From the minute we arrived in Berlin, to the minute we left, it rained.
Not just a light drizzle…but a proper down pour….for two days and nights. I’m not even exaggerating. It rained straight. No break. No ease off. Just constant rain!
I mean, I’ve got nothing against rain personally, it’s rather quite alleviating to sqeeze your tootsies into an old pair of wellies and go puddle jumping, and I’m certianly not one to let a bit of wet weather ‘rain on my parade’ as such. I am English after all. But still, I am sure Berlin would have been a tad more enjoyable and interesting had we not been soaked down to our knickers the whole duration!
The upside was the hotel, Meininger Hauptbahnhof…after Amsterdam we were thankful to get back to a clean, non smelly room, sharing with two other girls. The bathroom was huge! Compared to Dam it felt like luxury! On the downside, rain aside, everything around us seemed…modern…no culture to sink in to, no obvious signs that ‘Yes! We are in Berlin’. It just seemed sooooo…
…concretey. (Yes, I’m aware that Rosie and I just add a ‘y’ onto the end of everything to describe it).
We were going to join a free tour, starting from our hotel the next morning, but they just seemed to depart without telling anyone, so we missed it. We decided to brave the city alone, which was fine, until…
Well, imagine how lost we got trying to navigate our way around RAINY, CONCRETEY, BERLIN using a paper map! Struggle, would be an understatement.
Both wet, fed up, and hands covered in ink, Rosie wanted to join the back of another tour group, but I just thought it was intrusive, so we carried on to the Jew Memorial. The sentiment was ruined, by the rain…and the mood we were both now in. We carried on to the grafitied part of the Berlin Wall and the Potsdamer Platz where I was looking to grab something to eat. Rosie however, having not thought about rain, having travelled to Europe without waterproofs, was more soaked than me and just wanted to get to the Museum fur Naturkunde (Natural History museum). So that’s where we went, with a quick attempt at visiting the Reichstag building along the way. I wanted to go inside the dome roof specifically for the 360 degree view of the city, but there was a political event resulting in the whole building being closed off to visitors (who also have to pre-book on a normal day). We weren’t having the joyess of times so far!
As fascinating as it was, especially the planetaritum, there are only so many dead animals in jars I can take in one sitting. So Rosie suggested we go back to the hotel, dry off, then head back this way, to visit the Berlin Wall. I knew she wasn’t too fussed about seeing the only peice of the Berlin wall that is still in tact, in its original form, so I said I’d go and meet her back at the hotel later on.
My first lone venture! Of many to come. I hid the map up my sleeve and kept my head down as I walked through…what I can only describe as, the Berlin Ghetto, to reach my destination.
I was overwhelmed when I saw the wall…yes, because it took me ages to find it and I’d walked around in circles and was still wet, but mainly because of having had a Granddad who loved and breathed history; war stories and pictures from books came flooding back to me. I blamed the rain for ruining my mascara.
After drying off and glaming up, we discovered a Traditional German restaurant, Nante-Eck, Unter den Linden. It was busy. We waited about 20minutes for a table in the small bar area, which is more or less a hallway from the front door to the dining area. The staff were dressed in breeches; all looking like they had stepped out of the 1920’s. We were seated, given English translated menus, and asked what we’d like to drink. Berlin Beer! (Berliner Weisse!).
I just HAD to try the Berlin Ham Knuckle (Schweinshaxe) with Sauerkraut, potatoes and a pea puree.
This was delicious! Fiddly, what with trying to get the utensils between the bone and fat for a good fork full of meat, but it was so moist and juicy once you’d got there. I’d definitely eat this again.
(Okay, there’s nothing much I wont eat!).
Did this fill me up? Yes! Of course. But there’s always room for Warm Apple Struddle with Vanilla sauce and whipped cream. Mmmmmm. I’ve always had a thing about the contrast of a hot dessert accompanied by something cold. Although, that is usually a Fab lolly with a cup of tea 🙂
The prices suited the good, solid, tasty portions. So for two newly qualified students with no jobs who had spent the last day cold, miserable and wet, this was ideal!
I used to have a book when I was little that had ideas of things to do on a rainy day. Appropriately titled ‘Save it for a Rainy Day’…. It probably didn’t feature Berlin.
Are you ready to see Vienna now B?! YES YES YES!!!! “BYE BYE RAIN!”