Baby takes Amsterdam

We finally took our first outside-of-Germany trip. It only took us six months to agree to a city and book the tickets.

The flight from (the soon to be defunct) Tegel to Schipol is only an hour and fifteen minutes. There was barely enough time to get bored, and I didn’t even have to take out the army of stickers and crayons that I packed. We flew KLM and since S is still under two, she could sit on our laps with a special seatbelt extension provided by the airline.

The plane was so exciting, that she was out cold by the time we finally reached the city.

schlaffy, schlaffy

Everytime – absolutely without fail – we go somewhere she falls asleep just as we get to our destination. It gives us a moment to get our bearings, take a few pictures. I’m going to be really sad when she stops doing that.

We stayed at the NH Museum Quarter. It was a basic hotel, for good or bad. I don’t think I would stay there again, but I’m glad we did this time. The tram stops just around the corner and we could walk to the major museums as well as the Albert Cuypstraat market. The staff were friendly and they even gave us extra perfume-free bath products for the baby.

view from the hotel

Shoshana spent a lot of time in her stroller on this trip. Before we arriving, I was terrified that she would fall into a canal, but once we got there, I realized I should be more afraid of her getting run over by the bikes! In some places the sidewalks can be very narrow, and even though there is a bike lane, you still have to wind your way around the parked ones. Our compromise was to let her out in every museum. One of us would chase walk with her, while the other got a closer look. This worked everywhere but the Rijksmuseum, where S was totally unimpressed with the Vermeers.

Also, we were not above buying her good will with raisins. Many, many raisins.

Some baby-friendly restaurants:

Pancakes! – Berenstraat 38 (Western Canal Belt). This places is tiny, so fold up the stroller or leave it outside. Get the apple pancake with calvados and give yourself an excuse to not share with your kid!

Bazar – Albert Cuypstraat 138 (de Pijp) Bazar was a short walk from our hotel and we liked it so much we went twice. The restaurant is huge and loud and there are twinkle lights on the ceiling. Your kid could have a pretty major meltdown in here and no one would notice.

Burgermeester – Albert Cuypstraat 48 (de Pijp) as well as 3 other locations. I have three words for you: Red Lentil Burger. Yum.

baby reads “Berlin Wimmelbuch: Ausbruch aus dem Zoo” by Judith Drews

This adorable Wimmelbuch or look-and-find book was one of S’s Chanukah presents. She loves pointing out all of the animals and one day it will be a fun reminder of our time in Berlin.

There must be some licensing laws that I’m not familiar with, because all of the famous places in the book are mis-spelled. The Hotel Adlon is the Arlon, Konnopke Imbiss is Kannapke, Berlinale becomes Bärenale. Its a little thing, but once I noticed it, I could not stop staring at it. Just one of those things.

I have tons to write about. I just didn’t feel like it for a while, a sort of blogger’s boredom. Now that we’ve gotten through January, though, I feel a bit more like sharing. So, here’s to February and hopefully more writing!

dinner at sarod’s thai restaurant

We’ve been going out a lot during the day, trying to make the most out of our Jahreskarten PLUS (year passes to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s museum or much more simply auf Deutsch – die Staatliche Museen zu Berlin). We’re only three more visits away from breaking even, but after going to the Bode Museum, Jewish Museum (not part of the Staatliche Museen), and then today the Pergamonmuseum – all within just a day or two of each other – I think we need a little break. Furthermore, I think this break should take the form of eating out more.

We had just spent the afternoon running around a museum with a toddler, which is possibly more exhausting than running around with toddlers in other locations, simply because one is surrounded by very interesting things without the ability to pause a moment to take them in or even take a cursory glance at the description. The mountain of dishes in the sink was just to much to even think about. We just wanted to sit down, maybe even quietly, and if there should be eating during this quiet sitting all the better.

This is just a very long way of saying we ate at Sarod’s Thai Restaurant tonight, and it was good.  Really good, not just good for Berlin good. Good for other places good. Anyone who has ever eaten in a restaurant in Berlin that serves anything other than German or (what my husband and I refer to as) Ger’talian, will understand what I mean. But I’m not trying to write a food blog. On top of the delicious and light meal we had, Sarod’s is also a pretty good place to take a kid and, lucky for me, I have one that loves Thai food.

We started her off with chicken satay, an obvious kid-favorite, but once she realized that it was on a stick (I had been pulling it off for her) and that it came with paint a sauce, it became more an object contemplation. She didn’t eat very much of it, but at least it kept her busy for a while. The real star was the phad thai. There almost wasn’t enough for the two of us.

phad thai gai

It gets better –  my husband ordered phad kee mao and it were real peppers in it! That you could taste! Its a Berlin miracle.

Sarod’s Thai

Friesenstr. 22, U7 Gneisenausstr.

Berlin-Kreuzberg

a visit to hasenheide

Last week the baby and I took some great advice and went down to Hasenheide, a park in Neukölln. The zoo came particularly recommended and since telling Shoshana that she’s going to see animals (“ani-muh, ani-muh, ani-muh!)  is the easiest way to get her out the door, off we went.

It was a little tricky finding the entrance to the zoo, because its under renovations. Eventually we found our way to some goats.

