Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 2: Shadows, Sushi, and Two Euro Ham

So Baz and I woke up at 1pm.  Sucks, but our sleep schedules are still a touch wonky, here's hoping they straighten out.  On the upside, today was Baz's birthday, so Happy Birthday Baz, welcome to the big 2-6!

Due to our shortened day, we decided to do Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial, plus a little sushi - we've been craving it for the last few weeks, but he hasn't had access since he's been in England, and I haven't had access because I'm practically a hobo.

First we headed to Brandenburg Gate, which is huge and beautiful, but unfortunately it was hard to get a good vantage point since they were setting up for some sort of concert right in front of it, so we were relegated to 45 degree angle shots.

Brandenburg Gate

Afterwards we headed down a few blocks to the Holocaust Memorial (or, as it's actually called, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) - it's basically a large stone paved square bound by streets next to the Tiergarten and gridded with large monolithic granite blocks, higher in the center than at the sides.  It's very beautiful, doesn't seem like much until you get into the middle of it, where it becomes a labyrinth of stone and shadows.

Central Area of Memorial

It's beautiful and kind of scary, with over 2,000 of these giant sturdy blocks lined up in countless rows.  Walking around it, you find other people looking for their groups, running up and down the hilly pavings, sun shining through certain directions and shadows that stretch for ages.

Low Granite Blocks

After the memorial, we decided to wander to a sushi place nearby...except we'd forgotten the address, didn't have a good map, and we don't speak German (well Baz does a little, I just count my english in a heavy butchered german accent as German).  After much wandering, and realizing that German tourist traps are just as bad and soul crushing as American ones, we somehow found it on a side street and went inside.

Ishin Japanese Deli is a decent little Japanese place, considering it's off a main tourist strip (the large number if japanese people also helped my opinion of the place).  One thing that was strange upon walking in was the overwhelming smell of fish.  That's not a good sign for a sushi joint.  We were waved in, and figured we should just sit down.  We picked out what we wanted from the menus already standing at the tables ("Happy hour" actually lasts all day on Saturdays an Wednesdays, go figure) and got us some tuna and salmon plates, with individual pieces and rolls (or "maki").  The downside? No tap water.  Not sure if this is a European thing or if it's just so they can get away with charging for a cold drink (green tea is unlimited, but our cups were never refilled), but it kinda sucked since we were thirsty as hell.  No matter, we're here for sushi!  Our plates came, and it was darned good! Very fresh, and tasty, except for one odd thing - between the sashimi and the rice, they added a dab of wasabi.  This is good if you're expecting it, and will drive you CRAZY if you're not, and can't figure out where these bursts of nose and head clearing burn are coming from.  I soldiered on though, and it was a delightful treat, especially for Baz, since he got to finish what I couldn't eat.

Courtesy of

Afterwards, full of sushi, we headed back to our humble abode.  Let me just say, Pennymarkt is AWESOME.  It's this store next to our apartment, and everything is dirt cheap, which is great when you're practically a hobo.  Soda for 34 cents?  Yes please.  Ham (good german ham) for 2 euros? Yes PLEASE.  Also: bars of good chocolate for 49 cents and full bottles of wine for 1.49?  Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Also, can I please say that Berlin's train system is awesome?  Trains practically run every 5 minutes, they're super fast and quiet, and you can fucking drink on the platforms.  I think.

Yorckstraße Station

Tomorrow looks promising - looking forward to exploring Museum Island (todays original plan, but sidetracked due to waking up five hours later than planned) as well as trying to find the cheapest most delicious food EVER.  Turkish food, here we come!

1 comment:

  1.'ve brought up some forgotten memories! Water is not free in Europe! And as a big time water drinker - that was very disconcerting to me! And in the beginning I mistakely ordered "with fizz" and that's seltzer and so "yuck". The other memory is that when I first started eating sushi...way back in the was ALWAYS served with a dab of wasabi between the rice and fish which is traditional & authentic. Also the reason why I hated sushi until I was advised I could order it without the wasabi which I did for years. I didn't even realized that they no longer automatically add the wasabi anymore until this post and I don't know when that started.
    Love the photos...the memorial is incredibly somber and effective.
    A late Happy Birthday greeting to Baz!!