Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday 29 November - Telly addict

11.11pm, Watching TV. Nicky and I decided we were going to have a yummy dinner and lazy evening in front of the TV. I'd been looking forward to it all day and, when I got home, Nicky had dinner in the oven and blankets on the sofa: we were all set.

I'm a little ashamed of what happened next. Over the following six hours, we managed to watch 11 different programmes, getting up only to make cups of tea and get Gü chocolate puddings from the fridge. The programmes, rated in order of preference from best to worst were:

Mel B: It's a Scary World (wild card entry, surprisingly good)
Dating in the Dark US (was always going to be up there in the Top 5)
Britain's Naughtiest Teenagers
(can't remember its real name, but that was the premise of the programme)
The Only Way is Essex
Coronation Street
The Love Bus
Family Guy
Harry Hill's TV Burp
The Vicar of Dibley
You've Been Framed

My brain has kind of stopped working now though, so maybe I'll try to control my addiction. Although new Four Weddings starts tonight, so...

(TV image taken from Bampiro Ako)

Sunday 28 November - Back in the fold

11.11am, On my way back to London, my new part-time home. After a very hungover flight, I went to the 1st birthday party of my beautiful niece Ella. She was very cute and fun, as always; I love her to pieces and she brings lots of joy to my life.
Straight from Ella's party, I went to 'our' flat in London, where I saw Ruth, Nicky and Jack. It's Ruthy Ley's birthday today and we had an amaaaaazing Harrod's dinner of cheeses, meats, bread, olives, artichokes and champagne. It's a ruddy good life!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday 27 November - The last hurrah

11.11pm, Dancing in Friedrichshain for Susann's birthday! My super Sus is the big 3-0 on Wednesday and she sure knows how to throw a party to celebrate. It was the perfect last evening of Berlin.

Because yes, as of tomorrow, I will no longer live in Berlin. Due to various reasons (end of flat lease, friends leaving, mine and Andy's employment prospects), Andy and I have decided not to come back to Berlin after this two-week stint in London. Instead, I am going home for the Christmas holidays (10th Dec-4th Jan - it's like being a student again!), where Andy will join me for his third Cornish Christmas.

Then after the next two-week London stint, I will pop over to Austria, where Andy is moving to for the winter season. His photography has been really taking off, especially the snow stuff, so he's decided to immerse himself in the season properly. I'm so excited for us as Kitzbühel, Austria, is a beautiful place with awesome people, and I love new adventures. We may return to Berlin but, for the moment, this is the beginning of The Austrian Chapter.

However, last night, as I looked around the room at the people I'm lucky enough to love and call my friends, I realised quite how much I am going to miss Berlin and its inhabitants: My dream girls, Eri and Emma; Anna Lena, my gorgeous guru; Alex, beautiful in person and spirit; Keno "You're so beautiful" Wins; Meg, my American dream; and Susann, my one and only.

There's so much I could say about the summer, the autumn, the winter, the apartment, the glühwein, the sausages, the snow, the sunshine, the parks, the leaves, the shops, the words, the customs, the streets, the breakfasts, the fashion, the prices, the lakes, the history, the bars, the beer, the bikes, the adventures. But I guess what it all comes down to is that I love Berlin. x

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday 26 November - Schnee schnee schnee!

11.11am, Taking photos of the snow outside! Now I feel like my excitement over the first snow was a little premature. When we woke up this morning, we discovered it had snowed overnight and everything was white! The snow hasn't stopped yet; in fact, I think it's getting heavier! The perfect day to curl up with hot chocolate.

Thursday 25 November - Lazy bones

11.11am, Fast asleep, until 1pm in fact! Who knew parental visits could be so tiring?! We had quite a late night last night by the time we finally got back from Jannowitzbrücke and, although we had ten million and one things to do, sleep appeared to win. I feel much more refreshed now, but also super stressed as there's SO much stuff to do before I go to London this time, on Sunday. I'm going home for Christmas straight from London, then will be back up for more work in the new year, so I'll be away for at least six weeks. But as we have to move out of our apartment, I don't know where I'll be coming back to. So we both have a lot of packing, organising, cleaning and loose-end-tying to do. As well as spending time with our awesome friends! I know it'll all get done, though I guess maybe getting out of bed earlier might help...

