Woo, everybody! I'm home! But first, let me give you the quick recap of my last few days in Europe. I finished up in Berlin, which comes highly recommended from certain vegans I know, so I was looking forward to it! Here are some pics:
Happy outlet is happy to help you with all your electrical needs!
Yoyo Foodworld. Holy crap, this place is great. It's a lot of really simple stuff, like wraps and burgers. But man, sometimes you just need something simple like a burger. And this place is the bee's knees. I'll be dreaming about their food.
Marijke, my adorable and super-friendly host! She loooves robots! I hope they are kind to her when they take over the world, because she's really been boosting their image.
OHYESOHYESOHYES: This is a faux chicken-cheeseburger thingie I got from Yoyo on Marijke's recommendation. It was a good recommendation. And all those fries! This gigantic meal was somewhere around 5 Euros. Not bad!
Then we walked around the corner to Cupcake, a bakery opened by an American who just decided to up and move to Berlin one day. Not everything is vegan, but she had two vegan pies when Marijke and I visited- I had the blueberry, and Marijke had the apple. Yum yummy!
Ponys fur alle- ponies for everyone! Look at this godless communism still alive and well in East Berlin! It's even in pink spraypaint. What's next, free libraries and healthcare? Go back to Pyongyang, you red!
Some good ol' utilitarian East German architecture, with some fresh modern colors.
Yup, this is East Berlin all right! This is a school with chickens and goats. The goats don't have anything to climb on, though, the poor things. Goats need to climb!
I thought this was hilarious the first time I saw it, without realizing this is actually quite a big trend in Berlin: the beach bar. They bring in truckloads of sand, set up a volleyball net and some reclining chairs, and wrap bamboo around the bar. Later on Marijke went to a seemingly-normal bar that actually had sand inside. I would hate to be the tenant to rent the space after them. They'd be finding sand for years!
Hot dog soup! This is in the same neighborhood as Yoyo Foodworld and Cupcake, where I returned on Sunday for an awesome flea market (where I found original 1980s Adam Ant patches!).
I had a Brazilian hotdog. It's like a regular hotdog, but with no pubic hair.
Ha ha! Some brilliant person printed up these stickers of someone's Brazilian ballsack and had been putting them up in deserving places all over Berlin. This is Michael Wendler, a popular 'schlager' musician. As Marijke explained to me, schlager is kind of a modern folk music that's really popular in Germany. I don't really get it- but hey, David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany, too, so I guess crap is popular among certain people over there! Michael is so beloved that the next day this sticker was removed.
More old-school architecture:
Swamp thing vs. Nazi!
Here are my pics of the East Side Gallery! See the previous post for an explanation on what this is and my rant against tourists who feel the need to write their stupid names on every national monument.
Heaven and Hell! It's Black Sabbath but with Dio instead of Ozzy! it's like they cut the crap right out and stuck a gold nugget in its place! Pranjal and I are hoping to go when they come to California.
The advantages of having a native host is that you get inside jokes explained to you. Like Swedish, the German word for pug is 'mops.' But apparently in Germany 'mops' is slang for breast, so when a woman has two pugs, you can say "nice mops!" Har de har har!
Disturbing and awesome:
Berlin's trademark TV tower!
Lenin's got a new job, now. It's kind of like what happened at the end of The Last Emperor.
Ha ha, poop on Nazis!
Street art in Berlin- there's a lot of crap street art out there, but even more amazing art. I had a great time wandering around looking at some of the enormous DIY pieces out there on the sides of buildings and other strange places- even on abandoned TVs!
The vegan doner shop! They make a seitan-veggie mix and form it in a pillar which is rotated on a spit, just like meat doner! The novelty of it is really entertaining. And I love their logo. What a happy little monster!
My voner and frites. Sadly, I was kind of underwhelmed by the taste of it, but it's cool that it exists in the first place! I wouldn't go to Berlin just for this, but hey, I wouldn't kick it out of bed, either.
On Monday I went to the Carnival of Cultures- which is basically a carnival of cheap crap sold out of tents and drunk people wearing silly hats and outfits. But it was something to do! And it was a holiday, so a lot of other stuff was closed.
Gross! This is how all the German meaty stuff at the festival was prepared- on a giant grill suspended over a giant barbeque pit.
Cute little espresso truck!
A Vietnamese baobao! Some drunk guy was amazed that I was taking pictures of my food. He's obviously never met a vegan before.
I sat for a while and enjoyed a beer on the river in true German festival style! I had to leave a deposit of 2 euros for the glass, which makes me think I should have just taken it. At least I got it back, though. Although the culture shock and slight misunderstanding of it really made the woman working the tent hate me. Although I got that impression from a lot of Germans. Sorry, dudes!
This drunk ass guy was belly dancing. The funny part of it is he wasn't half bad!
Nothing says "punk's not dead" like an eight year-old girl out with her family at a festival. Actually, it was pretty cute.
Beer! Germany knows how to do it right.
After the festival I walked up to nearby Checkpoint Charlie, the historic checkpoint between East and West Berlin.
An old section of the wall. I was kind of surprised at how diminutive it was, at least in comparison to how I'd imagined it.
The old DDR-built cars! You can rent them and drive them around.
The Holocaust memorial at the Brandenburg gate. It was really well done! It looks like a chaotic jumble of stones from a distance, but inside it, you realize that it's neatly laid out in precise rows and columns. As a result, you feel completely isolated in this giant maze of stones, but you are surrounded by people you simply can't see, and can only catch glimpses of. Very thought-provoking!
This made me laugh.
Hans Wurst! This is a pretty chilled out vegan cafe where I was happy to rest a bit and enjoy some coffee and cake. As soon as I sat down it started raining outside, and it was great to just sit there by an open window and listen to the rain while hanging out.
Apricot poppyseed cake. I was sadly a little underwhelmed- especially since the bottom was burnt. But the waiter was super cute, and one of the more friendly waiters I'd met on my trip, so I let it slide...
The Hans Wurst entry!
Back at Yoyo Foodworld! This is Marijke's salad with 'party balls.' Put my balls in your mouth, it'll be a party!
I got a 'bacon cheeseburger.' Totally amazing.
Cute little lemonade truck!
Yellow Sunshine! Another burger joint, it was crazy good.
LOOK AT THIS THING OH MY GOD! It's their Hawaiian chicken burger- it had faux chicken patties, faux cheese, faux bacon, and pineapple. It was baby Jesus in a bun.
Somehow all the iced drinks I ordered in Germany were never actually iced. Or perhaps 'iced' has a different meaning in Germany, as in 'let one small cube of ice melt in this piping hot drink so that it's lukewarm.' So this is my "iced" tea. It was still good, though!
Later that day I embarked on my trip home, or at least the first leg of it, flying to Amsterdam and spending the night again in Den Haag before continuing the next day. Thanks so much to Marijke for being such a friendly and accommodating host! It was so great to meet a new vegan buddy! I hope to see her stateside very soon, because I know that would make both of us very happy!