Last weekend we took a trip to Berlin. I’ve visited Berlin lots of times and I love the vibrancy of the city. It’s noisy, busy, colourful, full of a multitude of places selling food and drink from all over the world and loads of things to do from art galleries to pop up gigs. We take a bus to Berlin, it takes two hours and costs 15€ ($21AUD) which is half the price of the train but twice as long. No bother, the bus has wifi and we read blogs and listen to talking books.
We have been using airbnb for travel accommodation since it opened it is has so many advantages over hotels (I’ll be writing another post about this so stay tuned). We stayed in a big one room apartment in Kreuzberg, a great part of Berlin with a great multicultural twist. We were just around the corner from
Chris was in Kreuzberg for a conference so besides a couple of drink events in Prenzlauerberg and Mitte, we didn’t stray from the suburb. On our first afternoon, after getting our fill of burgers, fries and Club Mate and one of the many burger places in Berlin, we went along to the Museum of Things. It’s absolutely torture for a lover of vintage home wares and kitsch like me, so many things you like, and you can’t have any of them!
Thirdly, Leipzig is definitely quieter and cheaper. This makes it a great place to live on a budget. Berlin is still cheap of course, but closer to Australian prices. We also got also repeatedly if we want to buy drugs when near the train station which amused me as it’s not happened since I left Melbourne. On the street we were staying was an school which had been occupied by refugees, asylum seekers and refugee activists. I wasn’t entirely clear whether this meant people could go and leave freely and the site had security guards and bus load of police there the entire time. Given that Berlin’s history of squatting is famous world wide, it certainly was heavy handed.
Saturday I went along for a Vegan Tour of Kreuzberg, kindly organised by some friendly local vegans. Along with folks from Korea and Belgium we walked around and discovered the latest and greatest eateries in Kreuzberg, getting a great oral history along the way.
I had the pleasure of visiting Khartoum, Imbiss, a tiny Sudanese cafe/restaurant serving snack food with a twist. It had a variety of foods, including vegan and vegetarian. We shared a vegan plate which was absolutely delicious and included felafels made of fava beans, spiced kidney beans, salad, fried tofu, baked vegetables and tomato and peanut sauces. It was so good I took Chris there the following evening before we went home!
We tried bits and pieces at various eateries and really enjoyed seeing Kreuzberg through the eyes of locals. Berlin is not short of vegan eateries, I don’t think there would be many restaurants and cafes without options. And if you like Turkish food, you could eat a felafel kebab at a different Imbiss everyday and never get through them all, they are everywhere!
I had Original Unverpackt on my list of places to visit and we were staying 5 minutes walk away. It’s the first supermarket chain which offers food and other household goods without any packaging. You can bring your own paper, cloth or string bags or buy form the extensive range of sustainable packaging from triffin tins to Keep cups. I tried to take some pictures but the lighting made it a bit hard. The store was more like a co-op than I was expecting, with commensurate pricing. I can see this is a fantastic idea (especially as many more supermarket goods are packaged here than in Australia) but out of the price range of most Germans.
I was delighted to learn of Markt Hall Neun, a collection of eateries and market stalls which included Florists, bars, thai food, a New Zealand butcher and lots of vegan burgers and cakes.
I was really interested to hear about selling a regular community market stall Wild Gartnerei, who grow and sell fruits, vegetables and edible weeds 30 kilometres North of Berlin.
I’ve been seriously craving Asian dumplings since I left Melbourne. I really miss ShanDon Mama and of course Camy Shanghai Dumpling House! There’s a couple of places where I can buy frozen ones here in Leipzig and of course I make my own dumplings and pierogies but it’s not the same as a huge bamboo basket of steaming dumplings served with chilli oil, soy sauce and vinegar and a plate of garlic chinese broccoli! (Eat them fast while the rest are coming and drink your weight in Jasmine tea). So I asked my new vegan friends about what options there were for dumplings in Berlin. They suggested a couple of places and we settled on Momos which was Vegetarian and organic. We tried a bit of everything, on the menu going for the platter of 32 dumplings in four different varieties (15€/ $21.50AUD) . Three were vegan and one (spinach and cheese) vegetarian. Half were fried and half steamed and it’s interesting how the variation in cooking works better with different flavours. The spinach and cheese were far better steamed and the carrot and chickpea worked best fried. Dipping sauces of soy and ginger and spiced tomato complimented the dumplings. I would have really liked some chilli sauce for a bit of kick. They were good, but of course not as good as Chinatown dumplings.
I had a lovely walk Sunday, looking at buildings, walking down by the river, window shopping
I would have loved to have visited this shop/cafe, but being Sunday, it was closed.
Coffee and cake- so good to have real coffee!
I had lunch at Yellow Sunshine. It’s a Germany’s first Vegetarian eatery and offer a half vegetarian/half vegan menu. I ordered a fish burger (made of chickpeas) but found it a bit bland. Some more dill and gherkins would have fixed this. Excellent chips and I had a mate drink as a concession to health!
I love old buildings, here’s a few pics:
A great trip, we’ll be back again soon.
Place of interest (some of many):
Made in Germany – Politics through Things. The German Werkbund in 1914
September 25, 2014 – February 2, 2015
Werkbundarchiv –Museum der Dinge
Oranienstraße 250999 Berlin
Markt Hall Neun
MomosFehrbelliner Straße 5,
Wiener Straße 19