Day 1 in Berlin – “Dome Day”

So after taking a few hour nap on the plane.. we got some euros out of the atm, bought a kaffe & croissant (of course!) and stumbled out of the airport in Berlin on Sept. 2. After a train ride & a bus or 2 & one small ride in the wrong direction, we pretty seamlessly ended up navigating to our hotel. The hotel was right by the Berliner Dom & in the middle of Museum Island. It was an awesome location and right in the middle of many sites!

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After we freshened up in the hotel bathroom, we immediately set out to see some things. We had a rough agenda for each day of our trip though it was pretty flexible most days, we did make a few reservations for places in advance. I looked a hot mess after no sleep and no shower but I love how tired & happy we look here in probably our first hour officially exploring Berlin ..

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TV tower  from the communist era + cute husband + my wild long travel day hair

 Made our way down to Hackescher Market and area with tons of food choices & had our first local meal for lunch. Let the rich, delicious eating begin!

Next we walked back to the Berlin Cathedral or “Berliner Dom.” These are the photos off of my phone & not our camera so they don’t do it justice but this is just a breathtaking building. It has a lot of history surviving the World Wars though it did sustain severe damage & go through some reconstruction. Another interesting thing is that it’s an evangelical church and not a catholic church despite having elements of a traditional catholic church.

Despite running on E, we made it to the top of the Berliner Dom and the view was totally worth it. Again, pictures don’t to it justice.

Nashville isn’t the only skyline covered with cranes. There is still serious repair and restoration going on since the wall fell. And I liked the picture with the contrast of church and former “state.” Ironically you almost always see the Berlin Cathedral and the Fernsehturm (TV tower) together. And when the sun hits a certain way on the tv tower it makes a cross and Berliner’s called this the “Pope’s Revenge.”

I think that we went to see the Neues Museum (New Museum) this afternoon as well. Man I’m tired just thinking about this day and for some reason, I don’t have any photos on my phone from the museum. The Neues Museum is very neat, had collections from prehistoric & early historic times – some cool Greek, Egyptian & artifacts from other cultures. After the museum, we had to find some dinner and get over to the Reichstag by 7:30 for reservations to get in there. We rushed around & found an awesome place for dinner called Leon with good potato stew & I forgot what else we ate, it was a ton of food. We busted it down to the Reichstag and entered just in time for our 7:30 entrance to go up into the Dome there. We made it through security (a little nerve-wracking with not as friendly government workers) and were able to go into the glass dome on the Reichstag. This is the historic government building and also where the German parliament, the Bundestag, currently meets. Not surprisingly, the building was heavily damaged in the war but reconstructed and then this cool glass dome was built.080I didn’t make it to the top of the dome but the view from the roof before going up the dome was even amazing. You can see many aspects of “old and new Berlin” and the sun was setting while we were up there. This was definitely a worthwhile visit and worth planning ahead to get reservations – they are free but had to be done in advance for security clearances.

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Our last stop of the night was the Brandenburg Gate. An iconic landmark for Berlin that is over 200 years old & had significance through various eras including the Wall being built right past it during the Cold War. We also walked by the Jewish Memorial which is haunting during both day and night time. And we saw a group filming something on our walk back to the hospital. It’s such a vibrant and cool city, this was my second visit to Berlin but I discovered many new things and  fell in love with it again. It was fun to experience it with Keith. We stayed out until at least 9 PM I think so we had a full day after our nap on an airplane and we went hard loving our time in Berlin. The weather was actually sunny/borderline hot especially for Berlin in Sept.

The Ts Take Europe

Okay, so it’s been 6 months since I’ve blogged but I’m newly motivated. I’m hoping to document our amazing recent adventure to Europe here. The plan is to try to “record some of the memories” on my blog and share some tales of our trip with those who want to see them. I have to say,  I made myself at least try to scribble notes of all the things that we saw so I’m looking forward to bringing them back to life with photos & stories.

Of course I would rather everyone just come over & have a bonfire & I can show you the pictures but a.) timeline for making photobook/printing pictures is TBD we all know how that goes and b.) other obvious reasons.

I’m thinking maybe I will do a day-by-day format.. but I can’t really even tell you what you’ll be signing up for if you choose to read so as always, it may be a hot mess but I promise a couple photos per blog and you’ll at least love them 🙂
We went to 4 cities/countries over 11 days & then had 2+ full days of traveling to & from the US. Trip started in Berlin, Germany then train to Prague, Czech Republic then on to Vienna, Austria and ended in Budapest, Hungary. Each city was magical in it’s own way and it was the most amazing trip.

We headed out the morning of Sept. 1. It’s always fun getting out of Nashville cause you know, celebrities with our own staircase:

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We made it. We slept a few hours on the plane and then consumed a lot of caffeine since it was around 8 a.m. the next day when we arrived in Berlin. Here’s our first selfie when we were in Berlin, Germany waiting for our bus to our hotel on Sept. 2 !

