Then we take Berlin

I´m just back from a trip to Berlin and boy  was it  invigorating! I love that city, there´s no doubt in my mind that it has everything you could ever want from a metropole, except for the sea, perhaps. I´d settle for that anytime!

I was in Berlin for a conference; in a way it was the excuse I needed to allow myself 4 days off.  The conference about community interpreting was intense and inspiring, although I found out mostly what I already knew, that the world is compromising more and more for the sake of saving a penny and that availability precedes quality.

However, that didn´t stop me from having a good time. We did some shopping, we dined French, Asian and Italian. We walked till our feet hurt, stopped for a beer and then walked some more. I´m not very much into German cuisine, except for the curry wurste and the pretzel, which I had my share of this time, too.

On Sunday we went to the Mauerpark for the flea market, but since it was Memorial Day there was no market.  What else to do than eat some organic pizza and have more coffee? We then walked all the way to Mitte through Prenzlauer Berg with its colorful  buildings, shops and falafel stores. Berlin was chilly and grey and yet not distressing at all. They´d just started Christmas decorating and somehow I felt I was a couple of weeks early.

Yesterday we wrapped up by cake and coffee at KADEWE, the amazing shopping center of West Berlin, where you find whatever you could ever dream of from exclusive handcrafted bags to chocolate truffles and eclairs. We had amazing eclairs and bought some small gifts and magazines, I am now the proud owner of the latest CEREAL edition! Later on we visited the Bauhaus Museum and found yet some more inspiration in the clean lines and visionary buildings. I am currently on my couch in my pjs and life has never been as sweet.

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All work and no play

I´m so worked up by my own problems, schedule, moods and goals that I managed to get myself into a really old-fashioned fatigue. No matter what´s happening, I only dream of a holiday. I tried to think of other stuff, get a haircut, buy some new clothes, but the thing is I´m bored with the scenery. So I bought tickets for Tallin, Estonia in december. Figured that 3 days in a spa hotel with lots of pampering haven´t hurt anyone. Besides, we´ll be shopping at their famous Christmas markets and stroll in the pretty old town. I got my hopes up on´vin chaud´or ´gluhwein´or whatever they call it out there, I´m going to have a mug every other hour, I reckon.

Meanwhile, I´m all buried in papers and accountancy, drinking too much coffee and walking around with sky high shoulders. I feel that my days are so unpredictable that no matter how much I try to make it through the day without getting an ulcer, something will destroy the balance- either somebody´s late, which makes me late for my next appointment, or the traffic and the Gods are against me.

That being said, I´m looking forward to Berlin in two weeks. Conference and pleasure, what do you know?! If you feel the urge to recommend some places, please do! Otherwise, I hope it´s warmer there than here and that the Thai food is just as amazing and the drafts just as big.

To wrap things up I just want to tell you that I´m a very proud auntie, I have the cutest niece and I´m looking forward to seeing her soon. She has the cutest smile and already 6 teeth! Take a look for yourselves! Isn´t she adorable?!

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Berlin

This year we haven´t travelled as much as we use to, but there´s one short trip I won´t deny myself: a conference in Berlin- “Mapping the Field of Community Interpreting”. It´s in November and the city might not show itself from its best angle, but nothing will ever stop me from loving Berlin. You´ll probably think it´s a cliché, but that city is alive! We´ve been there twice already, once for Easter in April 2010 and the second time in September 2011 and both times we fell in love with Berlin. I have to admit I had my doubts. I´m all about old and sumptuous and I knew much of old Berlin had been bombed during the war. But boy was I wrong to be doubting! The city is a gem! Incredibly big and lots of fun. There are Sunday markets to be visited,  long walks along the river where it´s mandatory to stop for a beer in one of the lounge chairs with a pretty view, as you´ll see me doing below. Vietnamese and Korean dinner is a must and so is the Jewish Museum. Start your day in Hackescher markt with some shopping, head to Prezlauer Berg to see and be seen by the cool, have a bite at a falafel joint, find the river and take a stroll along its banks where you can admire the Government building and all the modern museums´ architecture. For dinner, try Monsieur Vuong in Hackescher markt, the food is fabulous and the prices are wallet-friendly. We´re restless people, so museums are not always the recipe for a fun day. However we try to go to at least one museum per holiday and make it worthwhile. If I had to settle for one experience from Berlin, I´d choose the Jewish museum. It was really something. The light, the solemnity, the architecture, the exhibits. I cried for three hours non-stop and had to take a break for lunch to pull myself together. It´s our history though, we don´t have to embrace it, but we should at least know about it. I hope you enjoy my gallery and book your tickets now. I hear Berlin is magnificent for Christmas, too!

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