Saturday morning was grey and dreary but that hardly matters when you're on holiday! Jim and I woke up studiously early and headed across the road from our apartment to "Curry 36", a veritible palace of dreams. We had zwei Curry-wurst mit brotchen which was absolutely the most delicious currywurst I've ever had in my life. Gorgeous.
After this we caught the U-Bahn to Zoo Berlin, which is in keeping with what is rapidly becoming a holiday tradition of visiting zoos and aquariums, and I was absolutely astounded at the quality of the exhibits there. There is no doubt it is the best zoo I've had been to. The ape house might not have been quite as good as the gorilla house at Port Lympne but it had gorillas, orangutans, chimps and bonobos. Most exhibits were open and the barriers very unobtrusive which gave the impression you were walking among the animals rather than just viewing them through cage bars. Particularly effective was the heron and pelican pond where dozens of herons flew through the sky above you and covered every tree nearby. Amazing. And of course there were the polar bears! Totally awesome.
We then headed into the Aquarium was was sadly less exciting than most aquariums I've been to. The aquatic exhibits were dull, the reptiles exhibits were far too small (for the reptiles that is) and I was astounded at the awful state of their bearded dragons.
The Amphibian exhibits were, characteristically, rubbish (mainly as amphibians are marvellous at hiding) and the insect house had displays of ants from which ants were actually escaping! It was a big let down after the zoo, but thankfully we'd got a combi ticket at a discount so only paid about 2 euros for the experience. Phew!
We took a stroll around the nearby area, seeing the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche which was destroyed during the Second World War and left as a memorial (there's a similar if much smaller clock tower memorial in my own home town).
We returned to Alexanderplatz so Jim could buy a belt as thanks to his weight loss he was having a hellish time with his trousers. We headed up to Eberswalder Straße, and had our second currywurst of the day (for scientific reasons of course!) at Konnopke Imbiss. Jim had been telling me this was the best currywurst in town, and the queue certainly was long. It was lovely, but I think Curry 36 just pips them at the post on quality. We headed down towards the cafes off Danziger Straße, getting a "Thai burger" on the way. Definition: heaven in a bun. We then settled in at a cafe we'd like the look of the day before; the Cafe Anna Blume for some hot chocolate and some cake (in my case carrot cake!). Very nice, and the atmosphere in there was brilliant. A great place to go for an intimate chat (in busy surroundings).
350 protest but we seem to have missed it. So instead we bought some Stollen and then went to the DDR Museum. Despite my fascination with Communist history, this was a bit of a let down focussing mainly on the social and cultural aspects of the DDR. The set up of a "typical" East German house seemed a lot like the houses I lived in in the 80s. If anything this exhibits just made the DDR seem like a normal place to live. I don't think that was the intention.
I found an Ampelmannchen shop and bought myself a wonderfully kitsch mug before we moved on (yet again, this was a busy day!) to our next destination: north, via S-Bahn, to AugustStraße. Here, Jim assured me, we were to find a restaurant he had booked for us, called Rodeo Berlin. It was at number 5, number 4 was there and so was number 6. All that seemed to be between them, where number 5 should be, was a graffiti and poster covered industrial fence with a small gate in it. On the other side was a just a dark courtyard surrounded by old warehouses. Jim suspected this was the place, so we bravely entered the large courtyard and walked across to the light from a door. Through the door was a stairwell, again graffiti covered as is everything in Berlin, which looked a lot like the sort of stairwell you get in run down student halls. We decided this was obviously the wrong place, and turned around to go when we encountered a middle age couple making there way over to us "Wo ist Rodeo Berlin?" they asked. We made it plain we were wondering the same thing and we continued off back towards the gate but stood and watched where they went in case they could enlighten us further.
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They disappeared up the stairwell and didn't come back... which got us wondering so we returned and headed upwards. There was a large locked door with some credit card stickers on the glass, and a doorbell next to it on the second floor. Jim bravely pressed the buzzer and after some interrogation from the cute guy who opened it (what is your name? Do you have a reservation??) he revealed this was indeed Rodeo Berlin but they weren't open yet (we were booked for the first sitting and were there half an hour before that)
To ponder our next step we withdrew to a nearby bar Keyser Soze, where Jim discovered his love of Berliner Pilsner. After a brief discussion we decided that despite Rodeo's very weird set up we would be adventurous and give it a go. Nothing ventured nothing gained. Well weren't we glad we went through with it? Despite it's location, the inside is more than just sumptuous. It was pushing towards worrying levels of luxury. The large dome of the dining hall almost made it impossible to drag your gaze down to room level. But I was glad I did as the eye candy among the waiter's was high. And finally, the food. It was expensive but not horrendously so, and it was one of the nicest meals I've ever had. I know, I say this after my previous day's decision that I'd already had the nicest meal ever but the fact it was surpassed so soon just show's how good Berlin's restaurants are. I had:
Starter: Feines von Étoufée – Täubchen: Praline, Terrine, Räucherbrust
Main: Wirsingcrépinette vom Frischlingsrücken, Ragout von Wildschweinbacken mit Backpflaumen an Pastinakenpürree und Rosenkohlblättern
Dessert: Orientalischer Quittenstrudel an Kaffeeparfait
Afterwards we headed back to Mehringdamm and had a late night session in Vogt's Bier-Express and an early morning currywurst before we fell back into the apartment absolutely exhausted.
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