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My Journey into the World of Coffee

Today, I think I took another big step in my descent (or rise) into the [potentially snobby] world of coffee drinking. I made my first pot of pour over coffee by myself.

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Sidenote: I just realized that this is my second out of not that many blog posts about warm beverages. Sorry, okay not really, cause you’re not held captive to reading my musings.

Making a pour over is not a big deal in the hipster, coffee-loving, wealthy world where I’m living; however, for me it was eyeopening and a marker of where my coffee journey has gone and a bit of a game changer.

First off, let it be known that I still am a tea lover too, I’m kind of cheating on tea but I’m still sticking with it. A cup of English breakfast tea every morning is still my #1 morning jam. I’ve always been more of a tea drinker and intentionally tried not to get hooked on coffee. I figured that if I didn’t like the taste, why would I get addicted to it. Also, then if I actually needed more caffeine & I wasn’t addicted, the effect of drinking a small amount of coffee would be much bigger. So I haven’t ever invested myself in trying to like it. Even through college & working full-time + part-time+ grad school, though I have gulped it down on occasion when in desperate situations.

My new found coffee love started in Europe. Go figure. I drank my first cup of coffee that I fell I was head over heels for in Germany and then got addicted to cappuccinos in Italy. I mean, if you’ve had one, you know.

I can’t even adequately described how good this beverage tasted. The coffee was so smooth. It tasted almost like tea in it’s purity and was so flavorful, slightly bitter but not anything like the bitterness of the coffee I’ve had in the US. Then add some steamed milk, bam. No sugar needed! (for the record, I drink black tea but could not really handle the black coffee I’d had in the US because it’s so bitter) No wonder Europeans seem to all be managing their weight better 🙂 We stayed at a friend of my travel companion’s home in the Italian countryside and there I was introduced to the Moka pot. It seemed so easy to make delicious coffee ON YOUR OWN STOVE. I stocked up on coffee and bought a Moka pot, one of my few souvenirs.

When I returned to the states, I naively tried a cappuccino at Starbucks hoping to once again experience the glorious taste of European cappuccino. That was a mistake and it tasted like burnt coffee with milk. I also tried to use the Moka pot but didn’t fully pick up on the habit enough to have fresh coffee on hand or get in a habit of perfecting the art. So I remained a tea drinker. On occasion, I would drink a flat white from Starbucks because it had a lot of steam milk and I got used to the burnt tasting bitterness.

A brief synopsis of how I went further down the slippery slope: met my now husband who liked coffee and has had more time on his hands this year 🙂 so has really gotten into making it, got hooked on fancier brewed coffee at some local coffee shops and my family’s houses, etc. We also took a trip to the PNW (pacific northwest) & had some delightful coffee there which pretty much solidified the growing love for Good coffee. Husband bought a Chemex and makes legit coffee on the weekends. I still drink tea and at some point started having a cup of early afternoon coffee from our pretty upscale coffee machine at work. <<<Thus, here I am.>>> Joining the club with the rest of the world and am now feigning the aroma, the taste, the warmth of a “cup of Joe.” Wait, that anecdote doesn’t sound fancy enough for the coffee that I am craving. It’s more like a “Cuppa Java” or something. If you want to know the meaning of cup of Joe, I just got curious too (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cup_of_joe).

The point of no return and reason I found myself googling “how to use a chemex” is that we had a snow storm & I got 3 days in a row of delish made-with-love pour over coffee courtesy of my husband. And when I got a craving for it today – I decided that watching a instructional Youtube videos and going home and making a cup is the perfect lunch time activity. I made the cup and it was fun! And I may Still be running off of energy from it, woo.

The most stressful part was honestly that I didn’t watch a video of how to fold the filter or dump in the coffee (you literally just pour the fresh grinds into the filter lol).

But I figured it out. Tonight, the husband asked me ALL about it and enthusiastically shared his tips.. I had obviously never really bothered to learn enough about his process to make it myself. But now we can be coffee nerds together, I ‘spose. It’s kind of an expensive hobby but in moderation, it’s actually cheaper per cup than splurging on a latte. After our long discussion with all the details I would’ve normally not listened too, I realized that we are SUPER NOVICE in our preparation of fancy coffee. Okay, he is moving towards an intermediate level but apparently people know the most appropriate water temperature is for brewing a bean depending on the altitude in which it was grown. WOW. These people know so much. They are crazy. I want to know all the things that they know about coffee. I should also say that we are already behind in our technology for pour overs, there’s some sort of fancy contraption that’s better than the Chemex or V60 but I can’t remember the name for the life of me (after hearing it probably 10 times).

My next steps are as follows:

  • practice my pouring technique
  • learn more about different types of coffee beans
  • read up on coffee tastes and brewing methods to know the words to say about the coffee-related things
  • follow all of the crazy coffee people on Instagram

Feel free to judge or secretly curse me for making time to brew fancy coffee and also finding a bit of time to blog about it. People use their time for worse things & I’m currently fulfilled/feel good about my life schedule 🙂