Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tasting Tea and Whiskey in Berlin

Exberliner has a great little post today on a couple of ideas for tastings in Berlin.
They suggesting tasting whiskey at a place called Taste The Doom. Frankly I've never heard of it, but its website is interesting looking. Seems they have combined whisky tasting with Doom Metal. Perhaps not to everyone's tastes but I'll leave that to you to decide.

Exberlinner reckons that it:
the bimonthly event held in the back room of Neuk├Âlln haunt Das Gift has quickly become the neighbourhood’s hottest ticket, thirstily snatched up by ageing bobo-cores eager to combine their love for loud, soul-crushing music with a burgeoning taste for delightfully peaty, perfectly balanced, 50-bucks-a-bottle single-malt Scotch.
 The Tea Tasting they suggest looks a lot more civilized. It is at the Tea Salon on Invaliden Strasse (Mitte- while you're there you can pop into Berlin's natural history museum). Anyhow, here is a snippet of what to expect from the Exberlinner site:
Before starting the tasting, Mager goes into detail about the teas she's chosen and the utensils she's using (usually a tea table, wooden tweezers, an array of cups, teapots and spatulas). Then the actual tasting starts: first, the smelling of the dry tea leaves, before the pouring of the hot water (a more complex art than one might imagine) and finally the tasting and discussing of each new brew.
There are many more ideas so take a look at the full article for more inspiration.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Exhibition in the Dark

Okay, so it is not in Berlin, but it looked interesting enough that I thought I'd post a note on it. An exhibition that takes place entirely in the dark has been going for more than 10 years now. The exhibition,"Dialog in the Dark"takes place in pitch darkness. Guides (who are blind) lead you around and expose you to various sensations. The idea is that you with your eyesight cut off, you experience everything else a lot more intensely.
The organisers say this about the experience:
 The sudden withdrawal of eyesight challenges everybody. While participants stay for a short while in pitch darkness, they are emotionally immersed and confronted with own limits. Blind people are the “sighted” ones in this environment and can demonstrate their capabilities better than their sighted colleagues. This reversal of roles guarantee reflection, the discovery of the unseen and the need of communication and cohesion The experience provides an innovative and powerful tool to understand one’s limits and respect the other, reinforcing a collaborative mindset and emotional intelligence. 

In Berlin you can experience something similar if you go to the Unsichtbar in Berlin, where you eat in total darkness.
The dialogue exhibition takes about 90 minutes as you are led through six different experiences. You also have the option of eating dinner in the dark.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Berlin Bike Thieves Come Out

There's just been an entertaining infuriating article in Exberliner about the life of an expat bike thief. Now if you've ever had a bike stolen and know that sickening feeling of staring at the empty spot where you know you locked your bike, you'll have to read this.
Unfortunately it does little to assuage any liberal or empathic feelings you may once have felt about people being forced into a life of crime by poverty. Basically this guy is a complete wanker.
Except at the very start, I never did it because I needed the money. It’s pocket money: it’s beer, weed, get-hoes money. That’s what it is! Plus, you can’t really do it big in the selling-bikes business.
Needless to say it has sparked a huge controversy about whether he should have been given a voice etc. Also a fair number of readers wrote in to vent their fury - which seems reasonable enough. Except that this bloke has felt the need to write back in the comments to defend his reputation:
our bike got stolen boo hoo bitch buy a car or get a better job or i dont know do whatever to make sure you dont need a fucking a real fucking lock for your bike.. stop being cheap pussies hiding behind your keyboards and imagining yourself putting your bitch-made hands on me. you wouldnt put a hand on the police. ive been beaten up by police in the police station in berlin for just trying to get help way before i needed to steal a fuck anybody who has an idea about anything...your ignorant.. your pussy cats on the street. you wouldnt save a fly from a fog... im happy i could make you stupid fucks feel better about yourselves.
So there we have it. If we have bikes that we don't want stolen we're bourgeois pussies. Mmm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A new form of Yoga - or anti-yuppie Berlin sentiment

I just spotted this on my way to work. I guess that there isn't a new form of yoga called fuck yoga is there (an offhshoot of hatha yoga perhaps, or even Asthanga). So is this just another example of anti-yuppie Berlinners looking for attention?
Any suggestions welcomed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why Are Supermarkets in Berlin so Bad?

