Last week was my blog birthday. The British Berliner is 1 year old. Hurrah!
It’s November and the weather’s getting a bit nippy but October was a marvellous month for me. The Re-Unification of Berlin is 25 years old and there’s a lot of celebrating going on in the city, I went on my first press trip to Northern France which was totally awesome by the way! I’ve been to a few events which I’ll write about very soon, and I went on a food walking tour.
I loooooove walking tours.
This time last year, I went to Scotland. One of the things that we did there was to go on an invigorating walking tour of Edinburgh.
In January, I went to London. I’m sure that I told you that I used to live in London, but just because I used to live there didn’t stop me from going on a London walking tour, and having a brilliant time.
In May, I went on a street art walking tour of Berlin that was edgy, and the alternative bite of what Berlin represents.
In August, I went to Thailand and had one of the best walking tours of my life, in that fascinating, delightful city of Bangkok!
So I’ve gotta tell ya. Living in Berlin is amazing!
There are loads of changes, updates, and movements. Quite frankly, just because you saw something last year, doesn’t mean that you’re going to see it again this year, so do hurry up and visit LOL!
On that note, a few weeks ago, I went on another walking tour. A walking tour with a difference.
A food walking tour.
A food walking tour that will give both locals and visitors a deeper insight of delicious food and culture. I went with a company called eat-the-world and out of a variety of five, I chose the Eat-the-world-Kreuzberg-walking tour.
What a day I had.
It was a bit rainy and a bit windy, but nothing that a good cup of tea couldn’t solve! It was going to be a bit of a long day because after the food walking tour “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a photo shoot with a child modelling agency. I know. He got it all from me! OK, and a bit from daddy!
I met the Kreuzberg walking tour guide at 11:30 and the meeting point was in front of an independent art house cinema called Moviemento. In fact, I got to know about eat-the-world as they reached out to me via Twitter! They had seen something that I wrote on Twitter and liked what they saw, and the rest is history!
Our tour guide was a tall German bloke from Berlin who grew up in Australia. His name was Dieter! With a British sense of humour and an Australian-German accent, he proceeded to lead us through that wonderful suburb of Kreuzberg.
We were a group of fourteen (14).
A Swedish family of four (4), one (1) Estonian girl, one (1) Australian boy, two (2) American guys, one (1) British bloke from London, two (2) German girls who had actually booked the German-speaking tour but it was over-booked (so they decided to go on the English one instead!), a Finnish family of three (3), and myself, a veteran expat local!
We started off in a local park which Dieter told us used to be a goat market! He also told us that the name “Berlin” derives from the word marshland and that it’s one of the main reasons why the city of Berlin doesn’t have a lot of high-rise buildings or deep underground stations. In fact, the beauty of Berlin lies in the fact that most buildings are not more than five (5) floors and in many cases, you don’t really need escalators or elevators as most train station are actually on ground level. No more running into the deep.
I’m looking at you London Underground!
Interesting fact: tours tend to take place in Kreuzberg because unlike Prenzlauerberg where I live in East Berlin, Kreuzberg is most wonderfully diverse.
It’s strange, because even though Berlin has only about 3.4 million people and is obviously a European capital city, it doesn’t feel like a city. It feels and looks like a huge leafy suburb with splats of urban identity.
Founded in the 1920’s, Kreuzberg was originally a working class part of town. In the 1950’s Kreuzberg turned into a haven for factory workers who arrived from Italy and Turkey. In the 1970’s, Kreuzberg was the capital of the anti-establishment and anti-war movement for young German people wishing to escape the conservative nature of West Germany.
Kreuzberg today is middle-class, diverse, and independent. It’s that part of Berlin where young creative artists, the student body, and people looking for an alternative lifestyle, go to. Basically, if you’re young, this is the place.
Its cheap, its friendly, and its a community mishmash of people, culture, colour, and creed!
However, Kreuzberg is changing. All around the suburb are signs of beauty, provocation, prohibition, and gentrification. The river, the bridges, the beautiful old buildings with high ceilings, 19th century facades, and eclectic design.
In fact, when I first came to Berlin, I lived in Kreuzberg too. I had a huge rent-controlled apartment near the river which didn’t have a bathroom, and in which we hauled up steel-buckets of coal every week. It was worth it though ‘cos I was living in a 19th century building and my share of the rent in those days, was €17.00 per week!
Kreuzberg attracts a certain type of person, and that is reflected in its food.
Our Kreuzberg walking tour took us past gentrified buildings into an Indian restaurant called the Cinnamon Tree. I love Indian food however, the memo that I’m allergic to nuts was somehow lost in the post, when I was presented with a lovely spicy, tomato soup. It smelt great and it looked great but it was swimming in coconut flakes! I can’t eat coconut flakes, and as you recall on our summer Asian holiday, in Thailand, I couldn’t eat any soups at all!
Dieter was most apologetic and I was embarrassed for him and the restaurant staff who didn’t know. Lesson to learn, if you have allergies double-check that everyone knows about it! I did hear that the Cinanamon Tree restaurant is enormously proud of its chicken malai tikka, so that’s something to look forward to on another day!
After that, we went to a little organic gourmet bakery called back.art. This shop is a bakery that features homemade German products derived from Canadian, American, French and Portuguese international flair. Halloween isn’t that big in Germany, but this bakery had Halloween pumpkins and candlelights scattered around, ready for trick or treating.
We had some chocolate mint swirly cake squares but again, there were pecan nuts in it. Sigh! I had an organic biscuit instead!
In less than a minute, we went to our next food point – a rock music, Native-American-themed bar restaurant called PowwoW! It was dark and rustic and had metallic objects, and animal skulls on the wall, and a couple of cowboys wearing Texan hats outside the bar!
