48 hours in Berlin

 

48 Hours in Berlin

Berlin is a huge city and you won’t be able to see it all in 48 hours. It’s a vibrant and multicultural city full of history, food, art, culture and nightlife. It’s one of my favourite places and this was my fourth visit.

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Last week my friend and fellow Midwife Fiona and I flew to Berlin for a small mini break. We left Tuesday morning, landing in Berlin early afternoon. We checked into the hotel at Alexanderplatz and were upgraded to a suite! Thanks Hotel indigo! Our room was in the top floor with a big balcony (sadly too cold to use), the suite was beautiful and the beds, big and comfy!

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I’ve been to Berlin a few times before, Fiona hasn’t and she wanted to visit the Currywurst museum. Currywurst is a German delicacy of sausage and a special curried tomato sauce, sprinkled with curry powder. After we checked in, we made our way to the museum. Our ticket includes a sample of the sausage and entry into the museum. The currytwurst itself was nice but the museum quite small and amusing. Don’t expect to learn much but you’ll have a good laugh. I would recommend going to one of the street vendors and trying out the Currywurst instead.

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We went on to checkpoint Charlie (checkpoint C) the famous western Allied Berlin Wall crossing point between West and East Germany during the Cold War. It was one of the many checkpoints representing the separation from the West and East Berlin. We looked around a free gallery by the checkpoint, telling the stories of people who escaped, those who sadly failed and those who also lost their lives. The checkpoint Charlie museum continues this with more detail and tells the history of the Berlin Wall. Definitely worth a visit.

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After We headed to Augustiner’s to enjoy German beer from a barrel and eat more sausage with sauerkraut. Both were delicious!

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For dinner we went for Thai, at Thai inside. We had Mai tai cocktails followed by Chicken Satay, vegetable gyoza and chicken pad Thai all to a good standard and reasonably priced (cocktails were excellent).

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We continued our evening visiting microbrewery, Lemke Berlin and onto ‘the pub’ pouring our own Berliner pints of beer.

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Wednesday we headed out for brunch at the house of small wonder. At the entrance you walk up a beautiful spiral staircase, to this green and quirky cafe in Mitte. Serving Japanese and breakfast cuisine. I had Croque Monsieur and mint tea and Fiona had the homemade granola with Greek yoghurt. Both were filling, delicious and good value.

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We walked off our breakfast, visiting the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, now known as The East Side Gallery, near Ostbahnhof in Friedrichshain. The Wall was constructed in 1961, to stop Eastern emigration from communist East Berlin to free West Berlin. The wall is now a memorial for freedom, with paintings by artists all over the world. It was last renovated in 2010. Sadly, they have now put metal fences in front of most of the wall to stop people graffitiing, so it was hard to take photos. Most of the photos below were from a previous trip three years ago.

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Late afternoon, we visited one of my favourite places in Berlin Markthalle Neun which translates to Market Nine. In the heart of Keruzberg, this market sells an array of foods, alcohol and street foods. Every Thursday evening, they host their street food market and throughout the month they host special markets e.g. Cheese, Mexican food etc. It was quiet this afternoon, which I enjoyed. Previously I’ve been on the weekend and you are fighting for seats. We both had a ‘small’ meat platter of pulled pork, salad and potatoes, best meal of the trip! Followed by baked cheesecake and washed down by a Moscow mule and a large glass of Pinot Noir.

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After a big night on Tuesday, we decided to have an early night and get up early before our flight in the afternoon.

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Thursday morning, we intended to go up the TV tower (Fernsehturm), the mist had finally lifted from the last two days. The queue was large so we decided to give it a miss, on a previous visit I went up the tower, you get great views of across the city and can have a cheeky cocktail at the bar. Instead we walked to see the holocaust memorial and Brandenburg gate. When we got to the memorial and the gate, sadly, both were cordoned off by police due to President Obama visiting. Normally you can walk through the memorial and feel the soberness, dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. I managed one good photo of the memorial (without police and riot vans).

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We headed back to the hotel, picked up our bags and set off for the airport.

A few other places I would recommend visiting is Judisches (Jewish) Museum, predominantly about the events of World War II but also gives the history of Jewish people in Germany. This museum is vast, make sure you have lots of time to visit. Tiergarten, Berlin’s biggest park, with the zoo at the south west corner. In summer, hire bikes, the city has many bike lanes and flat terrain, easiest way to get around the city!

Jenwaar

Edinburgh Triathlete’s winter training weekend

Apologies for my lack of posts….A fortnight ago I went along to Edinburgh Triathletes winter training weekend. This is annual winter training weekend ET organise every year. I previously went two years ago. Friday evening, I headed over to Bridge of Earn in Perthshire. Friday night was spent catching up with everyone, eating pizza and have a cheeky glass of wine.

Saturday morning commenced with an early morning run, I’m currently not running at the moment, so spent an extra hour in bed! At 9.30am we went off for a group ride, two groups were formed based on ability.

triclubPhoto credit: Euan Batten

We headed off into the rain in the beautiful Perthshire countryside. After ten minutes we were all soaked but that didn’t dampen our spirits! After an hour of cycling we had a Pit stop at Loch level larder. I had my ‘go to’ cycling snack, a sausage bap and hot chocolate (this time I had a chai latte but basically a hot milk drink). Highly recommend this cafe, I have been many times before for lunch and afternoon tea.

img_4224img_4225Photo credit: Euan Batten

After our stop we continued the ride. A few minutes into the ride Paul had to stop for a puncture so a few of us in the group had a plank off competition. The girls won, sorry Pierre! Look how much mud we have on our bottoms! The ride was only 28miles but quite hilly and wet so I glad to get back to the lodges and put on dry clothes!

plankingPhoto credit: Euan Batten

In the afternoon Richard, one of the coaches, conducted a ‘Q&A’ type of talk answering all questions on everything triathlon. We submitted questions in advance of the weekend. Richard covered questions from kit, coaching, racing and training, giving tips and advice. I found this really interesting and useful. I particularly found his advice on improving my times on the bike helpful and will use this in my training and racing. It also made me really want to buy a time trial bike!

Late afternoon we had a swim session at Strathallan School swimming pool which was very cold! The focus was on technique and good form. We were practicing tumble turns, rotation, push offs, streamlining and posture. This was good session, breaking down our swimming technique to build on form to swim more efficiently and effectively. ‘Swim well before swimming fast’.

In the evening we all went out for a meal at a local restaurant, followed by a couple of drinks at the local pub.

Sunday morning, we were back in the pool for a 9am start. We warmed up with a few lengths and continuing good technique. We were then divided into four groups and started racing! Sadly, all my good form went out the window whilst racing (game face)! Individually, I came second in my heat but in our team relay we came last. I had lots of fun diving off the blocks, however need to practice sprinting, I’ve not raced competitively since I was a child.

I headed home after swimming. The rest if the triathlon club completed a mini duathlon in the rain, followed by a short trail run.

The weekend was great, I loved the relaxed nature of the weekend and socialising with other club members. Big thanks to Mike for organising the weekend and Richard and Euan for coaching!

Jenwaar