Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blind booking #4: Berlin! Part 3

On Saturday morning, Bill and his mother decided to take a walk alone while I stayed in to do some writing.  Originally, I had been thinking about trying the indoor pool at our hotel.  The Berlin Mitte location of the Adina Apartment Hotel has a lap pool and a weight room.  I did bring a bathing suit, but decided I'd rather blog.  I had a book review to write and the Internet was being difficult.

If I had one thing to complain about in terms of our accommodations, it would have been the Internet.  Adina offers free Internet, but you get limited bandwidth.  If you want faster Internet, you can pay for it starting at 3,50 euros for three hours.  I opted for 24 hours, which cost 14,50 euros.  Sadly, I don't think it mattered much.  Moreover, I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to log in.  You have to go to a different Web site to log into the pay Internet.  It's kind of a pain.

It was a bit snowy outside and our apartment offered an interesting view.  On one side, I could see what appeared to either be a dentist's office or a dental lab.  The windows were large, so we could actually see people being worked on from our windows.  On another side, I got a view of Charité Hospital, an enormous and very highly regarded hospital affiliated with Humboldt University and Freie Universität Berlin.  The hospital is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe and has several campuses in Berlin.  We happened to have a view of one of its very large buildings, which served as a useful landmark.


The dental lab.


The big hospital!

After I finished my writing, I decided to take a nap.  While I was napping, Bill and his mom returned.  I felt a lot better after a few hours alone.  I spend a lot of time by myself and am probably more introverted than I appear.  Besides, I knew Parker had come to see Bill and needed some time to hang out with him without the wife tagging along.  So they had a stout two hour walk.  Then, when I got up from my nap, Bill and I went to lunch and Parker stayed in the apartment and read her book.


We stopped at Trattoria Due Fratelli, a very nice eatery a couple of blocks from where we were staying.


Bill checks out the menu while I check out the atmosphere.  I liked the way this place was decorated, but the Euro trash dance music put me off a bit.


I need a bookcase full of wine, too.


We started with pizza bread, which was drizzled with olive oil and garlic.  This was pretty good, although I would have liked a little more olive oil and garlic than just pizza crust.


For lunch, I had tagliatelle with salmon.  It had a very light cream sauce, tomatoes, and hunks of garlic in it.  I appreciated the Parmesan cheese, which really set off the dish.  I managed about two-thirds of it before I had to stop.


Bill had penne pasta with gorgonzola cheese and basil. 

One thing that struck me about this restaurant is that it was very inexpensive, with many dishes under 10 euros.  We thought the food and service were good, although I see by Trip Advisor that not everyone loves this place.  Nevertheless, we were satisfied.  Once we were finished eating, we took a walk and visited the Brandenburg Gate, as well as a Christmas market, a mall, and a park.


A shot of the TV tower.  Probably the best I managed.




A little city styled art in the form of graffiti.  I am fascinated by what people put on buildings and walls.







A few shots of the Brandenburg Gate.  We happened to be there while people were protesting.  Like most parts of Germany, it's not wise to do a "Hitler salute" in this area.  It's crawling with police and they will arrest you if you dare to raise your arm for a selfie.  Bill and his mom saw a couple of girls doing it.  I don't think they got caught.  Still, it's not a good idea.


We passed a park dedicated to the many Jewish people who died during World War II.  This was a very sobering exhibit, but watch out for pickpockets.  There are even signs to alert you.



We passed a science museum for kids that offered free entry.  We probably should have gone in to check it out, since I love science museums and am myself a big kid.


As evidenced by my decision to photograph this...



We happened upon a Christmas market, which was going on next to a busy mall...


They had a winter slide, which I didn't try.



This was interesting.  Berlin has the usual carriage horses and rickshaws.  They also have this thing where you sit on a stool and peddle while you drink beer.  I'm sure this is great until you need to pee.

Near the coffins display, there is a park.  We passed through it and I saw a man on a bike towing what appeared to be a very beat up and rather small incarnation of a piano.  It was styled more like a baby grand than an upright, although it didn't look exactly like a baby grand, either.  He looked like he might be a street musician.  I was so astonished by how he was towing the instrument with his bike that I forgot to take a picture.


After my trip to Amsterdam, I agree that cannabis is a good thing.



We also took note of the grape vines growing in Berlin.


Kids were blowing bubbles, despite the cold, rainy weather.
  
It was about this time that Bill and I ducked into the mall so we could use the bathroom.  While we were there, we came across a puppet show.  A couple of guys were presenting Hansel and Gretel.  It's been awhile since I last read that story, although I know it well.  I was surprised by how much of the German version I understood and how entertaining this particular performance was.




I think watching Hansel and Gretel put on by puppeteers may have been the highlight of our day.  I noticed that as entertained as they young kids were, so were the adults.  


Another shot of the Christmas market as we headed back to the hotel.

Part 4

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