Mon 18 Nov - Berlin, Germany

From Berlin to... Berlin...

On the move again, but just about 5km to a more central part of Berlin, where we have extended our stay in another apartment on Leipziger Straße.

Unlike our previous district, near Hackescher Markt, which was quaint, old and cute, we now feel we are in pseudo modern part, which still feels very much Eastern Germany.

This is our new street Leipziger Straße and we are staying in one of the high rised buildings to the right.

As we had to leave our old apartment at Hackescher Markt no later than 12pm and we officially didn't have access to the new one at Leipziger Straße until 5pm, we negotiated to leave the bags there not long after noon and come back later.

So we did, all good, but it also meant that they we had a few hours to check out our local neighborhood while the cleaning lady finished her job.

The first recognizable landmark that we saw was Checkpoint Charlie, about 3-4 blocks from our flat, but even more important...the Deutsches Currywurst Museum is close by.

A whole museum devoted to one type of Berlin-born cuisine - the Currywurst. This is how it looked like from the street...

On the northern side of Leipziger Straße is an area that clearly had become posh pretty quickly after the wall came down. It included a Michelin star restaurant, the Hilton, lots of other hotels and this most amazing chocolate shop called Fassbender and Rausch.

Fassbender and Rausch have been in business for more than 100 years and it was busy inside and looked amazing so we decided to check it out.

Fantastic chocolate selection, displays and store.

The artwork for the following five photos are all made of chocolate. Amazing, hey?

This chocolate globe even featured Australia.

Hans is also holding up 2 trial packs (€1.20 each) which has 8 mini chocolates varying from 35% to 80% cocoa from different parts of the globe. You can try each type and work out which percentage of cocoa suits you best.

This is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church off Kurfürstendamm that we visited last week, in the same half destroyed state but missing the scaffolding.

Chocolate Reichstag...

And a resurrected Titanic.

We did not ask the price of these constructions, if indeed they were for sale, but we got some idea when we looked at a smallish (say 15cm by 20cm) chocolate Brandenburger Tor, which cost €120.

What a fantastic place for a chocoholic or even if you are not. We saw a sign about a cafe and a restaurant as well but we didn't explore those further. Perhaps a return visit may be required.

Architectural style had found some parts of our neighborhood and we particularly liked how this complex of 5 buildings were deliberately different and interesting. Yes, they clashed against the monotony of the still very present eastern bloc architecture...

...Like this one when you literally round the corner back to Leipziger Straße. Yes, you are yet again reminded of the East Berlin 1970's architecture...yuck. And up close it looked like the building's balconies was held together by scaffolding.

It is now a hotel and restaurant complex called Halong Hotel and they slapped a new entry onto it to "tart up" their offering as best they could.

This tunnel goes underneath and across Leipziger Straße towards our place. Perhaps we won't take this subway tunnel at night. Very communist era.

Around 2.30pm we went to the building next door to ours which has a Lidl supermarket, a baker, a euro discount shop and a big pharmacy. Earlier we had explored the euro discount shop, you know the "Traveller's friend" and loved it...

We stopped at the baker for a cuppa and shared a donut. Di took time to do a quick shopping list for Lidl.

Lidl, like Aldi, keeps their prices low by stocking less variety of each type of food. But really - a big bottle of mineral water for 19 cents? How do they make any profit?

Note that the refundable cost of the bottle is 25 cents, in other words, the bottle is more expensive than its contents.

We took our supplies up to the apartment around 3pm, figuring that the cleaning lady would be gone by now and she was so we were able to settle in to our new Berlin home, a studio apartment.

Given the slow news day, here are some pictures from both inside and outside the studio apartment...

Looking towards the living area and kitchen from the bed area corner.

Hans in the living area, making use of our dining table to upload photos and check out directions for our plans for tomorrow.

The bed area.

There is plenty of space and the kitchen looks quite "storm cooking" friendly.

The best feature though has to be the view. We hear very little of the traffic noise as the window insulation is excellent and we are on the 19th floor. Berlin's TV Tower is very recognizable on the streetscape.

And a bit to the left...

And to the right and down... A bit of East Germany is still detectable...

Now, the handle to Di's bag has gone kaput and doesn't want to get out of its shelter. So, being the genius she is and with the help from offerings of the discount store next door, a dog leash, a soft bike handlebar cover and a bit of violence from Hans getting things together, we now have a new temporary usable handle. Hey, doesn't Di look pleased with herself here...

Hans bag is likely to follow suit so we have a second "repair set" ready for him.

Dusk arrived and a few more shots from the balcony.


Soon after 5pm we decided to go out for an early dinner. Here we are on our 19th level floor waiting for the lift. Looks pretty sparse...

Inside the lift, there are ads for a variety of services including massage and erotica.

Our building on Leipziger Straße 46.

And Leipziger Straße in the dark looking east. Yep, a lit up Coca Cola sign here too.

We had a lovely pasta dinner in a Trattoria on Charlottenstraße, served by a funny waitress with a very dry sense of humor. A free shot was included as an aperitif. Nice!

After dinner we wandered across to Gendarmenmarkt as we had seen last week that they were preparing the square for Christmas markets. However, they were still preparing and we got just a little bit disappointed.

Well, Gendarmenmarkt looked good with the Deutscher Dom in the middle and the Berlin Concert Hall to the right.

As we turned around the corner and onto Friedrichstraße, we suddenly recognized this image.

Yep, back to movie mania and extracts from "Bourne Supremacy". This is the hotel where Pamela Landy stays in the movie and where Bourne tracks her down. This lobby also featured in the movie.

As did this atrium.

Off the subject of Bourne as we exited the hotel. The Westin Grand had somehow acquired a piece of the Berlin Wall, but the interesting or say strange thing was...

...that the once hated wall was now a piece of valuable "art". We could understand that some punters may want a piece of it, but still, this is just weird.

Still on the outlook for a gluhwein or a drink, we decided to walk west along Leipziger Straße to Potsdamer Platz where we knew from the other day that there are Christmas markets.

The Museum for Communication looked pretty good lit up mainly in blue colours.

Almost there, that high rised building is at Potsdamer Platz.

Arrived and we promptly bought ourselves a gluhwein with a schoss. They were served in these glasses which cost a refundable 3€ that you get back when you return the glasses.

This stand was promoting "käse aus Österreich", cheese from Austria, and Di was there in a flash.

Plenty of sampling lead us to purchase two different cheeses. Heck, they were good.

The downhill snow slope was open for business, but not many punters were on it. It didn't go very fast at all and could have benefited from being a bit higher.

Close to 9pm we decided to call it a day and took the bus from Potsdamer Platz along Leipziger Straße to outside our apartment building. A quieter day, but with a bit of exploration locally at the end. Good night.



  1. Hi Hans,
    Love the chocolate statues. I imagine one could get quite sick eating there way through the Titanic!
    Enjoy Berlin.

  2. Do you drink Coke or Pepsi?
    ANSWER THE POLL and you could win a prepaid VISA gift card!