Wednesday 24 November - The first snow

11.11pm, Having dinner with Susann and Anna Lena at Altes Europa, a smoky gem of a bar/restaurant with amazing food (yet again, I'm being spoilt) and even better cocktails. Sus was taking us out for our birthdays and the three of us had such a perfect night; girlie chats like tonight's are one of the reasons I am so glad to be a girl. On the way home from our dream dinner/drinks, I stopped off at Jannowitzbrücke, where Andy was at an album launch of some friends. I had a drink and a dance and spent some time meeting new people and holding up friends (literally holding them up, as they were falling asleep on the dancefloor).

Earlier in the day, I'd been to Sachsenhausen concentration camp with Mum, Dad and Andy. I'd been before with Lee in the summer but it was a complete contrast to this time, where it was so bitterly cold and grey, and made it seem all the more awful.

Mum and Dad went home tonight (I packed them off on the bus to the airport, then realised it was going in the wrong direction – they got there ok though). I feel a bit sad they've gone, but so so happy they managed to come to visit before we leave here (at the end of the week, eek!). They got to see our beautiful flat, they treated us time and time again, they saw the best and worst of Berlin weather (mostly worst, although today it snowed for the first time this winter!) and they were an absolute pleasure to have stay. I love them both to pieces.

Tuesday 23 November - Walks, talks and forks

11.11pm, Eating one of the nicest meals I've ever had. Mum and Dad took Andy and I out for dinner to Kuchen Kaiser, a traditional German restaurant that encompasses all that is good about Germany. We were very Deutsch; Mum has sauerkraut, Dad and Andy had schnitzel and I had dumplings. They were amazing and served with a casserole of the most tender beef I have ever eaten and a delicious sauce. Mmmmm. Dessert was apple strudel with custard... and melon, weirdly.

We'd worked up a good appetite during the day with a vigorous walk around Schlachtensee (my favourite place in Berlin). It was a bit of a shock being there just as the weather is turning wintery, after the last time was such a beautiful display of autumn colours. It was still pretty awesome though; I love that this place exists in Berlin... And I love that my ace parents are getting to see one of the cities I love most in the world.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday 22 November - Sleigh bells ring...

11.11pm, Sharing the last drop of wine with Mum and Dad after a busy, wonderful day of exploring. We headed into Alexanderplatz (in the centre of Berlin) first, where the Christmas markets had opened... Mum ate her first bratwurst ("The best sausage I've ever tasted!") and Andy and I ate a snowball (made of biscuit). Being at the Christmas markets encompasses so many of the reasons as to why I love both Berlin and Christmas: sausages, Glühwein (mulled wine), twinkling lights, wooden decorations, gingerbread treats and the real excitement of the fast-approaching festive season.

Considering I've been counting down to these markets since October, I was pretty excited. Also, my mum has a pretty similar personality to me, so we were both in enthusiasm overload.

After a ridiculously tasty Vietnamese lunch (Mum: "This is the best soup I've ever tasted!"), we headed over to the West, where there were even better Christmas markets. Mum bought tree decorations, Andy and I had Glühwein, Dad happily doled out the money for us to spend and I bathed in the joy of so many of my favourite things and people in one place.

Sunday 21 November - Perfect parents!

11.11am, On the way back from the airport... with my parents! They have come to stay for four days and it is so exciting to see them and show them off to this beautiful city and vice versa. After taking them back to our apartment to refuel with sausages (got to show them the real Berlin!), we went our very own sightseeing tour in the sunshine. Starting at the East Side Gallery (a 1.3km-long painted section of the Berlin Wall), we went to Unter den Linden to see the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the very-evocative Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Time for another pitstop, where we indulged ourselves with Baileys lattes and chocolate brownies before heading home for a yummy dinner, wine, chats and an early night.

