Last week I had the chance to go to Berlin for work and spend a week there with colleagues from all over the world. We were staying in a conference hotel and had trainings and workshops for most of the week. Afterwards I spent the weekend with one of my colleagues at a friend’s place. There are 3 things that stuck with me the most from this fun little trip: 1. Berlin feels foreign to me, 2. conference hotel food is really sad, and 3. I had no idea how much I missed the local food.
I’m not really feeling at home in Berlin
Even though I grew up in Germany, Berlin feels totally foreign and alien to me. I grew up in a small city with 50.000 inhabitants – Berlin has 3.5 million!!! Everything is sooo big, grungy and just a melting pot of crazy people and sub-cultures. I have visited Berlin 7 times now and really like to be there, but I don’t think I could ever live in Berlin. For now I’ll stick to Amsterdam, which feels also metropolitan but also has small town charm.
Conference hotel food is plain and sad
Being in hotel has the advantage that everything is done for you. Still, I was a bit disappointed about the food that was served. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t nasty bad, but all in all just pretty bland. I guess that’s the tradeoff you make when you cater to all kinds of different tastes and needs.
Tasteless potato dishes, carelessly tossed together salads, dry chicken, greens overcooked into mush and reheated pasta. Luckily in the evening I always went out with colleagues to check out the local restaurants, rather than the hotel canteen again.
I ate a year’s worth supply of currywurst!
When you live away from your homecountry for almost ten years you start to crave some foods other people just take for granted. I had no idea how much I missed currywurst! It’s a steamed then fried pork sausage that is being served sliced, drowned in a spiced ketchup sauce and topped with curry powder. Turns out this is one of the German dishes I miss the most. So when I was in the German capital I treated myself and took pretty much every single opportunity to eat it. Luckily these opportunities arise at pretty much every street corner.
On Friday I went with friends to “Burgermeister“. An iconic burger joint that is located in an old public restroom. Some say it’s one of the best burgers in Berlin. If you are there, queue up and treat yourself to a really good burger!
Germany has a big Turkish community and the food they brought is just as good as in their home-country (sometimes maybe even better)! On a lazy Saturday we spent the morning in the sun for some Turkish brunch with Böregi (pastry filled with cheese), spiced meat, simit (Turkish bagel) and kunefe (sweet cheese coated in syrupy pieces of phyllo dough and baked in the oven). All so good and it feels like you suddenly are in the Mediterranean.
Had a great time in Berlin and the week as a good mix of work and pleasure. Can’t wait to be back soon to sample some more of the local and not so local delicacies.
Berlin, I’ll be back in the summer!
Have you’ve been to Berlin and know good places to go to? Share your thoughts and let us know in the comments below!