Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blind booking #4: Berlin! Part 2

On Friday, December 8, 2017, Bill, Parker, and I ventured to the Stuttgart airport.  We lucked into a mid afternoon flight, which was a great thing.  Sometimes, when you do a blind booking, you can end up with flights at inconvenient times.  Not surprisingly, Berlin flights are a dime a dozen from Stuttgart.  We were scheduled to leave at 1:45pm, so we arrived at the airport at lunchtime and enjoyed a relatively painless trip through security.

We sat at an airport bar and had some beer.  Bill was talking about how he doesn't like sitting in the middle seat, although he was willing to do it for our flights to and from Berlin.  I helped by reminding him that he was sitting between his wife and his mother, adding "You once came out of her and now you come into me."  Yes, I know that's a disgusting joke.  It was still pretty funny, though.  I was rewarded with the reaction pictured below.


My husband has an infinite amount of patience.

We really should have had a snack while we were waiting.  Although Eurowings provides snacks if you reserve a seat (up to 19 euros per person each way), it's a pretty paltry offering.  You get half a sandwich, water, and a tiny packet of gummi bears.  They also give you another small drink in a little plastic cup.  By the time we arrived in Berlin at about 3:00pm, I was famished.  I have a tendency to get "hangry" when I'm hungry.  The bright side is the flight from Stuttgart to Berlin is only about an hour and it's relatively painless.

I also paid to check our bags, so we stopped by the luggage carousel on the way into the city.  Our bags were among the first to be offloaded, so it was quick and easy to get through Berlin's "old style" airport.  Before I knew it, we were in a taxi headed for Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Mitte.  

I had originally looked for a self catering apartment on Booking.com, but the ones I found didn't suit our purposes as well as the Adina Apartment Hotel did.  I had not heard of the Adina brand before our trip to Berlin, but I learned that it's owned by TFE hotels in Australia.  The Adina brand is all over Australia, New Zealand, and certain European countries.  There are three Adina Apartment Hotels in Berlin; besides the Mitte location, there are also hotels at Checkpoint Charlie and the Hackescher Markt.

I did not have especially high hopes for the Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Mitte, but I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised.  When we entered the lobby and greeted the receptionist, he asked if my name was Angela.  There was an Angela Crossan registered at the hotel.  My name isn't Angela, although that is my husband's sister's name.  We spell our last name with an "e", too.  Once they found our reservation, we were assigned room 308, a two bedroom apartment.  Below are some photos.


Bedroom #1.  I think this was the spare bedroom, since it didn't have its own bathroom.  The bathroom was located across the hall.  Both bedrooms had king sized beds and wall mounted flatscreen televisions.


Bathroom #1 had a tub/shower combo.


Sitting room.  There was a TV in this room, as well as a small kitchenette that had a mini bar, a fridge, a small stove, and a microwave.


This was the master bedroom.  Parker stayed in this room.


Her room had its own bathroom with a stand up shower.


There was a desk with free Internet, though you could pay extra for "premium".  I did pay extra for premium Internet and can say that it wasn't worth the money.  The free Internet worked as well as the pay version did... and that's to say that both were pretty slow.


Little kitchenette.


I was very surprised to find a washer and dryer in Bathroom #1.  They even provided detergent!

Had Bill and I been traveling alone (without the dogs, that is), we probably would have opted for a hotel room.  However, this apartment hotel really suited our needs beautifully.  It's perfect if you're bringing kids or in laws and want to stay together, yet have privacy and the ability to cook your own meals.  Of course, if you'd rather not cook, you can also use the hotel's restaurant, Alto.  Breakfast costs 19 euros a person.  They also have dinner at the restaurant and a full bar.  

The weather on Friday night was pretty nasty, but we ventured out looking for food, anyway.  We weren't successful, mainly because the one place we stopped into was hosting a Christmas party.  There are actually a number of restaurants close to the Adina Berlin Mitte, but it was cold and rainy and I was really hungry and cranky.  It was also pretty dark outside, even though it was only about 4:30pm.  It gets darker earlier up in Berlin than it does in Stuttgart at this time of year.  There is an Italian restaurant right across the way from the hotel, but we didn't go in there because it got really horrible reviews for bad service.   There's also a kebab shop and a bakery in the same building complex as the hotel.

After a short walk around the neighborhood, we headed back to the hotel, stopping at a Lidl on the way.  We picked up snacks, bottled water, and wine.  I got a slight kick out of the heavily tattooed and pierced clerk who rang us up.  The person was very friendly and nice, although I couldn't tell if s/he was male or female.  I suppose it doesn't really matter, but it did make me wonder a bit.

After we put away our snacks, we decided to try Alto.  The bartender was a man named Awsam, which I thought was awesome.  I wrote about Awsam on my main blog.  We had a rather special interaction with him that I won't go into on this blog.  In this post, I will simply focus on the food.

We had a couple of cocktails, which did a lot of soothe my crankiness.  Then we ordered dinner while we sat at the bar.  I had duck, which came with red cabbage and what Bill knows as collard greens (although it said kale in the menu).  He was happy to eat lots of kale, along with a steak sandwich.  Parker stuck with pumpkin soup, which came with plenty of bread.  I did get a picture of Parker's soup, but it turned out blurry.  Bill had it a couple of nights later. 


Gin smash... we first learned of this drink when we visited Hamburg in 2015.


I had a Long Island Iced Tea, which Awsam the awesome bartender said was not a lady's drink.  Good thing I'm no lady.




Bill's impressive steak sandwich.


Duck with collard greens/kale and dumplings.

Awsam, the bartender, took great care of us.  Bill tipped him generously and he beamed.  So we came back each night.  More on that in the following posts.



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