Orgy of Pork

Trip Start Aug 23, 2007
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Trip End Sep 23, 2007


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Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, September 20, 2007

We checked out a market near the hostel, where we split a sweet, gooey, sugary waffle.  Very different from Belgian-style waffles, but still very good.  There were numerous stands selling tempting crepes and pastries, but we decided to go elsewhere to complete our breakfast. 
 
"Bialys and Bagels" was the choice - though I didn't see any bialys in sight.  I had an onion bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and assorted greens.  Good!  With a cappuccino, my breakfast was $9 CAD!  Mary opted for a simple bagel and cream cheese.   
 
I noted to Mary that I thought the bagel girl was cute.  Mary was surprised because according to her, the girl was "too old" for my tastes.  She was probably only in her late twenties!  I've only chased after a 20 year old Spanish girl once, but my friends will never let me forget about it!  Well ... technically, I chased after her three times - but she was 21 and then 22 the final two times.
 
Next up was the Dom - Berlin's cathedral.  It had some nice tile mosaics inside but overall, it wasn't worth the 5 Euro admission fee. 
 
Mary-ism #33:  "Chineasy".  Perhaps this is Mary's word for a slutty Chinese person?  You'll have to ask her what the exact meaning is, because I couldn't figure it out.
 
Off to West Berlin - Kurfurstendaam (Ku'daam for short), a long and lively street of shops and restaurants.  This is the centre of the action in the West, but now pales in comparison to the dynamic energy of the east.  It's a nice area but doesn't quite have the same soul.  It's definitely an expensive part of town with countless high-end shops.  I even saw a 750 ml bottle of Evian water selling for 4 Euros!!!          
 
Lunch was at Zillemarkt Restaurant - a veritable pork overdose!  We tried their Berliner Allerei mixed platter and regretted it.  I tried the Berliner Pilsner - kind of bitter, but it helped cut through the richness of the food.   

This parade of pork was decent, but pure overkill.  Though it was billed as a platter for two, there is enough food to stuff three people, and with an appetizer, probably four.  Some random North American guy commented that we should take the grotesque amount of leftovers back to our hotel.  It was brutal.  Tonight we'll probably have nightmares of pigs oinking ... we plan on making a movie out of this experience, entitled "The Silence of the Pigs".  
 
Pat-ism #1:  Mary had a sore jaw after eating all this food, but I called it a "jore saw".  Mary's word slip-ups are starting to rub off on me.  
  
Mary-ism #34:  After the meal, the Mary-isms came in rapid succession.  "I need to put something else inside my body besides pork" she told me, as she munched on some bread.    Mary-ism #35:  "I  can fit a lot in my mouth." as she stuffed sausages and pork knuckle into her mouth.  Mary-ism #36 :  "Put your finger away!!!" as I tried to poke her stomach, bulging with pork.  Mary-ism #37:  "Every movement feels so hard!"  I didn't know how to respond to any of those comments - I only watched in stunned silence. 
 
After lunch, Mary was so stuffed that she couldn't walk fully upright.  She hobbled along, slightly bent over and clutching her stomach.  She looked a lot like Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons".  I'll never understand how such a tiny girl can pack away so much food, and why she always feels like she needs to out-eat a guy that's almost twice her size. 
 
We stumbled to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.  It was heavily damaged in the war and a unique new section was constructed just behind it.  We did some shopping then stopped at the KaDeWe (short for Kaufhaus des Westens) department store - kind of Berlin's version of Harrod's in London.
 
Next was the Jewish Museum - the focus was on Jewish history in Germany (nearly 2000 years worth!).  The content wasn't too appealing for me - its focus was mostly on the history of specific people.  The numerous interactive exhibits made for a more interesting experience, but I still found the building to be the highlight, not the exhibit itself.
 
We decided to limit our time here to 1.5 hours, after the debacle at the Gemaldegalerie.  We still had a lot of ground to cover tonight - next was the Pergamon, famous for the Pergamon altar.  I didn't find it to be anything special. 

In addition to the altar, there were various Assyrian and Babylonian artifacts - nothing new for me as I've seen some similar things at numerous other museums.  Overall, it was an OK experience and we couldn't complain about the price - many museums are free Thursdays after 18:00. 
 
The final museum of the night was the Egyptian Museum, just steps away from the Pergamon Museum.  It's all part of Museum Island, along with the Dom, Old National Gallery, and the Palace of the Republic.  Overall, it was nothing special.  Afterward, I joked to Mary "You know, there are a couple of other free museums tonight, and we have some time ..."  Mary actually wanted to go for it, despite looking like she was on her death bed!  She's crazier than I am!!!
 
Turns out that Mary was feeling pretty ill all day but wouldn't really let on.  So we decided on something light for dinner - soup was the choice.  We walked along Oranienburger Strasse looking for a place, but none had any appealing soup.  So we decided to head back to Prenzlauer Berg for some Vietnamese food.  We didn't quite get that far, finding one along the way. 
 
"My Hanoi" was way more authentic than the Vietnamese stuff we had a few days ago.  But it still wasn't quite right.  The guava juice was good - not the white, syrupy kind typically found in Asia, but pink and more like the Hawaiian stuff (but still not quite as good). 
 
The restaurant was nicer than most Vietnamese places in Calgary (that's not saying much) and actually reminded me of my first meal ever in Europe, in a Thai/Malaysian restaurant near Piccadilly Circus in London.  Both places were up quiet side streets in areas undergoing renovations, had their bathrooms in the basement, and had similar layouts.  The only difference was that this place was pretty empty. 
 
The Asian waiter double checked with us that we were able to use chopsticks.  It's nice to be in an area where we weren't the only two Asian people around!  Three French-speaking people came in and sat next to us.  I heard them say something about Mr. Vuong's restaurant just before abruptly leaving.  That was a mistake - the food here would definitely be better! 
 
Mary Moment #63:  Mary "accidentally" went to the men's bathroom again.  All these "accidents" seem rather fishy, if you ask me.  Especially when she always takes her camera to the bathroom with her ... and the fact that she always comes back with a huge smile on her face.
 
The waiter asked us if we enjoyed everything - I told him "Yes, this was much better than the crappy stuff we had a few nights ago."  We used the internet for a bit and then went to bed.  I had trouble sleeping, so I listened to my iPod for awhile.  Preoccupied ... sigh ...
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