There is much to love about Berlin so don't get me wrong. But there is something about the supermarkets that just does not do it for me. Their fresh fruit and vegetables are often rotten!
The organic vegetables look great from far
Let me give you a few examples. I would say that at least 3/4 of the time when I have bought a little pack of organic apples from the Kaisers store downstairs from my office, one of the apples was bad. Now you might just say, buy loose apples. I do that now, but they aren't organic.
The same is also true of bags of salad. A few times I have bought a bag of rocket salad, checked the date on it and when I opened it for lunch found that it smelled bad.
Now the mainstream supermarkets are quite cheap but I would at least expect that the food would still be good.

Even if you go to a great organic store, you have to check carefully for everything that you buy. And there is no excuse that it is cheap because one pays quite a bit for nice organic food. Check out the photos below and you will see what I mean. A selection of vegetables looks beautiful and fresh from a distance, but the moment you look a bit more closely you see that not all of it is fresh. It just seems to me that no-one bothers checking the shelves to remove the rotten produce.
Still Beautiful

Look closely and they aren't as nice

What do you think about why Berlin grocery stores are so bad?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tokyo Earthquake - Photos of life amid the aftershocks

A quick dispatch from Tokyo that has nothing to do with Berlin. I'm here on work and just happened experience an earthquake that is apparently of magnitude 8.8. I was working in my hotel when it struck. I saw the bed start shaking and got myself under a desk (though on the fifth floor of a hotel it was probably pretty pointless - but what else does one do?)
I felt the earth shake for a long 30 seconds or more, heard the water sloshing in the toilet and felt the desk hopping above me. As soon as I could, I got out into the open air - and was not the only one. The following photos are all shots of ordinary people out in the streets after the quake and during the aftershocks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

From Zurich to Berlin by Night Train

A couple of months ago the great ash cloud over Europe forced me to quite radically change some of my travel plans – fortunately for the better. I was in Zurich for a couple of days for business. As it happened I had caught one of the last flights into Zurich Airport before the airspace was shut down. I wasn’t too concerned since it seemed that there are many far less pleasant cities to stay in. And I discovered the lovely Hotel Adler. But after a pleasant few days with my Air Berlin not able to give me any idea when flights would resume I decided that if I waited for a plane I might end up waiting for weeks. I looked into hiring a car but they were already all booked out so I thought I’d try the train.
Now there are plenty of fast train services between Zurich and Berlin that take about half a day and I’m sure would be really pleasant. But I decided that for a change I would try the night train (or City Nightline, as it is called by Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company). We got onto the train at about 7 pm or so and because we were travelling as a family with our two kids were given a 6 sleeper coach for the four of us. This was economy class so there were no frills. I looked at the first class sleeper coaches and they looked really great.
But I had no complaints about our coach. The beds were neatly made, it was spotlessly clean and the members of staff were friendly. After a quick supper in the dining car we tucked the boys into bed and they passed out. Our 3-year-old was in a state of absolute rapture as he loves trains and this was, for him, the most exciting way to travel. I’m sure most kids would love the night train. The movement rocked them both to sleep pretty quickly and my wife and I also had great sleeps.
It was also an incredibly beautiful trip as we travelled first to Basel along the river and through the mountains before crossing over into Germany and going on our way. The train travels relatively slowly and also pulls into a siding for a little while to give you more time to sleep. That way they time your arrival so that you get in at about 7 a.m. in the morning. After doing the trip once I’m determined to do it again. For business journeys between Berlin and places such as Munich, Zurich or even Paris it seems for more sensible to get onto a night train, have a good nights sleep and arrive refreshed rather than get up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning to catch the first flight.
The trip was marred by one unfortunate incident. A winter coat was stolen from our compartment while we were out for supper. Unfortunately it is impossible to lock them from the outside (first class may be different) and although our bags were locked we didn’t think a coat would be nicked.
The second lesson was that if you want a table in the dining car you should book in advance. We were lucky to get one as some people didn’t arrive. But apart from that we would have been in real trouble as all the tables were reserved.
Apart from those grumbles, it is hard to think of a more civilized way to travel than by old style train.