Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TallyHo-Traveller’s Springtime Gallop Through Northern and Central Europe 2012 - Day Nine

Easter Monday, April 9th, dawned with a late wake up call. Downstairs, we checked out the hotel breakfast buffet;it was just as impressive as the previous ones. So much to choose from and very filling. This particular buffet has multiple juice options and over by the juice bar I spied some type of red dessert-like wine. Taking a small glass for all at our table to sample, I was very surprised by the agreeable taste (apparently for Italian breakfast palates) – even Nana said it didn’t taste too bad.

After a very leisurely breakfast we strolled across the small park again to the train station in anticipation of finding a cathedral to view (which was one of Nana’s 2 requested viewings; Schloss Marienburg was the other one). Off the train at Alexanderplatz we viewed a holiday street fair complete with adorable miniature houses and booths (as envisioned in my mind’s eye). We then walked past the famous Fernsehturm TV tower, through a small park and by a huge fountain that included a humongous statue of Neptune (Neptunbrunnen) to St Marienkirche. Inside the church, tall arched ceilings led toward a nave of darker wood carvings topped with a most unusual crown of many antlers. Turning to face the back of the sanctuary, the upper ornately (gold) gilded balcony held the most impressive pipe organ I had ever seen.

West on Karl Lieb Strasse we peeked in at the Berliner Dom, but did not enter since church services were in session. Then we stepped across the street for a photo opp in front of the fountain in the Lustgarten. Still heading west past the Lustgarten, we crossed a bridge over the River Spree (which divides Berlin in half, rather like the River Liffey does in Dublin). We saw another holiday street art fair which we cruised through that contained many interesting styles of paintings, homemade hats, fantastic stained glass pieces (that would not survived transport but I got a business card anyway), murano style old fashioned ink pens and more. I managed to bargain for a funky cat painting on canvas for Chris and a colorful cityscape lithograph for Kaitlin as their Easter gifts/souvenirs.

Winding past the Opera House and through the Humboldt University campus past the Hotel Roma, (loved the Rolls parked in front of the hotel) we made our way to the Gendarmenmarkt plaza and marveled at the architecture of the two churches on the plaza. Just then the camera decided to squirt out of my gloves and land on the concrete sidewalk (Sorry). Checking it over, the camera was still operational, so I dodged a bullet with that mishap since it was not my camera. After looking around the plaza, Kaitlin, Nana and I decided to look in a lace shop just across the street. Inside the shop were many beautiful table items, blouses and ornaments constructed of lace and all made in Germany. The opposite side of the shop housed delicate wood carvings of all types;we debated whether they would survive the return trip to the States. In the end, we opted to buy only a lovely delicate lace table runner, knowing that it would survive the trip back home.
Meeting up with the guys back at the plaza, it was time for lunch.

Walking southwest across the plaza, we spied a chocolate shop that Martin had recommended that displayed massive chocolate sculptures of famous German landmarks in the various windows fronting the street. Knowing we had to go inside after finding a spot for lunch, we walked a few blocks on Mohrenstrasse past Friedrichstrasse and found Izimi, a sushi restaurant. The sushi was very fresh and flavorful, the miso soup quite delightful and the plum wine very potent. The green tea ice cream was appreciated by everyone also.

We then walked back to the chocolate shop, Fassbender and Rausch, and went in. Business was brisk due to the holiday. There was an impressive, intricate display of a large Easter egg just inside the entrance door for all to appreciate, but not eat (or touch as the sign said). Chocolate from every country and in every shape and size was displayed inside this shop. Randy and Nana went to the specialty truffle counter (very long with many different flavor combinations) to select a few pieces. I was presented with a chocolate bunny impulse buy by Randy and Kaitlin after their checkout of some souvenirs. I have yet to find the right occasion in which to first bite its ears off (the only proper way to begin to eat a chocolate Easter bunny) – maybe Mother’s Day (or not). I’ll let you know when it happens, so stay tuned.

Back on the S1 to the Feurbachstrasse area for some down time then on to the Alt Berliner on Ku’damm (there’s another location on Unter den Linden too) for dinner (because sushi is great but doesn’t stick around that long). I started my meal with a Bailey’s coffee and it was just that – more Baileys than coffee – YUM!! Other foods sampled included beef goulash soup (not as peppery as the Angleterre Hotel’s), a flavorful currywurst (Randy’s fave), farmer’s omelette (more potato than egg) and a humongous plate of German style nachos with 3 types of dipping sauces (none of which were guacamole). The nachos had an unusual taste like a lightly fried, puffy Doritos. A leisurely train ride on the S1 after dinner brought us back to the Holiday Inn Mitte and an early night turn in.

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