Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #5 – Food and more food

Anyone reading this blog might get the idea that my life revolves around food! (I can see my mother nodding vigorously). But hey, if you are ever in Berlin, now you will know where to find good food! Here are my week’s highlights. Join Mani’s blog event to share yours!


1) Rain! My least favourite weather is hanging grey skies without rain, especially in summer. And apparently the crops of Brandenburg were not enjoying the dry spell. Luckily it finally rained, and of course, after the clouds had rained themselves out, we finally had some blue skies again.

2) We’ve run out of Dr Who episodes on Netflix for the moment and have now started watching Heroes. I’ve seen it before, but  J hasn’t, and I’m enjoying watching it again.

3) Our first tayberry (growing on the balcony) was ready to eat! (apparently it’s a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry).

4) “Sein oder nicht sein, das ist hier die Frage…” We went to see Hamlet in German at Monbijou park theatre. I really liked the theatre, which is wooden and built in the traditional style of Shakespeare’s era. Sometime the German was too fast to follow (for a non-native speaker), but you could get the general story and it followed the original quite well – amazing, considering there were only 3 actors playing all of the roles! Watching them juggle between roles was also entertaining. The mysterious Ophelia was always talked about but never seen…

5) Cheese fondue at Ars Vini! Followed by chocolate fondue at Ars Vini! Do I need to say more?

6) A friend of ours told us that Tommi’s burgers (in Berlin) has great sweet potato fries, which we didn’t notice before (usually we arrive so hungry that we just automatically order cheese burger and fries without even reading the menu). This time we went for lunch with aforementioned friend on a rainy Saturday and I noticed they also have a “Burger of the month” (I didn’t order this month’s one as I’m not a huge fan of sauerkraut on burgers, but our friend enjoyed it). The sweet potato fries were amazing. I would go there just for that. I also had a thick, coffee milkshake – delicious.

7) Pizza on Sunday night at Il Giradischi in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin. Everyone prefers a different style of pizza – this place and Pomodorino in Friedrichschain are my two favourite pizza places in Berlin. Normally I can never finish a whole pizza and take leftovers for breakfast, but in Il Giradischi I always finish it (so unfortunately…no leftovers!). At Pomodorino they serve it sold in squares, so you can mix and match or take away.

8) Biking on a Sunday. We did a 60km bike ride from Oranienburg to Eberswalder, through forests, past rivers and canals, lovely villages, farms and fields, and old stone roads. The scenery was amazing. I’ll write a separate blog post about that with some photos.

9) Our bike path led us through a small village where they were selling fish brötchen and renting canoes. The Backfisch (fish in batter) option I tried was absolutely delicious – crispy batter and good fish. Of course, food always tastes good after exercise, but so far it’s the best fish I’ve eaten in Germany and I’d happily cycle 60km to get there again!

PS – In case it seems as if I live on pizza and burgers, I should add for the record that I also had lots of huge salads in the cafeteria this week (but they were not included in my weekly pleasures 😉 )

Weekly Photo Challenge – Muse

Since I love taking photos (and looking at other people’s photos!), I thought I’d join the Weekly Photo Challenge. This week the topic is “Muse”: what subject frequently inspires you to take out your camera?  For me, my muse is Nature, and especially flowers. I really can’t walk past a good flower specimen without reaching for my camera! Insects and other animals also inspire me. This is one of my favourite flower photos, a poppy, taken at the beginning of summer 2013 in Brandenburg, Germany.


A Walk in the World (1)

Often when we are on our way to somewhere or just walking around somewhat randomly (as we do sometimes just to get some fresh air or stretch our legs), we spot many interesting things. And somehow if we could gather all these little things together, that’s what would form our impressions of a place. But normally when I post a blog, it’s about some specific destination or event. So today I decided to start a new blog event called “A Walk in the World”, where the idea is to post a few pictures (or even one) from a walk that you’ve taken, whether in a city, town, village or countryside location. Looking back in a decade or two, it will be interesting just to see how daily life looked in 2015! And for someone living on the other side of the world, that ordinary street you walk down every day might be really interesting.

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #4 – beer, food and sports


This week was pretty busy at work and the weather was not so great (this Berlin summer weather is similar to early Cape Town winter weather at the moment!). So the fun this week was in the food. During the week we visited two of our favourite restaurants in Berlin, Babel (a Lebanese restaurant on Kastanienallee) and Tommi’s Burger Joint, on Invalidenstrasse, which is a frequent pit-stop en route home from my bi-weekly German class. Also, it was Berlin Beer week, and several places around the city were showcasing various craft beers. I tried some new beers including a coffee cream beer, a sour rye beer and – my favourites – whiskey and bourbon barrel matured beers! I’m not sure if it’s just the Irish in me, but Wow, it tasted good.  I’d be happy if they put whiskey in all beers!

We also had a lovely bobotie (traditional South African dish) and peppermint tart (a favourite South African fridge tart) prepared for us by a South African friend also living in Berlin with her British husband, and made a stop next to the Cape Times cafe/shop, right next door to a friend’s apartment, for a coffee and a quiche. Although the household items sold in the shop are definitely “designer”, since the prices are pretty high, it’s a beautiful room to sit in and have a coffee.

Another good thing this week is that they finally opened a Decathlon in Berlin, on Alexanderplatz. In case you haven’t heard of it already, Decathlon is a sports store selling well-priced gear for a wide range of sports. A Romanian friend of ours used to take a group of us to Poland to pick up cheap sports gear when we were planning skiing or other adventures. Glad a Decathlon store has finally arrived in Berlin!

Join the blog event at A New Life Wandering to read what others have been up to this week!


Show your World – Table Mountain

table mountain
Tiny expats is hosting a blog event called “Show your world“, where you can describe some of the beautiful places you have seen. If you ask almost any Capetonian to name a beautiful place, the first thing that is likely to come to their mind is Table Mountain, the mountain around which Cape Town is built. So I thought I’d kick off my first Show your World post by describing why I love this mountain, and find it one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #2 – weekend in Czech

Last week was a pretty ordinary working week, with the highlight of the week definitely being the weekend trip to Czech to visit J’s family. Summer is slowly arriving, and the return of this season, including some lovely warm weather, was the greatest source of pleasure this week. Here are some of the moments that stood out this week: Continue reading

Grandpa’s rock buns


These rocks buns were on my grandfather’s wishlist for every birthday, Christmas and Father’s day, so my mother would always make him a big tin and some for us at the same time. She would make some slightly burnt ones especially for me, because I liked them that way. I guess the reason my grandfather liked rock buns so much is that they are good with a cup of tea. I think they make a nice breakfast when you’re in a hurry! Continue reading

15 things I love about Berlin

Previously I mentioned some of my pet peeves in Berlin, so now it is time to list some of the things I love about Berlin – a much longer list!
1) The lakes. 
I did not know before I moved here that Berlin contains, and is surrounded by, so many lakes. One of summer’s greatest pleasures is going for a refreshing swim in a lake on a hot, humid day. Apart from swimming you can also go stand-up paddling, kayaking pedal-boating or sailing in some of the lakes.

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