Saturday, April 24, 2010

Straddling the city from West to East

Today we stretched our venues out across the entire city. Since it is Saturday, we naturally thought of yard sales and farmer's markets. So we went way west to Rathaus Schoneberg (where JFK made his famous Berlin speech). Here there was a big local flea market in progress. It was a lovely area, with a big park, ponds full of fish and fountains and a lively market with all sorts of intriguing junk for sale.We stayed awhile and then back by subway to Kurfurstendamm to the KaDeWa department store. This is the biggest retail store in continental Europe. it is the size of a large city block, and as imposing as many palaces or government buildings. Of course we wanted to visit the gourmet food floor, which takes up a lot of acreage to display the most amazing collection of fine foods, with eating places scattered throughout. We looked and drooled and looked some more, and finally settled on eating lunch at a potato specialty bar. This may not sound so great, but believes me it was exquisite food. D. had baked potatoes with crunchy skins, and many special toppings. My lunch was smoked trout with fried potatoes, horseradish, garnished with mustard, dill in sour cream, and tiny whole red peppercorns dotting the surface. yes, there was salad on the side, and of course beer, the golden delicious accompaniment to everything here! At home I almost never drink beer and don't even like it very much. Here it is one of my favorite things, just so fresh and delicious! Go figure!After that lovely lunch, we went to the center again and walked on Auguststrasse, a pretty street with many art galleries and small cafes. We noticed that most cafes in Berlin hastened to set up outdoor seating at the first sign of spring. Many even provide blankets for the customers so they can lounge outdoors in comfort. Street life is juicy and convivial at this time of year. In the evenings, everybody is outdoors.

Finally we did something we've talked about for a few days - got onto a random tram (streetcar) and rode it way far out into East Berlin (about a 45 minute ride) to the end of the line and back again. These trams serve the locals, operate mainly in the east of the city, and don't serve tourist areas. What we saw were endless dreary blocks of apartments, mile after mile of them, where obviously hundreds of thousands of people live far from the throb of downtown Berlin. But it was a relaxing and interesting way to look around after a long day of walking. Tonight we are relaxing at home, and trying to plan what to do with our last full day in Berlin. We have only scratched the surface and there is so much more to see. It might take a year of full-time touring to see this city properly!

-- Post From My iPad


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