Berlin Berlin!

Just wanted to write a bit about our Christmas trip to Berlin last weekend.  We spent Friday through monday there and had a lovely room at the Hyatt at Potsdamer Platz.

The first night we flew in and arrived at the hotel around 9.  We walked around near the hotel, found the SONY center, which is this cool indoor/outdoor mall.  Had a very traditional German meal at a restaurant (sausages and kraut, of course), and went back to the hotel to crash.  Saturday was Christmas Eve, and we hadn’t realized that most of the city would be closed! D’oh!!! And it was raining.  But we made the most of it.  Walked through Tiergarten Park and THROUGH the Brandenburg Gate, which was pretty spectacular.  From there we headed toward Museum Island.  We stopped in at the Neue Wache monument to victims of atrocities.  That was one of my favorite sites during our visit.  The monument is very simple, with a single sculpture, a modern version of La Pieta.  The roof directly above it is open in a circle, and as it was lightly raining while we were there, the rain fell on and just around the sculpture in a really moving way.

That night we met up with JHO’s cousin and his girlfriend for turkish kababs and grilled veggies at a lowkey place in the Turkish area of Berlin, Kreuzberg.  It was very nice to meet the girlfriend and hear about their adventures traveling the world.  After dinner we popped into a bar for a cup of mulled wine.  Smoking is still allowed in bars there!  It was thick!  But the atmosphere was very convivial and relaxed.  Nice not to worry so much about appearances.  You could really feel how much more casual Berlin is than Paris.

The next day was Christmas!  We had a lovely HUGE breakfast at the hotel and got treated like royalty by the waitstaff.  JHO and I demolished waffles, sausages, more sausages, eggs, pastries, breads, MORE PASTRIES!  It was intense.  By the time we got moving it was pretty late in the day, but we made it to 2 really cool things: A huge artist squat with completely graffitied stairwells and a big sculpture garden; and the Pergamon Museum  (containing huge portions of Pergamon’s temple to Athena and the surrounding frieze).  After the museum we met up with the cousin and copaine again for dinner in a Russian restaurant.  What a great atmosphere!  Very vibrant, with a pianist playing old 50s showtunes.  Good food, although it was quite heavy and copious.  Afterwards we had drinks at a pretty, cozy little bar called Scotch & Sofa.  I had a non-alcoholic cocktail with pineapple juice, gingerale, o.j.  delicious!

Our last day we finally made it to the famous Christmas market, Gendarmenmarkt.  It was very full.  We downed a waffle with cherries and custard, some mulled wine, and bought some sugar-coated hazelnuts for the road.  The trip back to Paris was so easy.  When we arrived back at our apartment I could it felt like I had just been riding through the streets of Berlin.  Next time…clubbing for JHO;-)

Kathmandu Video

 

Prayer Flags at Nagarkot

Prayer Flags at Nagarkot

 

As many of you know, I recently spent 2 and a half weeks in Kathmandu, Nepal on a business trip.  It was a successful trip, although difficult in many ways.  I stayed at the Hyatt in Kathmandu and had a beautiful view of the Boudhanath Stupa from my window.  I got to site see one day and visited the temple to Shiva, where many Hindus are cremated along the river there; I also went to Nagarkot, in the hills outside of Kathmandu, and got to see some of the countryside and hillcountry.  I’ve posted photos online on facebook:

 

Kathmandu Photos

Nagarkot Photos

 

I also took some video as I was riding in the car.  It shows a snippit of the street-life in Kathmandu.  I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: If you’re prone to motion sickness, you might not want to watch.

Video from Car Ride in Kathmandu