This begins a four-part series featuring our recent spur-of-the-moment trip to Berlin. While the series will highlight some of the specifics of our trip, each entry will provide insight to my general Travel Philosophy. Furthermore, it is important to note that dear David took a puck in the face less than 24 hours before our spontaneous departure, and was understandably not feeling his best. He is usually a sport, but in this instance he was a sport AND a trooper.
Any travel, regardless of the length of your journey, requires nourishment. And when you are travelling to a new continent, country or even region, you want to try the local cuisine. However, I think through living in the hamlet of Crimmy Dave and I have sampled all the traditional German cuisine that we could ever ask for, so going to Berlin required a bit of creativity. Instead of looking at this as a trip to a foreign country, we looked at it as a trip to the city for some country folks. And what does the city have that the country tends to lack when it comes to culinary choices? Diversity. In other words, Chinese food.
Don’t get me wrong. We went into this edible endeavor with an open mind. We walked the streets of the quaint neighborhood of our hotel, right off the Ku’damm. We drank beer, as is mandatory every day of life in Germany. We ate tapas for lunch, because chorizo, patatas bravas and a plate of mixed cheese and olives remind us of our Spanish honeymoon. When we needed a breather, we popped into a little coffee shop that boasted North American style baked goods, ie: carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and banana bread. But for dinner, Dave put in a special request for some Chinese alá Germany. We found the perfect place, tucked down a back alley with only a chubby Buddha to indicate the entrance, and we had the place to ourselves. The food was delicious and plentiful. The spring rolls brought tears to my eyes.
The point of travelling to any new place, whether it is the town next to yours or the furthest point on the globe from where you now sit, is to get a feeling for what life there is like. Eating is a tangible and nutritionally necessary method of achieiving this objective. Pack an apple in your bag so that you can stave off hunger a little longer in the hopes of finding something a bit more out of the way, sit surrounded by locals rather than fellow tourists. Open your mind to the fact that Germans don’t just eat schnitzel, the French can serve you more than fois gras and tacos are not Spanish. Be adventurous but for the love of god, pack a dictionary so you can avoiding eating something truly terrible that will haunt you forever; you are trying to get a taste of the local cuisine, that doesn’t mean you have to delve in to organs not yet known to your gastro-intestinal system.