Saturday 20 November - Drinks aplenty

11.11pm, In one of many bars with Meg. We started out on Oranienstrasse at Luzia, one of my favourite bars in Berlin, then wrapped up warm to cross the road to Santa Maria for Mexican food and mojitos. Next was Hannibal, where I've cycled past many times and admired the extensive cocktail menu. Karsten (Megan's boyfriend) joined us there, along with lots of his friends, and we planned our next move: Ä bar in Neukölln. Some other friends were there celebrating the birthday of an Irish friend, Louise, so we obliged and cheersed our beers. Louise and her boyfriend Gar were having a double celebration as they'd got engaged that day! Wooiiee!
What a fun Saturday night, just how they should be.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday 19 November - Getting our money's worth

11.11pm, In the cinema with Eri and Em.
It's a bit of a story. Get comfortable and I shall begin...
I went to theirs earlier in the evening for some delicious home-made soup, which was perfect for such a frosty evening. We undid the knots on our tie-dyed clothes and, I have to save, were pretty happy with the results! Mine's the brown vest top in the bottom right-hand corner... and check Eri's two-tone t-shirt out (blue and brown; middle) – the girl's got skills!

We'd decided to have a cinema night (something we hadn't done together since getting to Berlin) instead of going out, so we went via the Christmas markets at Potsdamer Platz. They were beautiful and festive and smelt amazing, but we didn't have much time to stop. Onwards and upwards to the cinema, where we settled down to watch Somewhere, the new Sofia Coppola movie. It's had pretty good reviews but, to be honest, I found it way too slow-paced. It was like they had cast the right people, found amazing locations, but forgot to add in a storyline; nothing actually happened in the whole film. The main highlight was opening the champagne we'd brought in with us. Yes, of all the drinks to sneak in, we had to bring the one that 'popped' when it was opened. Luckily Eri chose a noisy helicopter scene to pop the cork, so we weren't rumbled.

Anyway, we were left feeling a little disgruntled and like our cinema experience hadn't lived up to our expectations after the lacklustre film. So we decided to see another film... We were already in the cinema complex, after all, and our tickets weren't exactly cheap, so why not get our money's worth?

The only problem was that there was no indication of what film was showing in each of the eight screens. Cue lots of furtive glances and sneaky opening of doors. In 15 minutes we learnt this: completely closed doors means the film has been on for a while; open doors means the film is starting soon; Harry Potter was showing on four of the eight screens (not a film we wanted to watch).

We finally found a screen that seemed promising; the trailers were on, it was pretty full and we found seats. The the movie started... Harry Potter. Aaarrgghhh! We left pronto and were almost ready to give up on our stealth mission, allowing ourselves one more attempt. Screen Four. Due date was about to start, so we snuggled down, sipped on our champagne and watch our second movie of the night. It was pretty funny, kind of like a poor man's The Hangover.

4 hours and 45 minutes after arriving at the cinema, we left, full of champagne, popcorn and glee.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday 18 November - Getting personal

11.11am, Driving back from our trip to Rügen (it was a whistlestop holiday, as we have soooo much to do before leaving Berlin next weekend). We set our alarms for 6am this morning (the snooze button quickly got pressed) but still managed an early start. We headed back to the beach in the daylight (still amazingly blustery – but look! The sea!) and then warmed up with coffee and croissants and cakes in a little bakery. At exactly 11.11am (as seen on the car clock!), we were about two-thirds of the way home, listening to a song by Stars on repeat. It's called Personal, and it was introduced to me by my friend Ruth. The lyrics are gorgeous and sad, and I just recently found a clip someone has put together of film clips with the song over the top. It's really beautiful; I especially love the clips at 1 min 20 and 2 min 30... Does anyone know what the films are?