MJH in Berlin

MJH in Berlin

Matt made it to Berlin! And despite flying for 6 hours and arriving at 1am his time, fielding a new country, currency and language and making his way to downtown Berlin to find my apartment, he had a less eventful morning than I did.

It’s been so dry here that I woke up with a bloody nose and then spilled coffee all over… well, all over something white that doesn’t belong to me. Given that this whole apartment is white, that gives me a lot of options. So my morning consisted of a lot of bad language and frantic attempts to clean blood off my face and coffee out of things for which it was never intended. And all this before 8am.

Despite that, I think the matter is solved – certainly my nose has stopped bleeding – and Matt arrived to be a witness to my insanity and patiently endured my endless “can you see the coffee here? how about here? here? Can you see it here?” questions when really he just wanted to drink some coffee and perhaps take a nap.

MJH in Berlin

Coffee first while we waited for Berlin to wake up and start serving breakfast. But somehow my favorite place never opened – Factory Girl! Why why?? – so we went to another coffee house where we had breakfast sandwiches and Matt posted this picture on Facebook exclaiming “first meal in Berlin!”

MJH breakfast

My favorite comment on that picture was “and you ordered a bagel???” Even in Europe, bagels win out occasionally.

I then had my almost last German lesson where I suffered through instructions on how to tell time on a 12 hour clock. If you don’t think that’s complicated, read this post because he explains it more lucidly than I ever could. Then I came home with my head positively stuffed with knowledge to roust Matt from his slumbers and drag him out to enjoy Berlin.

We started with food. BBQ in fact.

Markthalle Neun

I know! This is Berlin! Bagels and BBQ? What are we even doing?? But you know what? it was bad-assedly delicious so I’m not even sorry.

I took him through Kreuzberg, my favorite street art neighborhood where I always find something new. Here are a few finds from this trip:

These painted lovers

Oberbaum Bridge

And this sprawling epic depicting the fall of the Berlin wall and the rise of the almighty Euro.


We ended up at East Side Gallery, for my third visit. And I found new sights there as well, of which this was one of my favorites.

Berlin wall

And this tagged tagger tagging “sic semper tyrannis”

Sic semper tyrannis

A few silly photos because these faces demand it

MJH in Berlin

And a final sobering reminder of the reason for this wall

Berlin Wall

I love this gallery. It remains one of my favorite things in Berlin.

We finished the day on the other side of town at KaDaWe, Berlin’s fanciest department store. Berliners love these whirling cyclone-like installations apparently. This one reminds me a lot of the cyclone in the Reichstag Dome.


KaDaWe’s 6th floor is all gourmet food. Dinner? As if you had to ask. How about currywurst? (and an Asian salute)

MJH and Currywurst

An upscale shi-shi department store version of Berliner street food, Kaitlyn.? For real? I know. Our food has been all kinds of backwards today. But it was damn good and I’d do it again. And this rhubarb, raspberry, white chocolate dessert too.


Ok, that’s a quick and dirty first day. Tomorrow, more Berlin.

Berlin Wall

Lunch in Ft. Lauderdale


Rok Brgr

How about brie, sautéed mushrooms and onions, thick cut bacon and no bun with lots of dipping sauces on the side? That was mine. You should design your own burger at Rok Brgr. Turkey burger? Done. 12 kinds of cheese? Alright. Loaded tots with bacon and sour cream served in a cast iron skillet? You know you want to.  Or maybe a side salad to take the edge off your cholesterol guilt? Rok Brgr has all this and outdoor seating. Boom.

Or maybe BBQ is more your style?

Tom Jenkins BBQ

Then go over to Tom Jenkins and get in line. The place is minute, there’s always a wait and you might need a back up plan for where you actually eat because chances are good that the 4 tables inside will all be full by the time you get your food. But the smoker is ancient, the meat is incredible and don’t forget the peach cobbler. Good BBQ In Florida? Who knew?

For those of you who need linen napkins with your lunch,

Tap 42

Try Tap 42. Craft beer, hand crafted cocktails and hand crafted craft beer cocktails. So many options! The bar is indoor/outdoor, the patio is breezy and shady and the food is delicious. Try the mussels and the quinoa salad.

