Ok, I admit it, I'm procrastinating.
I've been procrastinating on blogging, and you know you are REALLY procrastinating when the thing you are putting off (the blogging) becomes the thing you use to put off something else (going to the gym today). I've promised myself Sunday afternoon gym time, but dammit I don't feel like it today. I still hurt from my session with my personal trainer on Thursday (yes, I've hired a PT for 6 sessions to see how I like it) and I'm crampy too. (TMI? who cares.) But I WILL go, even if I procrastinate with a blog post (and then breakfast) first.
I was procrastinating over blogging because holy hell, so much to say.
The trip to Berlin was awesome. Laid back, no pressure to see everything as I've already been there a few times, and easygoing. I went with Rich, Grant and Keith, so me and three boys. I just checked out some museums, did some shopping (but oddly didn't feel like buying anything, so I think I may have turned that corner of "I have it all" now), did some walking, checked out some of the great street markets there. There are few things I like better than a street market. Berlin has some GREAT ones. I love trolling and exploring and checking out all sorts of wierd old things I've never seen before.
I bought a little painting, a still life, that just called to me. (Picture below, scroll down.) It's just some eggs, limes and a glowing green marble on a table, with a little vase in the background, but I like it. Rich calls it a 'pub painting' which kind of pisses me off, but yeah, it could be one of those old pictures that has been hanging on a pub wall forever. Who knows. I just like it.
Of course, the market I got it at was right outside the portrait museum I was planning on visiting. I learned, the hard way, that it is a bit awkward to bring a painting *into* an art museum. It just doesn't look right, you know? Everyone's all like, "Um, where'd you get that and where are you going with it?" So I checked it in at coat check, which was also kind of awkward, as no one knew what to do with it. They asked me if it was valuable, the painting, at which point I laughed and told them I'd just bought it at the flea market outside. So, um, no. Anyhow, laughter ensued, I, as usual, was that odd American, but yeah, lesson learned. Don't bring art into an art museum.
The first night in Berlin I escaped all the boys I was traveling with and met up with fellow expat blogger Adam, he of TQE, for a nice evening out. He took me to a place called Perlin, this awesome wine bar/cafe that works on the honor system. You rent a wine glass for a Euro, then serve yourself all the wine you want from a selection at the bar. You settle down for a nice chat in the small but comfortable surroundings, and then they offer you the meal o' the day, which you accept or not. We accepted and it was a good salad with cucumbers and pomegranate seeds, and a very tasty goulash. At the end of it, you pay what you think it's worth. No pressure. How cool is that? So Adam and I had a good time talking and chatting, eating good food, drinking good wines, and sharing experiences from our expat existences. He's a cool guy. It was a fun night, and we both agreed that our time at Perlin was a 25 Euro experience....(each). Thanks for a great night, Adam!
A couple nights later, I made the boys I traveled with civilize themselves for a nice dinner at a place called Rheinhard's in the Nicolaiverteil in Berlin. I think it might be a chain restaurant, but the food is good, the service is FIRST RATE and I like the atmosphere. So we had a lovely meal served by an AWESOME waitress named Claudia, who I instantly liked and clicked with. She was great. (The boys were all teasing me, "You've pulled, mate, you've pulled." Hey, what can I say, chemistry is chemistry.)
Rich and I stayed at a hotel called Askanischer Hof. I'm breaking a rule by telling the name of the hotel, I tend to keep that to myself so that if I stay there again, people don't know where I am, but hell, man, this place is awesome and deserves the accolades.
Decorated all in antiques and funky stuff from the turn of the century to the 40's, with an elaborate brocade furnished breakfast room and an atmosphere of louché (my new favorite word is louché, along with roué) Cabaret glamour from old Weimar, it's comfortable, cozy and fab all at the same time. Service was great, they wrapped up my odd little painting in bubble wrap for the flight without my asking them to. (Which was great, as I was worried about how to get it home!) Our room, though it faced the busy Ku'Damm shopping street, was dead quiet and had an extra set of pocket doors inside the entry door to completely close off the room for quiet and privacy. The ceilings are probably 11 feet. So cool. It's classified as a three star, but for my purposes it's 5 star all the way.
OK, enough of that. So now I am going to go cook my (low carb) eggs for breakfast and then go *&^%ing work out. (yes, still working on the weight loss and the getting in better shape. There's muscles and shit happening, yo.) I posted some pictures, below, from our first trip to Berlin in 2006, as I didn't bring a camera this time, but at least you get the idea.)