In a rather fantastic turn of international shuffleboard, two of our great friends from Perth (actually who I knew since lower school!) have arrived for a two year stay in Amsterdam.
Which, for those of you playing in a country of actual respectable size, is only as far away as going from Mandurah to Joondalup and back 3 times.
Even shorter, because there are flights from our A to their B which only take an hour!
The set down on Friday morning, and made their way to our work place. Just in time for me to do a tour before skiving off after lunch to show them the Potsdam Sights.
Ok, this one was taken by Ikumi, and as she is very artistic, I assume it is some sort of Statement about Interpretation Of The Physical Object or something.
This one is ‘Feeling Blue’, also by Master Ikumi.
‘Jumping Away The Blues’
And then we managed to get the camera settings back onto something a bit more normal.
And Ikumi took a few shots that we will pine over when living in Berlin in the coming years, remembering our beautiful Potsdam!
And then we went to the centre, stuffed our faces with Pizza, then with some Hipster Coffee, and hang around at home taking (and watching people rap on Youtube) until late enough that we ended up only having ‘Kebab’ as a viable dinner option.
Still, it’s the true Berlin experience.
The next morning Andy had to do some work, so the rest of us headed into Berlin to eat cake without him.
Which was not necessarily the original plan, but I wanted to show them (the outside only) of our new apartment, and then our noses lead us quite naturally to the amazing nearby market at Wintefeldplatz.
Ikumi, whose natural instinct it is to line up anywhere where there is already a massive line (this is always a good bet at street markets if you want the best satay etc.), parked us behind about 30 other people, who turned out to be hankering for cake and coffee.
The food both was owned by an Italian couple – always a good sign when it comes to the making of coffee and cakes. But their process was in serious need of some organising.
There was clearly a language issue- the lady who was doing the orders was not great at German, and kept on asking and/or answering in Italian. Which frankly hurt my head, because I once learnt Italian, and my brain desperately tried to remember it all by shunting all of the German out of the way. At one point I couldn’t work out how to say ‘one’ in German because the Italian for ‘one piece’ was dancing so flamboyantly in there.
Mothers, Fathers. Teach your children a second language from birth. After that, their brains get too old and stupid, and the whole process becomes a lot more confusing!
Apart from the language though, the lady just had a strange way of doing things. She would cut a piece of cake for you. Then pause. Then decide to cut 5 more pieces of the same cake (you become worried a this point that there as a communication error and you’re walking out of there with six cakes.. but no, these are just for the display). Then she pauses. Asks you again what you want. You reiterate, and finally receive your second type of cake. There is a pause. She looks at you. You ask again for the third piece and she looks annoyed. Apparently there’s a system where that third cake can only be cut by her husband who is manning the coffee. So you start that process, that takes a few more minutes still. Finally, you make it out of there, and it seems like a miracle that you’ve walked away with the actual order that you made, and not with three tonnes of wholemeal flour and a cherry on top.
Part of me suspects this woman is just a brilliant mastermind, who deliberately kept her line long in order to ensure our ‘long line must be good’ reaction.
Anyway, we came away with a Tiramisu, a custard shortbread tart, and special cheesecake. Thankfully, they all turned out to be worth the wait.
^The cheesecake, is apparently an Easter special,and contains a very rich cheese base, hosting- of all things- Parsley!
Which actually works out quite well.
Odd in a good way as opposed to ‘Odd-in-the-way-that-Pierre-Hermes-was-drunk-again-and-thought-that-truffle-is-a-good-macaron-flavour’
After Nathan ate almost all of the cake, we went for the Berlin Walking Tour, and Ikumi pulled this face:
Ok, you have to keep in mind that we did 3 hours of walking, then some more shopping, before arriving at the next photo.
If not, you know, it just looks like we ate all day.
Dinner was with friends, mostly because it was the birthday of this guy:
While Joram became old, we all sat down to ‘Bavarian Tapas’ at this place.
So this concept of ‘German Tapas’, while slightly less authentic because all the food has been fancified slightly, seems to me like a super good idea.
We ordered one of everything.
Ikumi and Nathan had to leave on the Sunday afternoon, but that still gave us the morning. First, for more eating (dim sum!), and then for more Climbing Adventures with Andy W.
Meet the Berliner Dom.
7 Euros for entry.
They let you climb to the top.
I found the church itself pretty disappointing, and would definitley choose the view from the Reichstag or Victory Column over this one (plus, they are cheaper).
Probably only go here if you are really into churches, and haven’t already visited any of the proper catholic countries.
^Normally I would not include this, but I assume that Ikumi is making that face because she wants people to see it.
And here is a beautiful stunning photo of me after Andy told me that we still have many more stairs to climb.
I am awful at stairs. To the point where I’m kind of glad that our new apartment is 90 stairs up (4 floors) with no elevator. Time to get Training!
Andy tried to take gruppenfoto selfies…
…but mostly ended up taking lots of photos of himself.
Trying to get the TV tower in the background.
Ok, I’ll leave you with my favourite: