Subject: Berlin travelogue - Practical info
Hi all, during my two weeks in Berlin I stayed at the Berlin Mark Hotel http://www.markhotel.de/ It is well situated, in the Meinecke Str, just off the Ku´Damm. There is an Easyeverything internet cafe at the corner http://www.easyeverything.com/ , Fasanenstrasse with the Käthe Kollwitz Museum and the Cafe in Literaturhaus is nearby, and there are restaurants, cafes, a supermarket... It has a good location, with plenty of buses and a metro station. The rooms were spotless, the breakfast buffet was great. I was quite happy with it. But ... there is always a but. First of all, it doesn´t have AC (and many upscale hotels, restaurants and offices also don´t have it), and on my second week there was a heat wave. I barely could sleep, and if you open the window, the Hard Rock Cafe was in the same street and the noise was quite high until late. The hotel was booked by the Goethe Institut. The people attending the workshops were staying at the hotel, and so did the boys and girls attending the German course for young adults (18-20 years old). We had also an special price, but you can find the prices in the website.

Transport. I bought a weekly travel pass, zones 1 and 2. It allowed to travel in all the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, buses and trams (these ones are only in the east side). There is a small kiosk outside of the Zoo train station where you can buy the tickets (daily, weekly, monthly... and pay with credit card), get maps of the city... http://www.bvg.de/e_index.html It is open from 6 o´clock in the morning until 10 o´clock at night. Two interesting bus lines are the 100 and the 200. They go from the Zoo Bahnhof to Alexanderplatz and further, and travel along Postdamer Platz, Unter den Linden. Your own city tour bus for the price of a transport ticket.

Eating. I will speak only of the places I remember, because if I have forgotten the others, there must have been a reason. We ate some days at Mensas (the university canteens). I would mention the Mensa of the Preussische Landtag, just in front of the Martin-Gropius-Bau. It is open to the public from 1:30, the food is good and cheap. It is like a self-service cafeteria. Once you get through the main entrance and the tiny bookshop, one must turn to the right and go straight away thourgh the glass doors. It can come handy if you have been visiting the Postdamer Platz or Checkpoint Charlie.

Around Neuen Hackeschen Markt there are many interesting places. One of them is Lemke, a biergarten which makes its own beer. It is located under the S-Bahn, just by the Hackeschen Markt station. It is open from noon, and it offers a lunch buffet with salads and hot dishes. Not too bad. The address : Lemke Spezialitätenbrauerei, Restaurant und Biergarten Tel 030 247 287 27 / Fax 030 247 287 28 Dircksenstr, S-Bahnbogen 143 10178 Berlin Mitte am Hackeschen Markt

Also in Hackeschen Markt, just opposite the entrance to the Hackeschen H#fe, you can find the Trattoria Ossena. I ate there three times. The first time I was in a hurry, because I had to catch my train to Hamburg, and they were fast and the spaghetti with mushrooms were quite good, not bland and drowning in sauce as you can find in other places. Then the next week I went there with some friends and with people from the group, and we ate some good pizzas and salads. I liked the place, and I think that it can be recommended. Cafeteria Trattoria Pizzeria Osena Rosenthaler Str 42 10178 Berlin Mitte (am Neuen Hackeschen Markt) Tel 030 28 09 98 77 Fax 030 280 472 70

Another night, I was in quite a hurry because I had to be at the open-air theatre in Mon-Bijou-Park by 9:30 and I had missed my dinner. I stopped at the Cafe Silberstein in Oranienburger Str, and I asked the girls for something very, very quick. They specialized in sushi, but they asked if I wanted a salad with chicken breast. I said OK, and to my surprise, I got a delicious green salad with something that looked like chicken nuggets but fried tempura-style. Really great and tasty. We stayed there also a night having cocktails, and it is a lovely place. Silberstein Cafe Oranienburger str 27 10117 Berlin Tel 030 2812095

The last day we ate at an Indian restaurant, also in the Oranienburger Str (there are many of them in this district). You have to be careful, because they always serve a salad and all the naan you want, so you don´t need to order it. The portions are quite big, and they usually come with boiled rice. I had a bad time trying to choose, because I was attracted by many of the dishes. At the end I opted for a chicken korma, and a salty lassi (the yoghurt drink I felt in love when I went to India). Some of the people in the group had tandooris and currys, and they also looked quite good. Indisches Restaurant Cafe Bar INDA Oranienburger Str 65 10117 Berlin Tel 030 283 54 35 Open from 11am to 1am (weekends until 2am)

Lutter & Wegner. Most of the lunches were already included in the workshop, but we had a couple of free days. I decided that I wanted to go a bit upscale and eat in one of the many restaurants surrounding Gendarmen Markt. I decided to walk It was founded in 1811, and after the war it moved to Savignyplatz. They have reopened a couple of years ago near their original location. Good service. I had a main dish of sole with sesame seeds, jasmin rice and assorted vegetables, a glass of Grauburgunder, a bottle of one liter of water (I could have had two), and a espresso. It was expensive, 35 Euro, but having eaten fish in Germany previously, this one was beautifully done, and I got what I wanted, a fine meal with views to a wonderful square. http://www.lutter-wegner-gendarmenmarkt.de/

Cafes. There are many cafes in Berlin, maybe not so obvious as in a place like Vienna, but enough to help a coffein-addict to get by. In many places you will find espresso machines. The coffee won´t be so good as in Italy (or there are places in Spain where it isn´t too bad, if the water is good), but it will be OK. They have something called Milchkaffee. It´s a huge cup of coffee with frothy milk, not cream, delicious, just like a grown-up cappucino. Cafe Einstein was an original in the Kurfrstenstr, and now there are lots of Cafe Einstein around the city. http://www.cafeeinstein.com/ Good coffee and cakes. After the visit to the Jewish Museum we asked one of the attendants for a cafe with good cakes nearby. Not so near, but the poppyseed and pear cake was ... first, huge, and second, delicious. The place, Cafe Lebensart, in Kreuzberg. http://www.berlinfo.com/Freetime/Food-Drink/cafes/kreuzberg/

Shopping. First of all, the food department in KaDeWe is really amazing, but I didn´t find anything special in the rest of the sections. I don´t know what I was looking for, but I think that it was too german for my taste. http://www.kadewe.de/ Galleries Lafayette in Friedrichstr was more tempting and dangerous, and so were the small and sometimes quirky shops in Oranienburger Str and the area surrounding the Hackeschen H#fe http://www.hackesche-hoefe.com/ . There are some good bookshops near Savignyplatz. And of course, the usual shops you find around the world (Zara, H&M, Body Shop, you name it, you find it).

And I shouldn´t forget the chocolate : http://www.leysieffer.de The truffles are so good, but also the normal dark chocolate bars with hazelnuts, or the tiny boxes of chocolates with 25 tiny temptations inside. Amazing, and well worth a stop.

Kind regards, Covadonga Bilbao - Spain