And just for grins, how about a late night option?

Rocco's Tacos

Get the guacamole at Rocco’s Tacos and watch them prepare it table side. Follow it up with tacos and pitchers of margaritas.The margaritas have a punch to them so beware… In addition to the great food, I love the Mexican art work inside and all the beautiful light fixtures. On the weekends the place is jam packed, the music is loud and the place is hopping but during the week you can sit on the patio without any wait.

Nice job, Ft. Lauderdale! You’ve got a lot more going on than just the beach.

Ft. Lauderdale

Fortune telling and Nashville barbeque

I love Nashville. I think there’s a little more country in me that I like to admit. I love the southern-ness and the music and the people. Nashville has a nice mix of southern charm and business so people here are polite but can actually define the word “urgency,” even if they don’t like to demonstrate those attributes in their off time. They’re also remarkably calm about their crowded downtown driving conditions, which are possibly the worst I’ve seen since LA.

I got a lot of errands done today (despite the traffic) and spent the rest of my afternoon seeing the sights and going to the Country Music Hall of Fame. I’ve been to this museum several times because my best friend’s mom is a docent there and I can always get tickets. Now I just breeze in to see the newer exhibits because I’ve already seen the rest of it. But I always take a walk through the glass cases full of country star clothes. I love the fearless way these old school music stars dressed. It’s sequins on top of sequins and when you run out of room, throw a handful of rhinestones at it. Still not there? Perhaps I can recommend some fringe? Don’t forget your eyelashes and your fake nails! Now put on those pointed toe boots, tease up that hair and sing like you mean it!

And yet all these stars considered themselves down home country girls at heart. Consider this display of hand picked cotton in a crystal dish from Tammy Wynette:

It’s the great paradox of country music. Flash and glitter with a side of mama’s biscuits. Kinda like Nashville.

After the museum I wandered up and down Broadway and got my fortune told by Elvis and Willie Nelson.

Elvis recommended that I be true to myself and said I was “coming out of a fog” so I think he might be a little bit psychic. Willie said “so much happiness is in store for you that the most brilliantly lighted stars will be put to shame by the brightness of your life” and then said he’d be happy to follow that up but I needed to give him more money. How could he possibly come up with anything better than that? Ever since I saw the movie Big I’ve been a fan of the fortune teller in a box so I think I’ll take these fortunes to heart for the rest of this trip.

I visited Hatch Show Prints and bought some postcards. Loved this one particularly:

And then went to get some Texas style barbq at Judge Beans. I sat at the bar, which I’ve done often on this trip. I find I have a much better chance of meeting and talking to people at the bar than at a table.  The minute I sat down the woman next to me looked over and said “Hi there honey, you want something to drink?” And I thought, “Customers serve customers here?” But instead she (Mary) is the catering director of the restaurant. She’s been in Nashville for 17 years and is ready to get out of here and move to Costa Rica and open a restaurant/bar on the beach.

So Mary and I talked on and off between the times that she’d run off to deliver food and seat people. I think fellow travelers recognize each other so we exchanged cards at the end of the night and she said “Let’s keep in touch and when you’re in Costa Rica you can stay with me.” A year ago that would have sounded strange coming from someone I met an hour ago but last month I spent a night at esta’s place in New Jersey and I met her in a restaurant in New York 2 years ago when we were both sitting at a communal table.  I’ll also see Greta in Albuquerque who was my manicurist in New York about 3 years ago but is also a writer and a painter. So you just never know.

And as for dinner:

Doesn’t that look delicious? Smoked brisket with potato salad and green beans and I poured spicy barbq sauce all over it. Finger licking good! But it’s about time I get out of the south before my Bikram output and my food intake cease to equal each other.

I’ll leave you with a Nashville landmark, nicknamed the “Penis de Milo” by the NashTrash girls, for reasons somewhat un-obvious in this picture so use your imaginations.

I’ll be posting somewhat sporadically over the weekend while I’m in Cabo chasing the sun but I promise some beach pictures. I’ll be back to Nashville on Monday and on the road by Tuesday. Next week I’ll be in the Midwest: Indiana, Chicago and Missouri.

Have a great weekend.