per wurst, which I just found egregious.

So I decided instead to check out Konnopke's Imbiß, on Schönhauser Allee, which is a famous place. It's also across the city, so it took a while (and the U2 goes pretty slowly through central Berlin). The Imbiß is located underneath the U-Bahn tracks, right in the middle of the street. And the currywurst? Meh. It was just a hot dog with some unusual ketchup for me.

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