Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 3: Berlin diary - the age is in rage

Another sleepless night in Berlin, thanks to the pounding music outside.  After a 3rd night of little sleep (counting the plane ride), I decided to ask to be moved to a different room in the presumably "quieter" wing. The receptionist obliged my request, but I still walked zombie-like during the rest of the day. It's a good thing that the conference speakers were engaging and the science kept me awake.  But aside from the groundbreaking researches in stem cell chemistry, malaria and cheminformatics, not a lot of interesting things happened during the day. In the end I was dead-tired.

It's 6 pm and I can barely move a muscle, my brain is completely fried, but it seemed senseless to me to sit in my room and have an unmemorable day in Berlin.  This was just unacceptable! So, how can I turn this day around given my current state? Well, a dinner at the oldest restaurant in Berlin should do the trick.  After a quick search online, I identified Zur Letzten Instanz as IT.  I called the concierge to reserve a table then I dashed out the door.

I took the "tube", as the locals refer to the train here.  The S41 line brought me from Sonnenallee to Oskreutz, pronounced Os-kroyts, where I changed line to S7 to Alexanderplatz.  This is perhaps the busiest place in Berlin! The station is similar to union station in DC, albeit smaller, bursting with shops and people.  When you exit the street, what do you see?  More people!  More shops too - upscale, midscale, down to McDonalds and currywurst stands. Unlike my walk to quaint BergerstaBe, pronounced bir-ghen-stras-suh, I noticed that the people are more diverse here.  You can hear non-german language being spoken and see people from different cultures conglommerating in the square. 

Walking down the street, I passed an enormous rose-colored mall. I went in, and in less than 5 minutes, I was out on the street again.  Somehow I just wasn't in the mood to shop. YIKES, my sister will find this offensive I'm sure!  Just as I was about to pass out in hunger, I found the elusive restaurant tucked away in a tiny isolated alley. Ahh... salvation.  I was given a choice on whether to site outside or inside.  I peeked in and saw how intimate the room inside was, and chose the breezy outdoors.  Of course, I regretted this decision mid-meal when i was surrounded by clouds of smoke. When will I learn???

The menu was in German and English.  I was about to thumb my nose and stick out my tongue at this when I saw a small tourist bus unloading its passengers that poured into the hidden restaurant. Then it made sense. Despite its seclusion, Zur Letzten Instanz was so popular that tourists look for it. And whatever remaining grumblings I had dissolved with the first spoonful of fish and veggie stew in my mouth. It was simply divine.


  1. I'm absolutely loving these updates. They capture the joy and pain of travel so well.

    Keep 'em coming!


  2. Thanks Ben! I'll upload more pictures when I get back. I forgot to bring my cam cable, so all these are from my blackberry only.