The Festival of Lights

This little light of mine…

So we went on the last day of the Festival of Lights (Sunday), which is why I didn’t write this post up earlier. Basically, you missed it already, so here are the highlights kind of thing…

They lit up famous buildings all over Berlin for a couple of weeks and we went to have a little look too. My favourite was the Brandenburger Tor, on which they beamed a 10 minute show of fun things. There was a colourful gate, a whole “making of” – when they showed how each stone was set to make the gate, an “I LOVE BERLIN” gate and even a gate bursting with fireworks. The last photo shows the Potdamer Platz area all lit up too. Next year we shall do it on bicycles, because there was a train strike and town was busy, so we only did a few of the sights this time. We will give you more notice for the next show I promise :)

photo 1 (2)photo 4photo 3photo 3 (1)photo (3)

Share Button

The unexpected cheesecake…

It’s been a while…

We haven’t updated you with our latest cheesecake findings in Berlin for some time – and this will change right now ;)

We have often popped into Engels for brunch or a quick beer and a catch up with local friends, but this is the first time we tried their cake. It wasn’t the most perfect of experiences. Two German ladies cut in the queue in front of us. It annoyed me no end, but there is only a tiny window of opportunity in which you can reprimand them and we didn’t jump at it. So they ordered before us.

I had decided to get the cheesecake with a layer of something red on the top. I’m guessing a berry jelly layer of some kind. It looked amazing. There was three-quarters of it left, so I wasn’t worried about it running out. Then the pushing-in ladies had their turn. Four of the slices of my cake were cut and placed into a bag as a take away. I was a little worried, but there were still two big slices left. Surely they didn’t want those? Well, you guessed it, they then ordered the last two slices for themselves to sit and eat them in the restaurant. I was fuming. In my rage, I didn’t want them to have my cake and eat it as well, so instead, I chose the next best thing to revenge: a different cheesecake. And I have to say, it was absolutely heavenly. Much better than the other one could have been. Karma strikes again – my cake was vastly superior – in a completely different class to the plain one they stole from me!

Just look at it:

photo 1 (1)

Literally, can you see the tastiness? It was so thick but light at the same time. The blueberries were tangy enough to make my face scrunch up together, but the shavings of white chocolate blended so well with the creamy middle and hard biscuit bottom that this place has gone right up in my cheesecake list. It’s not quite Barcumis, but it is a very close second.

And just because I can, here is that photo once more:photo 1 (1)

Cafe Engels: Herrfurthstraße 21, 12049 Berlin


Share Button

Going to the doctor in Germany

Doctor Doctor I feel like a pair of curtains…
Well pull yourself together then!

Following on from yesterday’s post all about my constant allergies and getting ill all the time, I thought it might be interesting for me to tell you all about my experiences of going to the doctors here in Germany.

It’s hard for me to compare the experience with England, as I have never visited my GP (doctor) in London for a cold before. I had the pleasure once in Japan and once was enough (I will save that story for another time). Up until now my jobs have always involved sitting down. So even when I’m not feeling up to it, I shoved myself into the packed tube and sat at my desk feeling sorry for myself, but not really struggling too much. However, working at UNIQLO it’s impossible if you feel really rough. All day you have to run around and standing for more than eight hours is painful. Add to that the constant questions from customers and rushing around the shop-floor and it’s a recipe for disaster.

So, the first time I felt absolutely horrendous I needed a doctor. In Germany, you legally have to sign up for health insurance when you arrive and plan on getting a job. It’s expensive. I am with TK and I pay 300 euros a month. YUP – it’s a lot of money. So when I felt like death, I thought it was time to get something from all the money I pay out to the TK and see what the service is like. One word: Amazing! It’s different to the UK, in that you don’t have an assigned General Practitioner who you go to for problems. You can choose any doctor in the country. You can put your postcode into a website and it comes up with local doctors and their specialities. You can also refine your search to find doctors who speak English etc if required. Many places come with reviews by patients and I basically just picked the place closest to home that was open. Interestingly, they are scattered all over the place. There must be about 10 different practices within a 500 meter radius of our place. They are often just inside huge houses that have been converted into flats – so three rooms will be for the doctor or dentist and then the rest of the flats will be occupied by residents.

