PARK LIFE #2 – 2017 PHOTO PROJECT

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s foggy. I grab my camera and head out. To the park. My park. And today I love it. Hardly any people around. Park life winter edition.

The cold numbs my cheeks. It cleans my lunges. It’s refreshing. It’s a reset. The perfect start to the weekend. The mind slows down, the thoughts ebb away. Free…

Volkspark Friedrichshain winter

My feet get wet. Snow is melting, puddles are forming and give sight to most curious reflections. I pause a moment and I am in awe. So much beauty on a grey foggy day in February.

Trees are showing there skeletons and seem suddenly magical. Water droplets imitate fairy dust and enchanting my surroundings.

Volkspark Friedrichshain winter

A wisp of cold air fills my lungs. There is something else. Warm, soothing… The smell of home. Of comfort. Coffee.

My feet carry me back, the sounds become vibrant. But the memory of this magical winter day will stay with me.

Have a whimsical Sunday

Tobia

I took those pictures for my 2017 photo project and Tabea is collecting more

Snowy Winter Walk

Every one of you who has read more than one post here knows I am winter crazy.

So it should not surprise that I am beyond excited when I see the tiniest snowflake.

fluffy plant

A couple weekends ago I woke up and snowflakes were dancing in the air. After having a quick coffee I grabbed my camera and went to the park.

snowy stair patternMy mission: catching the untampered winter wonderland. Unfortunately I was not the only one with this idea. The park was filled with morning joggers, dog walkers and excited kids sledding down every available rise in the ground.

greenery and blueI craved for some quietness and alone time but obviously that wasn’t going to happen… the perks of living in a city.

Snowy BenchAnyhow I went some lonelier pathes, and came a across a few birds feeding on seeds someone had left.

Feeding Sparrows in SnowI am usually not so much into birds and animals but I found it interesting and challenging to try to snap a good picture. It was tough. These are my best shots.

feeding great tit in snow

After two hours or so the park became even busier, my stomach louder and my feet colder so I headed back home for breakfast.

greenery

I want to repeat my snow walk in the park on a weekday hoping for more solitude. So please snow, come and delight us again.

Have you taken a snowy winter walk? What’s your favorite place to go?

Happy snow wandering

Tobia

Park life #1 – 2017 Photo Project

2017 is already a few days old. All the goals have been set and the christmas candy ate. And on a whim I decided to add another photo project to my list.

This will be my second attempt at Tabea’s 12tel Blick. In 2014 I gave it up after three months. So this year I am hoping I’ll follow through.

I decided on a series about park life. The idea struck me after watching a class at creative life last fall. Back in fall I tried to spent at least two hours in the park. Now with winter around and more to do I don’t take es much time for a walk as I would like. So this project comes in handy.

My first picture is this view:

park life january

The second one is a different area of the park:

park life january

The pictures have been taking 20 minutes apart. It started to snow and I thought it quite amazing how different it was.

Looking forward to taking the rest of the months throughout the year. Now let me know which view I should continue. I am not sure and don’t feel like doing both.

Happy Monday,

Tobia

10 Favorite Places to eat in Berlin

Hello ya’ll

here is a new edition of my “10 Things series“. Today I am taking you out for dinner. I show you my 10 favorite places to eat in Berlin Berlin has a crazy lot of places to offer and one hipster spot is quickly changing to the next one so that I hardly keep track. I have a few spots who have been around for some time and I consider them my favorite go to places. I tried to include a variety of them, stylish, super yummy, quick eating…

Kneipe Berlin

But let’s get started:

1. Miyabi

My most favorite place to have sushi in Berlin. They do have a great selection of sushi. And a ton of other dishes too however I’ve never had anything else here.
ambience: not too fancy but not shabby either. Compared to other Asian restaurants it’s not overly kitschy.
prices: pretty good for sushi! you always have happy hour meaning double amount of sushi e.g. salmon maki 3,20€ for 12 pieces… I usually leave very stuffed and with two drinks for 30-35 €/2 people.
location: two restaurants one close to Friedrichstraße with nice outdoor seating directly opposite of the library and the other in Uhlandstraße
⊗ Georgenstraße 195 * 10117 Berlin * Uhlandstraße 104-105 * 10717 Berlin * www.sushimiyabi.de

