23 April 2016
The weather wasn’t quite as nice as my Dad and I emerged for our second day in Berlin. We started the morning just as we had the one before – with a trip to Weyers for breakfast. This time, I went for the scrambled eggs with mushrooms, ham and onions. It was fine but not as good as the eggs and bacon I had on my first trip. The onions were a bit much. Still I left feeling very full and appreciated the walk over to Berlin’s zoological garden – which was where today’s activity was taking place.
My Dad had taken me to Berlin zoo on my first ever visit to the city when I was 15 – when the famous baby polar bear Knut (who sadly died a few years later) first arrived. It turns out you are never too old to be taken to the zoo by your parents because here we were again – nine years later. On our first trip, I remember the zoo being a bit sad. Several of the cages seemed quite small and there was a bit orangutan with its face pressed up against the class. Since then, however, I’d heard people say how good it was, and I assumed it had probably changed in the past few years.
We arrived at about 11.30am and joined a queue mainly made up of families. Entry to the zoo was €14.50 per adult but for €20 you could get access to the aquarium next door as well, so that’s what we did. It turned out to be a very long day. We were in the zoo itself for at least four hours, stopping only for an ice cream. We saw elephants, rhinos, bears, llamas (lots of llamas), giraffes, zebra, ostriches, kangaroo, wolves, wild dogs, hippos, seals, penguins, flamingo, gorillas, chimpanzees, warthogs, bush babies and many more. There was so much to see. However, there were again a few times where I felt a bit uncomfortable. To me, the orangutans still looked sad and one of the lions was making some very not-happy sounding noises (not that I speak lion). Although I do think there are good things about zoos, I think some animals really need wider spaces.
Finally, when our feet were seriously aching, we turned to go to the aquarium. The first floor was filled with fish (no surprises there). Some were big, some were small, some were sharks and some were jellyfish. The second and third floors were filled with reptiles, amphibians and insects. There were crocodiles, tortoise, snakes, lizards, tarantulas and frogs – not all of which you could spot through the foliage in their tanks. I think that would be a great business idea – filling tanks full of green plants, claiming there’s frogs in there and getting people to pay to come and see them. Then, when they can’t spot them, just say they’re camouflaged. I think I’m gonna be rich.
After about an hour here, we stopped off at the cafe for some much needed rest – although even sitting down, my feet still hurt as they touched the floor. My slice of chocolate cake helped though. Finally, it was time to leave. Our original plan had been to head home after the zoo and go out for an early dinner. We were going to go to one of my favourite restaurants in Kreuzberg – Chaapa – and wanted to get there before the tables filled up. We hadn’t really left any time to crash out but it was also still too early for food. Especially after the cake. Instead, we headed back to the Karstadt for a bit more of a wander around the shops until we could justify more food.
It wasn’t actually long until we headed over to Kottbusser Tor – where I had lived for a month in 2013. My favourite place in Berlin. Chaapa is a Thai restaurant on Adalbertstraße which I have visited several times over the past few years. Every time, I order the exact same main – chicken phad si lew (fried noodles). It’s just the best. On this occasion, I also had a plate of spring rolls to start which were good but I really didn’t need them. I was too full to finish my plate of noodles in the end, which was such as waste but it still felt good to be back in one of my old haunts. I can’t even explain how much I’ve missed it.
After dinner, we went for a short stroll, passed my old flat and along Oranienstrasse – a popular street in Kreuzberg. There were lots of bars we could have stopped in at but I was literally too full to be able to consume anything else so we headed back for another early and to finish off watching Lord of the Rings. We both managed to stay awake this time.