Saturday, March 31, 2012

Street food in Berlin: ‘Frische Brezel’ on a bike

Frische brezels (translation: fresh pretzels) are typical street marvels in the city centres of Germany. It is very popular in the country, in German-speaking countries, as well as in the USA (brought by German speaking immigrants).

America, standing true to its capitalistic nature, found a way to mass produced the pretzels. My first encounter of a pretzel was of course back in the Philippines. We have those American-style mass produced, thin, hard and tiny pretzels coated in dark chocolate—the Jack n’Jill chocolate pretzel.

As seen in my pictures below, the real pretzel is actually a bread. I call it a designer bread with the pretzel loop design and it is soft and big. It’s so big that one piece could be my whole lunch already. It also has many varieties.

What’s nice with this street brezel vendor is that he carries a kerosene stove with him to heat up the pretzels. Yum!

Brezel vendor on a bike spotted near the Reichstag.

EUR 2,50 each and you can have them warm.

Natural and with grated cheese. I would go for natural...

Travel Period: March 2012
Destination: Berlin, Germany

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Berliner Kunstmarkt (Berlin Art Market) and scenes along the Spree

I didn’t plan well our Berlin trip because I wanted it to be a spontaneous short holiday but I did look up some food markets and their schedules and saved them to my laptop. However, while retrieving my Berlin word file, it experienced an error. I pulled out an old Berlin word file instead and the new one I made was never saved. ARGHHH. Needless to say, I was terribly annoyed; I was really looking forward to visiting the food markets in Berlin. There was cable internet of course in the hotel room but for some reason I was too lazy to go online and search again.

So in the morning I asked the hotel receptionist where the markets are located. She told us that there are quite a number of markets on the Spree by the Hackescher Markt. She pointed her finger on the map where they are located and gave us the best direction on how to get there on foot.

We eventually arrived at the market but instead of seeing a food market, we were welcomed by the Berliner Kunstmarkt am Zeughaus! Farther along the River Spree was another market selling old books.

This art market is only open in the weekends I believe. I’m not the type of person who buys art on the streets. Not in art galleries as well. In fact I do not like buying art from other people. I prefer to enjoy my own art. With a Fine Arts degree under my belt, I am admittedly quite arrogant, in the sense that I want to patronise my own. I have this 10-year in the making project which I am not even halfway through: a massive wall painting for our living room.

Dutchman said I am completely hopeless as he hasn’t seen a single development on my promised painting project. I know, it is my fault. I’m busy as hell with work and I cannot see myself weaving another hobby into my already hectic corporate slash leisure life. I will stick to travelling, photography and blogging for now.

Here are the pictures I took of the art and book market along the Spree. The market is located parallel to the museums, Alte and National Gallery and the Berliner Dom.

The Berliner Kunstmarkt: Not many vendors here like their art and wares photographed so I kept a safe distance =)

Here is the book market on the Spree as well: Hardcover and paperback books have become, sadly, antiquated.

Scenes along and around the River Spree: We strolled along the river towards the regierungsviertel (Governments Quarter)

There were quite a number of cruises available on the River Spree, they are a great way of viewing the beautiful modern and old architectures in Berlin, however, I have something about boat cruises on wide canals. Firstly, I do not like the touristy packed crowds, and secondly, there is nothing nice about it except for the convenience of viewing the special buildings on the Spree in one go. The boat cruise in Amsterdam though is different because the canals are small and narrow giving it a more cosy feel.

Cities in Italy (as well as a few in France) have these love locks on bridges... Berlin is slowly catching up.

Bridge and boulevard along the River Spree.

When I retire I would like to give back to the community. In the Netherlands the homeless are homeless because of their own choice. They are mostly junkies and prefer to live on the streets. And although I partly understand the Occupy stance I think they need a very long and cold shower.

The modern architecture side of Berlin: The Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus. The building hosts the parliament library and federal offices.

Travel Period: March 2012
Destination: Berlin, Germany

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Berlin Walking Tour: Nikolaiviertel, nearby Alexanderplatz to Am Lustgarten

If there is one thing Dutchman and I agree when travelling together... that would be WALKING. We both love to walk, a lot, except that he walks faster. While I tend to go astray, checking corners, peeking into alleys, a quick stop here, a long pause there. It is neverending. I cannot help myself really and I blame my point and click camera for this.

If I am retired now (wishful thinking I know) I would spend my days taking pictures of places, people and daily life on the streets. I have a quick eye and can right away see countless opportunities and angles to photograph. It gives me a sense of fulfillment being able to capture life, at least in my own way, style and interpretation. Sadly, I do not have the time to do this often because I have a demanding full-time job.

Apart from this, photography, travelling and this blog are my breather. Like literally. They are my escape. I feel at home here.

The view to Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai Quarter) and the Spree (river) from Muhlendamm (Mills Dam).

Let me take you on a walking photo blog tour of a little part of Berlin. From Muhlendamm to Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai Quarter) to Spandauerstrasse to Alexanderplatz to Karl Liebknechtstrasse to Am Lustgarten.

Ready to go?

The Spree and the Berliner Dom.

Statues and gold details on the Ephraim-Palais on Muhlendamm.

At the cosy Nikolai Quarter.

Nikolai Church and the Berlin bear.

Alexanderplatz, also called Alex by the locals.

Neptunebrunnen (Neptune Fountain).

The Rathaus (City Hall) and the Berliner Fernsehturm (TV Tower).

The Berliner Dom from the park on Spandauerstrasse.

The Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral).

On Karl Liebknechtstrasse.

The Schlossplatz across the Dom.

Altes Museum on Am Lustgarten.

Humboldt Box on Karl Liebknechtstrasse.

Alte National Gallery. Dutchman told me these could be bullet marks on the column.

Travel Period: March 2012
Destination: Berlin, Germany

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

Monday, March 26, 2012

A tweaked German Breakfast and looking for Hansel and Gretel

Breakfast in Germany is more exciting than in the Netherlands, well at least from a variety and aesthetics point of view. You see I am a visual person and will always be. I made the decision not to take our breakfast at the hotel because I want to taste Berlin, smell the city and devour culture along the way.

This pretty Deutsch breakfast is 4 stars out of 5.

We stayed at an allegedly typically Deutsch hotel in Mitte, Berlin—Grimm’s, from the Brothers Grimm fame. They are the author of many fairy tale stories we all grew up with such as Cinderalla, Snow White, Golden Goose, Rapunzel and many more. However, sad to say, the hotel did not live up to the fairy tale theme. Our room is supposed to be the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ room but there was no trace of the witch or of the 2 kids, just a poem written on the wall.

Where are you Hansel and Gretel? Are you hiding from the witch? Don’t worry please, I am not the bad witch, lol.

So on our first morning we walked to Alexanderplatz and before reaching the square we chanced upon this charming outdoor cafe terrace, ‘Cafe Kaffeestube Restaurant’ in Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai Quarter). I could not help it, the ambience looked so inviting so I announced to the Dutchman that we will have breakfast here. The cafe restaurant is located beside the Nikolai Church on a corner street facing the main thoroughfare but cosy enough to have a bit of privacy from the busy traffic.

I think we did our best to order the typically German breakfast but interestingly they tweaked it a bit and included a slice of Brie cheese with chives. Sometimes you just have to give in to the French, nicht wahr?

This is much better than sitting in the breakfast area of the hotel.

Moi here in the hotel. They have nice bathrooms though. And the Hansel and Gretel poem in Deutsch on the wall, the only evidence I could find that this is indeed the Hansel and Gretel room.

Travel Period: March 2012
Destination: Berlin, Germany

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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