2. Schönbrunn

I have spent the last birthday dinners here because it’s just great for such an occasion. It is a nice restaurant, good cuisine and great surroundings. It’s a tiny vacation within Berlin.
ambience: there is a great patio to sit in the sunshine and for colder weather there is a winter garden
prices: main dishes come around 15-20€ but the Schnitzel is always worth the price. They also have a biergarten and a little take-away kiosk with moderate prices.
location: located directly within Volkspark Friedrichshain, one of Berlin’s famous outdoor recreation areas overlooking the little lake with fountain
⊗ Am Schwanenteich im Volkspark Friedrichshain * www.schoenbrunn.net

3. Alpenstück

Now this is the most fancy restaurant on this list. Very design and stylish and a very slim menu due to high class cuisine. The Schnitzel is great, Applestrudel also, ervythings else I’ve seen here looks good too.
ambience: very white interior and a wall with billets of wood. A few outdoor seatings as well.
prices: expensive but not gourmet
location: in a quite neighborhood with mostly apartment buildings and a few businesses but close to downtown Berlin Mitte.
⊗ Gartenstraße 9 * 10115 Berlin * http://alpenstueck.de

4. Asian Take-Away Restaurant VIET HA

This is our go to place when we are to lazy to cook. It seems very wallflower like but you will be surprised. There are a few tables to sit but you can also call in and order take-way. I say give it a chance.
ambience: not a real fancy Asian restaurant but not a shabby take-away either. It doesn’t smell of frying oil or anything disgusting (as you might have in other places).
prices: A main course is not over 7€
location: It’s also in a quite neighborhood with apartment buildings around. However Volkspark Friedrichshain is around the corner so why not pick something up and have a picnic?
⊗ Lebuser Str. 13 * 10243 Berlin * http://www.vietha-goldenerkarpfen.de

5. Shiso Burger

This is the current hot dpot in Berlin and by no means a secret anymore. People will pile up outdoors (even in freezing winter times) and stand munching burgers in front of the doors. Be prepared to wait or call in for reservations or skip dinner and go for lunch – less crowded and menue options.
ambience: there are a few tables and a lounge area inside. Outside there are picnic tables. It’s a place to grab food and leave. Hanging out long won’t work. But it’s a vibrant place and you get a fun Berlin hipster flair.
prices: burgers 4,20-6,90€, sides 2,20-3,50€
location: downtown Berlin close to Hackischer Markt with lots of boutiques, galleries and bars around.
⊗ Auguststr. 29 * 10119 Berlin * http://shisoburger.de

6. Chén chè

This is another place I visited first on my birthday. When coming in during the afternoon (I think until 3pm) you can celebrate a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony where there is served a variety of foods too.
ambience: Located on a backyard I have past it for years until finally looked it up online because I’ve heard of it. I always feel a bit like entering the Tiger & Dragon tea pavilion. There are birdcages (yes with real birds) and a great counter with tons of tea caddies. There is just a lot to see there – it’s eye candy…
prices: it is a bit more expensive than you might expect but it is worth it. However you pay a bit extra for ambience.
location: located in a backyard in the pulsing center of Berlin, easy to miss so I believe it is still somewhat of a insider tip. But make sure to reserve a table or be there before 7pm because it quickly fills up with locals (and expats based in Berlin).
⊗ Rosenthaler Straße 13 * 10119 Berlin * www.chenche-berlin.de

chén chè Viatnamese Tea House Berlin

7. Schneeweiß

I’ve only been here once (haha on another birthday…) but ever since wanting to come back. The food is good (awesome Kaiserschmarrn) and I loved the ambience. I felt comfortable here.
ambience: all in white as the name suggests (snow white) and they even got an design award for it. It is cozy and stylish.
prices: moderate to a bit expensive depending on the dish (main dishes 10-25 €)
location: in a backstreet not really looking like there would be such a restaurant. No outside seating when we visited in June but wouldn’t be too great anyway.
⊗ Simplonstraße 16 * 10245 Berlin *www.schneeweiss-berlin.de

