I don’t know how to start this post except to say that the difficulties mounted this week. Olivia passed away.

You may remember the posts I wrote about my sweet little cavalier, and how worried I was about importing her. About two months before we moved she began to get sick, but our vet assured us that it was only a food intolerance and that she was fine. She wasn’t. Our vet here eventually diagnosed her with congenital renal failure. Our puppy barely had any kidneys at all.

She’s been gone one very lonely week.

And then we had visitors. Welcome visitors, wanted visitors, but such a low low followed by running around the city was too much for me. Yesterday I stayed in my pyjamas, watched Gilmore Girls, and cried while stuffing Cheezits (a well-timed present from our visitors) in my mouth. It was cathartic. Today I got dressed, went out for coffee, and watched Gilmore Girls. Progress.

There are still fun things for me to cover and some new trips in the future (Rome! Bavaria!), but for now I think I’ll do a little wallowing, maybe have a junk food binge, and finish Season 2.

To the Top!

We took turns doing things we have abject fears of this weekend. I went on a boat and only thought about what was UNDERNEATH the boat about 1/4 of the time. Jon went to the top of the Berliner Dom.

This was maybe the more exciting activity of the two for S, who didn’t understand why we couldn’t go all the way up to the “X.”  The rest of us felt that 267 steps was quite enough.

I’ve been to the Dom quite a few times, but before this trip I didn’t know that it is entirely cared for and maintained by its congregation. Of course, the ticket sales must make up a large part of the budget, but given the size and grandeur of the Dom, its still fairly impressive!

Neta, Mitte

Oh, Neta.

After a very hot Schifffahrt down the Spree, I insisted on stopping at Neta for lunch. Like most Americans, I have a strong possibly ironic relationship to Mexican food. There cannot be enough of it and it can’t be spicy enough. A terrible lack of good Mexican food is the scourge of most European expats. So it was a surprisingly hot day – we’ve had more than enough of those in Berlin – and we’d just gotten off of a boat. I hate boats. I needed comfort.

So off to Neta.

At 12:30 there was only one other table, which should have been enough of a warning, but I reasoned it away with the the idea that its Sunday morning and most of Berlin is either still asleep or nursing a hangover over brunch.

I can’t say there was anything I enjoyed about the meal. The tacos were overstuffed and cold and Jon’s burrito came with the wrong filling. We very quickly decided that Delores is the better Mexican option in Berlin — although we still have to try Maria Bonita or Chapparo.
The boat ride down the Spree, however, was a big success for those of us who enjoy water-related activities. S spent the entire hour incredibly transfixed on the water.

Our boat, with Reederei Riedel, started outside of Hauptbahnhof and sailed east just past the Nikolaiveirtel. There are plenty of other cruise companies should you have a more specific wish to see something. We were just looking for something new to do with S. The hour-long ride was a little too long for her (there were a few babies on board who were very vocal about just how long it was), but she found the experience interesting enough and now we can check it off of our Berlin list.

Next she wants to take a train trip to a new city. Where should we go? S doesn’t care as long as she’s in the train for a long time!

Tadshikische Teestube, Mitte

Have you been to Berlin’s worst kept secret? The Tadshikische Teestube is one of my favorite places in the city.

I’m not sure why I was convinced for so long that the Teestube was so unknown. Maybe it was because of its original location in the Palais am Festunggraben. Once known as the Zentrale Hause der Deutsch-Sowjetischen Freundschaft or House of German-Soviet Friendship,  the Palais is tucked behind the Neue Wache, a memorial to the victims of war and dictatorship,  and from what I can tell, doesn’t see much foot traffic.  I was never comfortable going inside, it felt a bit forbidden, certain that at any moment a very stern woman with a very German haircut  would pop out of nowhere to shoo us out again. What else was in this palace, I have no idea, but the Teestube used to be upstairs and to the right. Not exactly an obvious spot for a cafe.
Now, however, its located in one of Mitte’s beautiful Höfe, just a few doors down from the Neue Synagogue
We made a reservation so that we could drinking our tea lounging on pillows, but there were plenty of tables outside if you feel like just wandering by. Most of the other customers seem to be just stopping by for a quick drink, but we opted for the full Russian tea ceremony. For two people,  it comes with something like this.
 Off to the side, and unfortunately cut out of my photo, is a very lovely samovar filled with very good tea.
S was especially excited about the cookies. It was her first time there and she’s been taking about THE COOKIES for days. Frankly. THE COOKIES are not that exciting unless you are a 5 year old who has never been allowed to manage your own cookie intake. I’ve never had anything other than the Russian tea service at the Teestube, and I’m looking forward to going back to try more dishes. I might have to go without S, so that I can indulge in my own version of THE COOKIES for the Russischer Zupfkuchen.