Tuesday, June 24, 2008


..., bottled water, is expensive in Berlin. Perhaps in the whole Germany as well. Left one (below) at 3€ for 0.5l at a Reichstag dome's kiosk and right one (below) at 5€ for 1l at Zur Letzten Instanz.

Be careful when asking for water, if you really want normal one - without bubbles - then make sure to ask for still water else they will give you the default sparkling water. And still water is sometimes not as still as elsewhere. Above right, for example, comes into the category of still water for Germans.
Soft drinks and beers are usually at the same price. Another reason why we do not see many people buying water along with their currywurst.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Zur Letzten Instanz

Last Friday morning - Main program of the day is the Swan Lake ballet at Deutsche Oper in Charlottenburg quarter, in children version - the reason why my husband agreed to go while minimizing the risk of getting bored during the short performance - an hour instead of the usual 3 hours.

Once out, we decided to reward his superhuman effort of watching a ballet-for-children by a nice lunch at Zur Letzten Instanz, a very old restaurant established in 1621 in a quiet corner next by an old church in the Alexander Platz quarter. This restaurant is promoted in most tourist guide books as the legendary Berlin restaurant where grand figures such as Napoleon and Beethoven dined when passing by. Even French former president, Jacques Chirac, known as a great gourmet, picked the restaurant out of thousands others in Berlin. We were naturally prepared for an awful bill and minimal service. Since this is supposed to be a reward I said to myself that I was being reasonable, right?

Zur Letzen Instanz serves refined traditional home-cooking in a traditional cosy setting. We fell in love with the atmosphere the minute we came in. I tried out their dish of the day - a very tender and juicy lamb meat accompanied by gnocchis, mushrooms, and sautéed young asparagus, all napped in a delicious brown sauce - while my husband chose boulettes - Berlin local speciality - accompanied by mixed vegetables and pan-fry potatoes. Be careful, their portion is quite big, so better go here when you are really hungry. Verdict: we love the food, it was very delicious! For my husband who is fond of good home food, he was literally in heaven.

Our waitress was fast, nice, and polite but no chit chatting like the usual Parisian waitresses we are used to. This efficient manner of working must be typically German, I guess.

Then the bill. This restaurant is a good bargain for the quality - neither expensive nor cheap - according to our Parisian standard. Food is even quite cheap but water is awfully expensive - almost the same price we normally pay in a middle-level restaurant in Paris such as Ladurée.

In conclusion, this restaurant is an absolute place to eat while in Berlin. The only minor note is the difficulty to get a table when you want to dine in which case you have to reserve at least two weeks in advance. Take a lunch instead on weekdays, like us, and you do not need any reservations.


Nefertiti versus German football

We took advantage of German museums' free-for-all hours last Thursday evening to visit Berlin's Altes Museum and have a glimpse of the beautiful Nefertiti, 35-century old. That same evening German football team were having their quarter-final match.

Luckily for me, I could admire Nefertiti almost in private and take such a rare picture without crowd during a free visit!

im Deutschland

Four days in Berlin.

I imagined Berlin as a grand chic city in a sort of avant-gardist way but it turns out to be a lot more human than what I thought. There is the uptown Berlin and the popular Berlin but this has nothing to do nowadays with the Berlin wall. Some parts of East Berlin has even become more expensive than the West side.

We enjoyed so much our four days visiting the city from the magnificent Grecian Brandenburg Gate to the modern architecture of Sony Center in Potsdam Platz. On the artistic side, Berlin has it all: from ancient Greek's Nefertiti to East Side Gallery's tag-paintings, from Opera's ballet to the hip-hop street dancing performed in the popular quarters of the city. I confirm, this is a complete city.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Glooby the traveller

We have just adopted our traveller pinguin and we named him - I think it is a him - Glooby. He will make a great companion in our voyages since we have planned to make the most of our no-baby period by travelling as much as we can.

Travel routes can be traced on Glooby's passport.