One take away from Berlin – Germans know how to eat, drink, and party!
Daniel and I chowed down at Lonely Planet-recommended Max und Moritz in Kreuzberg, and we decided that their house beer, Kreuzberger Molle, was a new favorite. Dan ordered Hoppel-Poppel, “a typical German Breakfast omelette with potato, onion, bacon and smoked pork”, and I devoured Kutscher Gulasch, “a rich spiced beef stew served with salad and homemade dumpling noodles.”
Hoppel-Poppel, photo courtesy of Daniel Weltz
After dinner, we made some Spanish friends in Berlin through a series of cold events – a turk on our icy walking tour recommended a concert, whose subfreezing line for tickets we abandoned when we could no longer feel our fingers. In a nearby gas station store, a number of other line-abandoners escaped the cold, and we found ourselves chatting with three friendly Spanish ex-pats, Xin, Meritxell, and Joan. Xin, from Mallorca, had met Meritxell, a Barcelona native, and Joan, from Valencia, while they were all going to university in Barcelona. Together, the five of us hit a cozy, couch-filled bar, where we warmed up with Glühwein, or “glow wine”, a spiced, mulled red wine with an added shot of amaretto or rum.
Daniel and I couldn’t figure out how this delicious winter drink hasn’t become popular in the US yet, but we’re working out the business plan now. (Shh!)
As we hopped on and off the U-Bahn and S-Bahn and the clock ticked later and later, I was surprised to notice people openly drinking and smoking. While not technically legal, chances of being bothered by the police for drinking in public are slim to none. In fact, a German phrase I picked up while riding the U-Bahn with our new friends is “Späti, ja?” Späti, a nickname for small convenience stores, refers to grabbing a quick drink.
For example, upon noticing that the next train arrives in twelve minutes, one might turn to the group and say, “Späti, ja?” In other words, “we’ve got twelve minutes, want to grab a beer while we wait?”
Our next stop, the club Tresor, is located in what was once an abandoned heating plant in Mitte. The enormous building features lighter house music on the upper dance floor and hard techno beats in the haze-filled basement. The industrial feel and maze-like corridors leant the club a very unique – and almost creepy – atmosphere. We enjoyed dancing, European style – which I was shocked to learn meant no grinding. When we commented about our surprise to our Spanish-Berliner friends, they laughed and said no, that only happens in American movies! Compared to the US university Greek scene, where grinding and hyper-sexualized dancing is the norm, I’d choose clubbing in Berlin any day.