Parks and Rec

In between stuffing ourselves silly, we took a stroll down one of my favorite parks.

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Böcklerpark starts at the Landwehrkanal and ends at the Michaelkirche.

We took a right at the end of the park and walked along the wall. We stopped for a visit with the one-eyed pony  at the Kinderbauernhof  am Mauerplatz.

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Jon and I have been visiting the one-eyed pony for almost a decade now. It is entirely possible that it no longer lives there, that perhaps it has moved on to horsey heaven, but we can never remember what color it is…or was. Its a fun/morbid family tradition! Our own Li’l Sebastian.

Spread your wings and fly, One-Eyed Pony! We’ll miss you in the saddest fashion. Or we would, if we knew for sure.

We seem to really love mini-horses. Check out this post from a few years ago in California.

Kochhaus, Kreuzberg

By now any American readers have probably heard of Blue Apron, the grocery delivery service tailored to individual recipes. Germany has its own version: Kochhaus, a delivery service and boutique market.

The first time we tried Kochhaus, we only picked up a few things here and there, some merguez, wine, a little chocolate. The wine and chocolate were both big hits (when are they not?), but the merguez was a let down. Like much of the merguez in Germany, it was a mix of both lamb and beef. It also lacked heavily in the spice department, again, very typisch for Germany.
The next time we gave one of the recipes a try, Steinpilz-Risotto mit getrockneten Berberitzen. Here are the ingredients that we bought at the store. (Note: the recipe card does not come free! It was an extra 50 cents.) We also needed white wine and an onion, both of which we keep on hand.
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Then, because I find drinking white wine a lot like guzzling skittles, we opened a Blaufrankisch. We bought it at Edeka, because it was supergeil.
The recipe was easy to follow, and the results looked nice, but meh. It tasted a lot like we had used a mix, which we essentially had.
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I’m sure we’ll try again – maybe next time something fresh? or sweet? The Mousse au Chocolat auf Tofu is calling my name.

Kreuzberg Jazzt!

Its Wednesday and we’re only just getting over the Strassenfest that was parked outside our door over the weekend. It was fun the first day, but the constant noise got old very quickly. Especially the drumming. Ugh, the drumming.

We soothed our nerves with many visits to the kürtoskalács (or trdelnik if you’re Czech like the ladies making pastries last weekend were ) booth for Jon….

and crêpes for me and das kind.

As you can see, she takes her yummy things very, very seriously. This crêpe was especially delicious and, if you’re ever at a fair or flohmarkt in Berlin, avoid the generic blue, white and red signs  for “Französiche Crêpes” and head right to this equally simply named yet ten times better one: Crêpes et Galettes. You’ll know them by their colorful booth and breton hats.

But we didn’t just eat. We also took in a few shows.

The Puppentheater didn’t hold S’s attention for very long, but she is still talking about the recital from a local ballet school and their purple tutus.

I didn’t understand the significance of emcee’s costume and can only assume it was a lovely homage to The Church Lady.

Well, isn’t that special?

This festival was a lot smaller than the Karneval der Kulturen, but there are still a lot of things to keep families entertained. We liked that instead of just typical festival booth after festival booth, there were also booths set up by local shops and restaurants giving it more of a block party feel. So,  If you’re in Berlin next year check it out.  If you’re in Berlin next year and staying in Bergmannkiez, check it out, but also maybe buy earplugs.

 

Viktoriapark

Everything (much to my chagrin) is green; the cafe tables are out on the sidewalks; the people aren’t unhappy. Everything has started to look the way it did when we first moved here. I feel a little sad to think that we only have a few short months left and this sadness has driven me to one of the things I like the least about parenting. Playgrounds.

I know. I’m horrible. I prefer the inside things, the snuggling together reading or laying next to each other on our stomachs with a roll of paper and a pile of crayons. I mean, I actually suffer going to museums with a toddler. Is it that much of a stretch to think, maybe, I don’t like running around? That said, even I have found myself wandering around the beautiful Viktoriapark with my husband and baby in the evenings.

The Spielplatz at this park, however, is pretty remarkable. Its fairly large and seems just as fun for little babies hanging out in the sand (All German playgrounds – in my experience – are covered in sand. None of that funny tire stuff here!) as it is for the bigger kids playing on the zip-line. Yes, a zip-line, and not one of those dinky, barely goes five feet ones we have in the US.

That’s the major difference between playgrounds in Germany vs. the US. The Germans believe more in personal responsibility, so yes, it is much easier to get badly hurt on German playgrounds (this one is nothing! I should post pictures of what I not-so-fondly call “the death pit” at another playground. Its a sunken concrete maze with about an inch or so of water running through the bottom. Let’s all crack our heads open! SO VIEL SPAß!), but then you have no one to blame but yourself. You and your child should have been more careful. In the US, there would be an uproar. Petitions and lawsuits. Fundraisers. A movement to change the playground  – that is if something like that could pass whatever building codes we have at all.

Of course, I’m not trying to say one os better than the other and, of course, I watch my S like the over-anxious American mom  that I am, but there is something to be said for teaching our children to be a little bit more responsible or – dare I say it? – ordentlich. 

sunday stroll

We took a little detour on our way to Markthalle IX for today’s Handmade Supermarkt. I never buy anything – a lot of the stuff just isn’t my style – but I really like browsing. Anyway, we got off of the bus a few stops early and wandered around eastern Kreuzberg.

I found these old Cadillacs particularly charming. Probably because I wasn’t expecting to find them parked next to the Spree.

 

 

sunday morning stroll

I took advantage of Jon’s offer to stay home with the napping baby to wander around my own kiez. Motivated by this post on foodieinberlin, I wandered down Gneisenausstraße to check out Soluna Brot u. Öl – even though its Sunday and I knew it wouldn’t be open; I wanted to see if it would be a walkable – and worthwhile – distance with a toddler in tow.

When I turned off of Schleiermacherstraße, I turned around to look back and thought how nice it would be to live here until I realized: Oh, I do.

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My previous experience with Gneisenausstr. had been the first block or two just off of Mehringdamm – not exactly charming – but then I wandered a little farther and finally noticed what a very pretty, quiet street I live near.

Please forgive the photo quality. I didn’t think I would want to take any pictures, so I only had my cell phone. I can’t wait to go back when everything is open – maybe tomorrow?

 

**Edit**

We made it to the bakery 2 days ago. Its not a difficult walk with the baby, but maybe a touch too far for her little legs. Just 3 or 4 doors away from SoLuna she quit on me.

It took some very animated talk about all of the delicious carbs we were about to get our hands on, but finally she decided to come with and  we were both  very happy with the result.