I have to admit, the main reason I went to the doctor was to get a sick note. I have never needed one before, as I just plodded along to work and hoped no one would talk to me. But that’s not possible at UNIQLO, so I needed to get that sheet of paper and quickly. It took less than twenty minutes from walking into the door to leaving. I read online that when you walk into a doctor’s waiting room, it is custom to greet the other people waiting in the room with you. A quick “Guten Morgen” will suffice. Very different from back in London, where you would pick the chair furthest away from anyone sick and avert your eyes.

The lady who saw me was very pleasant and interestingly asked me to speak at a 90 degree angle away from her, so my germs wouldn’t be directed at her when I spoke. Then she told me she doesn’t believe in medicines and gave me a load of herbs. I even got some blood taken. It was quick and painless and after a five minute chat, I was done. I took my three tiny herb tablets and she sent me on my way with my sick note in my hand. Let’s just say the herbs didn’t do much and I was ill for many more days.

Then a few weeks ago I got double illness added to crazy allergies and was totally wiped out. I picked a doctor even closer to home, after trying and failing to find a doctor in the area who was open on a Saturday or Sunday. This lady got straight down to business. I had to remove my top and she prodded and poked and listened to my lungs and in the end I received 5 different drugs all relating to allergies. I don’t even know if she knew I was sick. Haha. Anyway, I got my sick note and a whole load of medicine that is still sitting in the cupboard unopened, but the best thing was that she has recommended an allergy doctor to me and I shall be going next week to find out hopefully what I’m allergic to. Quite exciting times over here… ;)

Share Button

Being Sick in Germany

Call me Dr Jones…

Yes. I did just refer to an Aqua song, but it’s a great song. So there.

Now, most of you know I seem to get sick all the time. Half of my life in London I seem to either have a cold or be getting over one. I know it’s not normal, but when you have always been sniffling, you just kind of get used to it. I have to say though interestingly, that in Berlin, I am sick a lot less. However, a few weeks ago, it happened yet again. I felt the sore throat and – lo and behold – the tickling in the throat became a cough, accompanied by sniffles that quickly developed into a tissue-needing frenzy. Headache came to join the party and by the end of the day I was knocked out and exhausted in bed. Typically, all this happened on my day off.

photo (1)The next day I had some friends from France visit with their lovely little boy. I was so sick I couldn’t spend a single day with them, showing them my city and I still feel bad about it. On their second day with us, my allergies went so crazy I was taking my asthma inhaler, which hadn’t been used in years. And then their little boy started sneezing with a whole new sickness, which he kindly passed on to me.

So in one week I had allergies and two different colds. I could barely remember my name I was so ill and my friend said to me: “it’s not normal to be this sick all the time”. Even though I know this and always have, it made me go to the doctor to finally figure out at least what I am allergic to. I have an appointment with the allergist (allergy doctor?) next week and I can’t wait. I guess I’m just hoping it’s not chocolate or curry, cheese or bread. Otherwise I shall just have to keep on being sick, as I don’t think I can survive without any of those.

Wish me luck!

Share Button

Korean Street Food in Berlin

Gangnam Style…

Yup – there is a fabulous event in Berlin at Platoon Kunsthalle where you can eat Korean Street Food and we went to check it out last night. You get a feel of how fun the street food culture in Korea is. They have a few small stalls selling some Korean dishes and you sit on little plastic chairs around a low table.

photo 1It was definitely a fun evening, but I have to say the food was very disappointing. We got a Bibimbap and a Kimchi Taco for ten euros, pretty pricy as the portions were small. Now, I have been to Korea and I have to say I was surprised there was any food left when I got on my flight home as I felt like I had eaten everything in the whole country. Korea is DELICIOUS. Their kimchi has such a different flavour in the actual country. I remember buying so much of it at the airport when I left and I actually felt sad when it had all been eaten. Kimchi is always something good, but in Korea it is something amazing.

Not so at the Kunsthalle though. The Bibimbap had no flavour at all. I mean nothing. And the Kimchi Taco didn’t even come with kimchi. Jason even went back and complained (he is becoming more German by the day – I love it!!) and he was told they didn’t have any kimchi left. Why they would not tell their customers that, or why they would leave KIMCHI Taco on their display board as an option is beyond me. Disappointing muchly.

photo 2However the Soju alcohol was delicious and everyone else’s meals seems to go down well. The atmosphere is really fun, young and lively and there are lots of Koreans enjoying it too. The K-Pop music is blaring out and you can even do some Karaoke. It’s a good giggle and well worth the two euro entrance fee. It’s on again next Friday – so check it out. Just make sure they have kimchi at the stall you buy your food at. Otherwise you will end up going for a kebab like me… ahem…


Share Button