We sampled spicy Mexican beans with a nacho, a blob of sour cream, and Mexican beer. I was so famished, I had two (2) helpings.
Boy was that good!
After that tasty snack, it was time to get a little dessert by way of ice-cream and so to Café Isabel we went. Café Isabel is an Italian (of course!) hand-finished ice-cream cafe with up to 24 different ice-cream flavours such as fig, crème brûlée, and nutella! I had my favourite raspberry and vanilla flavoured concoction, and then we went and hung out on the bridge.
This particular bridge is surrounded by tourists in the summer thus giving the locals some noise and hassle due to the lovely river location, wide streets, antique street lamps, barmy weather, romantic feelings, and cheap beers.
Don’t forget to keep it down people!
The Pflanufer (river) leads into Urbanhafen (river harbour), and is on one of the prettiest river spots. In the summer, the river is surrounded by lovely outdoor restaurants, and weekend brunches costing pittance, and lasting hours.
It’s no wonder that we love Kreuzberg so much. It’s food, bars, and restaurants, are heaven in a teacup, or in this case, a bottle of beer!
Up next was Turkish Berlin otherwise known as “Little Turkey.” Where East meets West and where the Orient delivers on its promise of Turkish delight….!
We descended on a family business called Leylak and we sat outside on benches, people watching the colourful mix of locals appreciating Turkish fare, or going to the local Turkish farmers’ market that is just a few paces away, and which can be found on Tuesdays and Saturdays at the Maybachufer (river).
We all had a sampled taste of home-made Börek. Börek is a traditional Turkish recipe of puff pastries filled with feta cheese, minced meat, or vegetables. It originally came from Central Asia and in fact, the croissant of France and the apple strudel of Austria are said to derive from Börek!
It was soon time to go to the oldest Turkish restaurant in town – Hasir. Hasir is slam-bang right in the middle of Kreuzberg and the Hasir on Adalbertstraße, is the oldest branch of this family establishment.
Hasir is on a street inspired both by the glorious colours of mosaics found in the 1920’s of Istanbul’s most magnificent buildings, and at the same time, also on a street inspired by radical movement and the punk rock era of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, who both hung out in that most famous of Kreuzberg music clubs – SO36.
We had small cuts of meat which were grilled and then braised with vegetables, or minced meat.
Let’s be realistic, if you’re ever in need of Turkish food, then hop over to Berlin where the best Turkish food is to be found, and one of our most popular Berlin specialities – the döner kebap!
Our last point of call was a chocolate shop called Chocolateria Sünde. The blurb on the window pane says “Chocolate is God’s answer to broccoli!”
This little chocolate shop was a haven for knick-knacks. There were little china tea-cups, rocking chairs, religious paintings, piles of books, delicate cups and saucers, and jars of chocolate everywhere! This shop sold gold-paper-covered champagne truffles, cupcakes, cheesecake, chocolate pralines, and pure drinking chocolate which we sipped along with pieces of homemade dark chocolate to sooth the soul!
What a sinful tasty tour. Here’s the info:
WHAT IS THE EAT-THE-WORLD FOOD WALKING TOUR?
Exactly what it says on the package. The idea of an eat-the-world walking tour is to show visitors and locals the way to delicious food and cultural insights, far away from the well-worn tourist trails.
WHAT IS THE KREUZBERG EAT-THE-WORLD FOOD WALKING TOUR ALL ABOUT?
The Kreuzberg eat-the-world walking tour is about getting off the beaten path, joining a culinary and cultural sightseeing adventure, and experiencing real life in Berlin, through the eyes of locals living here.
DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN?
These tour are in English. If English isn’t your native-language not to worry, as most of my group were non-English native-speakers, and they did fine! If you are German-speaking, there is a German version of these tours too!
WHAT DO I NEED?
A pair of good shoes, a rain-jacket in case it rains, a pair of sunglasses, possibly a hat, a huge bottle of water, a few Euros for drinks, and a huge smile!
Yes. This tour cost €30.00.
If you’re feeling particularly energetic, there are four other food walking tours around Charlottenburg (grandiose Berlin), Friedrichshain (student Berlin), Schoneberg (colourful Berlin), and Prenzlauerberg where I live (hip Berlin)!
Don’t forget to remind them if you have allergies or other dietary requirements as note that this particular tour is not suitable for those with lactose or gluten intolerance.
What are you waiting for? You know you want to!
Everyone should do a walking tour of their own city every now and then, if only to make sure that when guests come to visit, you know exactly what you’re talking about or can lead them to someone who does LOL!
WHAT IF A WALKING TOUR ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?
Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!
Tickets for the eat-the-world walking tour are €30.00. Children under 12 are €15.00
Approximate walking time: 3 hours.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Times vary.
The meeting point is at the Graefekiez (the precise meeting point will be confirmed when booked).
For more information about the eat-the-world food walking tours please contact: Eat-the-world walking food tour.
This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary ticket, all opinions and the tasty Börek and spicy Mexican beans that I happily consumed, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you so I will be returning to our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar, later in November.
Next week, I will be writing about the British National Theatre LIVE productions taking place throughout November. The next production coming up at Cinestar Berlin – Original is:
Frankenstein – Original Cast on: 13.11.14.
Frankenstein – Reversed Cast on: 27.11.14.
For the rest of the year, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Following a smash-hit tour of the UK and Ireland, LET IT BE will descend on Berlin with a six (6) day exclusive showing of a celebration of The Beatles from 11.11.14 – 16.11.14 at the Admirals Palast.
November is going to be super!
Have you been on a food walking tour? Do you like spicy Mexican beans or carrot cupcakes?
See you in Berlin.
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