Berlin On Foot
About eight times the size of Paris, it's not a terribly good idea to try getting around Berlin entirely on foot. Since my boyfriend and I arrived a few days ago, however, we've not only discovered the stellar metro system and intricate, yet intuitive bus lines, but also the bike rental shops populating most corners.
At 7-10 Euro a day or 50 Euro a week, your feet will thank you. If it's more your speed, week metro/bus passes are also available at most counters and run about 27 Euro each -- a steal with a ticket each way costing around 2 Euro.
But to be fair, we've also covered a lot of ground on foot over the last few days.
We walked to the labyrinthine Jewish Museum, for example, which is worth a visit just for its sculptural art value let alone the well-designed exhibits. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind, whose plan for the new World Trade Center in New York won the competition in 2003.
Also on foot, we traversed Treptower Soviet War Memorial Park, which is a monument to, well, monumental Socialist Realist architecture and the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who fell at the 1945 Battle of Berlin.
Yesterday morning, we meandered through the bi-weekly Turkish market (Tue. and Fri.) on Maybachufer Strasse in Kreuzberg. Heaping piles of fresh tomatoes, aubergines, cured olives and cheeses crowded next to bargain apparel -- not worth it -- as old, sharp-eyed women haggled and confused, gesturing tourists guessed prices in a complex trial-and-error of holding up different numbers of fingers.
I found some mediocre fried plantains and purchased a deep bag of still-unidentified mixed spices (1.50 Euro) by pointing at my aubergines and yelling "Grill!"
That evening, while BBQ-ing them together at the edge of a bomb crater in Görlitzer Park -- once a train station in West Berlin -- surrounded by rastafari, well-heeled women with strollers, and young folk toasting the sun set at 10:00pm, I made a note to thank the spice vendor for making the most of my cost-effective dinner -- and wondered how best to walk a grill home across town.
We rounded out the night at Barbie Deinhoff's, a local Kreuzberg gay bar that was more happening than any other bar I've ever been to on a Tuesday at 2am. Someone was getting a haircut in one corner (10 Euro plus tips) while a sprightly 30-something Asian man in a full-body leopard suit swung from the ceiling. Tomorrow, we're off to Sabotage 4, the monthly party put on by QueerTechnoBerlin.