Shoshana wasn’t sure how she felt about them.

Although, she did blow kisses to the deer.

Interestingly, there were some very graphic signs asking visitors to not feed the animals.

Do you see that poor little deer? Of course, there are signs like this in US zoos, but they don’t mention what might happen to the animals if someone were to feed them and most adults will just say that the animal will get sick and you don’t want to make the animal’s tummy hurt, do you? Even more blunt was this one near the ponies.

“Why did you feed me to death?” asks poor, dead little Schneemann.

Shoshana was too busy and too young to notice the signs. Plus, Hasenheide has some great hills and wide paths perfect for running.

and running and running and running.

Volkspark Hasenheide

U-Bahn: Hermannplatz

Entrances on Hasenheide, Columbiadamm and Fontanestrasse

new shoes

Finally

.

As the weather has started to turn colder and colder, I’ve been getting not only judgemental looks, but sometimes, outright rude comments on how I dress my child. No, not just comments. Women stop me in the street to explain to me just how wrong I am to let my daughter out of the house wearing nothing but socks and sneakers on her feet. The outrage these women have felt! The absolute need to tell me how neglectful and horrible I am! Maybe these women should come over and try to get Shoshana to wear something more substantial (although, its been in the 40*F, so its not exactly like she’s suffering). I would like to see someone else try to stuff her into her coat, keep her hat on her head, and wrestle over her socks.

Well no more.

We finally found boots that she’ll wear – as long as we call them shoes.

a “burr-burr”

I’ve been looking for something to keep my wedding/engagement rings since we got here. Something inexpensive, something of a souvenir, but not terribly fragile. Then I saw this post on ohjoy! and knew I had my answer.

Too bad somebody else loves it more than I could ever imagine.

She calls it her “Burr-Burr.” I guess I’ll have to keep looking.

DDR egg cup purchased at Berlin Story on Unter den Linden.

domäne dahlem

We took our little Berlinerin to a farm – Domäne Dahlem – last weekend for a little fresh air. As you can see she wasn’t quite sure what to do.

Then we found some potatoes and she started to warm up to it.

Although she wasn’t so sure about the pig.

The goat, however, was a big hit. She even gave him a blade of grass which he obligingly nibbled from her hand.

By the end of the trip, which also included a balloon and an enormous fresh waffle, we didn’t want to go.  It was ErnteFest, though, so we told ourselves we would come back when it was quieter and we could enjoy it even more.   Plus, the many people eating VERY VERY FRESH tartar and horse wurst were starting to make me sick.

Domäne Dahlem (website only in German) is located in Dahlem-Dorf. Just take the U3 to, you guessed it, Dahlem-Dorf. You can see the entrance to the museum and farm or freilichtmuseum auf deutsch from the overly-precious and disappointedly fake thatched roof entrance to the U-bahn. Seriously. I think they built it in 1981.

Kleiner Jumbo, Große Mama

Sometime last month I mentioned something about weekly book posts, yes? I must have forgotten that I have a toddler, a toddler who thinks the computer is for watching Elmo and puppy videos on YouTube.

We do manage to read in between the puppy videos.We just don’t always manage to blog about it.

Kleiner Jumbo, Große Mama by Yasushi Muraki was the first book I bought for Shoshana in Berlin. There are two “Ellas” on the cover – how could I pass it up? The story follows a little elephant and his mama through a typical elephantine day eating “saftiges Gras” and shooting water through their trunks, while demonstrating a mother’s love.

my favorite page

 

The best thing about it – other than the illustrations – is that it is the only book that Shoshana consistently lets me read to her auf Deutsch.

Zoo Berlin

As you can see, we bought a family pass to the Berlin Zoo. We love it, love it! That’s saying a lot from someone who up until this past August had a family pass to the San Diego Zoo.

Of course, I don’t want to knock the SDZoo. Its wonderful and its huge and does amazing work for animals, but its huge. There is a constant crush of people and mutant busses to dodge. Have you ever tried to get through the Lost Forest? Seriously? I still get frustrated by that place and I’ve only been to that part of the zoo once even with the membership.

The Berlin Zoo is teeny by comparison and its more fun to wander. Its also the oldest zoo in Germany.

Come back Hippo!

There isn’t the same rush as in larger zoos, which makes it more relaxing and less of an exercise is driving me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love zoos, but there is nothing I hate more than the crowding around an animal that has ventured to role over.

The lions, which Shoshana would like you to know say “ROAR,” were maybe a little overwhelming. We got to the big cat house right before lunch time. These guys were hungry and I had the distinct feeling they did not like all of the delicious smelling people standing around. Since this visit, we tend to go in the morning when they are still sleeping and look almost more cute then terrifying.

There is also a huge playground and petting zoo. We haven’t actually been to the petting, because, well, what if she pets a goat and then sticks her hand in her mouth and gets some kind of weird goat disease? such a weird goat disease that it gets named the Shoshana-Weird-Goat Disease? And people all over the wordl will know her name as that poor child suffering from touching a goat. Yeah, let’s not go there. My head is spinning already.

Zoo Berlin is open everyday (except christmas) at 9:00 and closes at 5:00pm in the winter, 7:00pm in the summer.