Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blind booking #4: Berlin! Part 4

By the time we got back to the hotel, the weather was getting pretty crappy again.  We had a pretty disagreeable mixture of rain and snow that made venturing out for food unappealing.  We decided to go back to Alto, the restaurant's bar.  Awsam, the bartender, greeted us warmly.  Again, I wrote a lot about Saturday at the bar in my main blog.  That piece is a bit political, though, so for those who would rather skip my rantings, I'll just say that we enjoyed some wine, some bad pop music, and watched videos from the early 80s.

We also tried kumquats for the first time.  I must admit, although I had heard of kumquats, I'd never actually tried them.  They're basically tiny oranges.  You're supposed to eat the rind, which none of us did.  I wasn't aware of this, but apparently kumquats are pretty popular in Germany.  My friend Susanne says she likes to eat them when she's feeling sick.  They're supposedly pretty healthy.


Lemons, limes, and kumquats!

After a couple of hours in the bar, we went back to our room.  It was so yucky outside that I decided I just wanted a pizza from the Domino's we passed on our first night in Berlin.  Yes, I know it's ridiculous to seek out Domino's Pizza in an international city, but it had been years since I last had one and I was craving comfort food.  Parker was game, although Bill rolled his eyes at us.  So he went to the nearby Domino's in the shitty weather and picked up a pizza for us.


Domino's Pizza in Berlin.

It's been awhile since my last Domino's pizza and even that was in France (of all places).  We were pretty shocked by how small a "large" pizza was from the German Domino's.  It was about the size of a small in the United States.  Bill ordered us a Hawaiian style pizza with ham and pineapple, although I really just wanted a pepperoni pizza.  Pepperoni, as we know, is not the same in Germany as it is in America.  Here, pepperoni refers to peppers, not sausage.

After a good night's sleep, we rose to sunshine on Sunday.  Bill, Parker, and I had a special errand to run for some Americans in Stuttgart who were hoping for souvenirs from the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin.  We also wanted to see Checkpoint Charlie.  We headed for Checkpoint Charlie first, hopping on the underground train just a couple of blocks from the hotel.



A couple of ads I spotted on the way to the subway.  They drive home how important it is to keep safety on the brain while driving.  Slow down and don't use your phone.


On the way to Checkpoint Charlie, I was intrigued by an ad on the train.  They're looking for healthy balding men to take part in research.

Below are some pictures from Checkpoint Charlie.  We stopped by the very extensive museum there, which was well worth the time.  I don't usually get that excited about museums, but this one is well worth a visit, even though it can get rather crowded and there's a lot to read.  Headsets are available.



A piece of the famous Berlin Wall.



A very famous sign.



Actors portray guards in front of the replica of Checkpoint Charlie.  For a fee, you can have your picture taken with them and get your passport stamped.  We didn't bother with that.





The one picture I took inside of the huge museum.  Seriously... if you visit Berlin, I highly recommend visiting the museum by Checkpoint Charlie.  It's fascinating and extensive.  I learned a whole lot about the former German Democratic Republic and the people who risked their lives to leave it.  

After we visited the museum, we got back on the underground train and headed for Charlottenburg, the area of Berlin where the Hard Rock Cafe is.  I didn't have any particular desire to visit there, but I got requests from three people in Stuttgart who were hoping for shot glasses and such.  Since I definitely don't mind the occasional American food, we went there for lunch.  


Bill smiles for the camera as we try to decide what to eat.  I was tempted by the burgers, but I can get those in Stuttgart.  Ditto on the ribs...

One thing I don't necessarily like about the Hard Rock Cafe is that they have all of this memorabilia on the walls.  I know that's the draw, along with the music, but having that stuff on the walls creates a museum effect.  We happened to be sitting near Janis Joplin and Keith Richards exhibits, so people would come stand by our table to check it out.  It was a little annoying.


Bill had a pulled pork sandwich with some very tasty fries.


Parker had a cheeseburger sans bacon.


I went with combo fajitas, which arrived sizzling on peppers and onions and came served with pico de gallo, guacamole, and cheese.  They weren't the best fajitas I've ever had, but they were probably the best I've had in Germany.  Unfortunately, that isn't saying a whole lot.  


For dessert, I had an Irish kiss, which was like hot chocolate with whiskey and tons of whipped cream.  It was good and not too big, as I could see the other desserts were.  I didn't need it, but it hit the spot.

After we ate, we went to the gift shop and picked up the requested souvenirs.  The lady who rang us up was Brazilian and said that a lot of Americans from Texas visit the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin.  Although Bill and I came to Germany this time from Texas, only he and his mother are from there.  I am from Virginia.


Cool "bus" outside the restaurant.


And the facade.  It had gotten cloudy while we were having lunch.


We decided to check out another Christmas market and this cool looking church, which we didn't have time to explore.






We stopped for the obligatory Gluhwein...




Good to the last drop?

By the time we had walked through the Christmas market, it was getting dark and threatening to snow.  We decided to take a cab back to the hotel.  We considered staying in and ordering room service, but somehow I was cajoled back down to the Alto restaurant.  Parker stayed in the room and watched TV.


Bill and I shared a nice gray burgundy.  He had pumpkin soup because he was still full from lunch.


I had penne carbonara, which was covered in fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

It snowed furiously while we were enjoying dinner.  I was surprised to see how quickly the white stuff accumulated.  By the morning, most of it had melted.  I heard Stuttgart got hit with a lot of snow on Saturday and Sunday, but most of it was gone by the time we arrived home last night.

Part 5

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