8. Mädchenitaliener

This one is actually a recommendation by my sister. But once again I have spent my birthday here. It is a tiny little restaurant with bistro tables. It is packed and you will definitely need to reserve a table. They offer smaller
ambience: smaller tables inside and a few outside. Everything is small and tight and bursting with life and chatter.
prices: I believe pasta is around 8,00-12,00 €
location: In Berlin Mitte not far from Alexanderplatz and Hackischer Markt. Lots of shopping around.
⊗ Alte Schönhauser Strasse 12 * 10119 Berlin * Facebook Page

10. Barcomi’s Deli

Cynthia Barcomi – a New Yorker who ended up in Berlin brought the coffee shop culture to Berlin – I believe in the 80’s. Later she opened the Deli. And it’s a wonderful great relaxing spot with yummy food and delicious cake. Also you can buy her baking collection here and hand sighed books!
ambience: quite a lot of tables (on weekends all filled) and sometimes maybe a bit hectic. You want to catch a booth in the entry area. Quite a bit of outside tables in the shade.
prices: not on the higher end for snacks sandwiches, salads 7-9€, cake 2-5€
location: located in a quite backyard, entrance can be missed easily. Close to Hackischer Markt
⊗ Sophienstraße 21 * 10178 Berlin * www.barcomis.de

Pastrami Sandwich

Now I realize there is quite a lot of Asian and South German/Austrian cuisine in here – well that’s what I like…

And they are all downtown Berlin because that’s my hood. That’s were I grew up before it was all hipster and that’s were I feel home!

Now let me know when you visit one of those places.

Happy munching,

Tobia

25 years later – thoughts on fall of the wall

25 years ago I was living in a small town in Eastern Germany – the last town before Poland.

Today I am sitting in Berlin. Not East not West I am sitting exactly where 25 years ago the so called death strip was cutting a scar through this town.

lichtgrenze Reichstag

A lot has changed and I am more than grateful for all the people ignoring their fear and taking matters in their own hands. Being brave enough to make a change and not just complaining.

Back then I was young. But even with my young age I knew that  in ’89 something was different. There was feeling of “enough is enough no matter the consequences” in the air. And it spread – slowly but steadily.

I don’t regret being born in the former GDR. I wouldn’t say I am glad but I appriciate the experience.

I know what it’s like to not talk openly – I never mentioned I went to church on Sunday when being asked in school how my weekend was. I know what it’s like to be different – I was no “Jungpionier“. And I know what it feels like when the “Stasi” is ringing your doorbell.

I remember the anxiousness and danger surrounding us. But at the same time there was hope. The community grew together.

lichtgrenze

Most of the time it was just exciting for us and we proudly painted our signs for the Montagsdemonstrationen – even though we hardly understood what they were saying. We made up our own “revolutionary songs” as we played on our room.

On November 9, ’89 I went to bed as every other night and basically slept through this event. But when waking up I knew something historic had happened. I heard about people leaving town in the middle of the night to play the trumpet on the Berlin Wall. There was lots of suppressed joy and grins and hushes.

What this day meant to me and my life actually sunk in on its 10th anniversary.

I was sitting in a World History class in Idaho, USA. When my teacher asked if I would come up and share my experience. I hardly found words and choked while looking into blank faces. How can you explain such a thing?

I’ve never seen the wall before it came down. And yet it was omnipresent. I knew we couldn’t travel to all places. It was either the Baltic Sea or the mountains in Poland and Czechia. I knew the language English existed but heard that I wouldn’t be able to use it anyways.

The impact of historic events 25 years ago have opened a world for me I never was able to imagine and my parents didn’t dare to dream of.

  • I’ve lived in the USA for a year.
  • I’ve traveled to countries I never new existed.
  • I married Mr. ♥ who I wouldn’t have a chance of meeting.
  • I have a niece who wouldn’t be here either.
  • I have the chance to vote and actually make it count.
  • But most of all I know change is possible.

To this day I feel nauseated when seeing footage from ’89. And I hardly can watch the news when there are demonstrations in Ukraine or the Middle East.

In know I am one of the last in my generation to remember. Do you remember?!