2 September 2012 at 7:45 am, by Annie Chen

Going way back in time…April! Took a long weekend to visit the gorgeous and charming Anna and Alex while she had a break from Cambridge and was in Berlin! Lucked out with terrific weather and the time together exploring Berlin was lovely. This was my first time in Berlin and what really left an impression was the scale of the city. I guess being in Amsterdam I am so used to small everything, but in the center of Berlin, the size and scale of the government and historical buildings, wide avenues, massive monuments and parks – the city leaves a great impression of power, strength, and a bit of grit to prove how it got there. This juxtaposition: one of the largest economies in the world that was destroyed by great turmoil not THAT long ago, is a bit bizarre and very cool.

But aside from that – really great food, cute shops, an awesome little bike tour, and serious friend time – that’s what it is all about.

Look at these cuties! In the Schoeneberg area, where Alex lives in his awesome apartment:

In the neighborhood is this really cool grocery store that is all about helping you make a perfect meal. It’s such a great and convenient idea, I think it would do really well in other areas. First you shop around and see which meal you would like, then you take all of the ingredients as specified on the sign and a recipe. It’s very precise (German!!) and basically foolproof.

Luckily we had an expert available to explain everything to us:

 

After wandering the cool neighborhood we ended up at the market, which made me pretty jealous about Alex’s daily life…maybe it was the great weather or maybe this market was just super well done, perfectly designed for an enjoyable Saturday out – grab a coffee and some lunch, browse beautiful flowers and interesting crafts and produce for dinner. We could use something this civilized in Amsterdam!

An mini, and pink, espresso truck:

Super crusty bread:

White asparagus season in full swing:

Artichokes

A pizza oven on wheels…

 

I ate most of that strawberry tart that the intriguing moustached stranger is holding…

 

We stopped for some beers (mine had a cute bunny on it!) and these fabulous grilled whole fish. They serve it to you on thick white paper with various garnishes and crusty rolls. Sitting outside in the crisp sunshine with grilled fish and beers? It DOES NOT get better than this. I am still gushing:

 

After lunch, Anna generously took us on the perfect bike tour of Berlin. She’s got the city down – we saw all of the sites in less than 2 hours, and had a blast doing it. We picked up some rental bikes at a store in their neighborhood and just went for it.

 

The highlight on such a beautiful day was the tiergarten (animal garden!). Wonderful winding trails for leisurely biking and boats on ponds just begging you to go for a float.

 

We had enough time for a quick stop at the biergarten in the tiergarten.

After a rest and some downtime at our airbnb rental (from all of that day drinking), we went to Alex’s place for cooking dinner. The mad scientist at work:

 

A beautiful dinner of all of the gorgeous produce we bought that day. Really lovely. Plus some bubbles to celebrate our April/May birthdays!

 

I scream for ice cream:

And the night continues at a fun cocktail bar not far from Alex’s place

 

No, it’s not Christmas…just happy guys in colorful sweaters…

 

After brunch we went downtown for a boat tour of Berlin which was a great way to learn about all of the sites and some of the history of the city. We were sitting on top of the boat and freezing, but was still a great way to see everything. Made me write a big list of all the places I want to spend more time on the next trip to Berlin.

 

After the boat tour and some hot tea we were back on the train to Amsterdam. It was a super short but very fabulous trip that we were lucky to have and enjoyed tremendously! Just to see Anna and Alex was a treat…can’t wait for the next meetup!

 

  • Jordan

    Good lord – Timo’s mustache is off the chain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anniecheniam Annie Chen

    That comment makes him really happy Jordan. I hope you will be growing one for Movember this year! I will sponsor…