döner kebap in Berlin, Germany

Table for One: What I ate in Berlin.

I’m not one of those backpackers who is content to make pasta in the hostel kitchen. I like to eat. I like to go out to eat. I like to try new foods and cuisines.

It’s a hard thing to do, when you’re in a new place and have no idea where to go. It’s especially hard being alone. It’s taken a lot of courage to even go into a restaurant to begin with.

I suppose if I were a braver sort I could saunter into whichever restaurant I think looks best and declare “table for one” in whatever language I need to.

But I’m not. So I walk around, bypassing restaurants that look good or that have interesting sounding menus and instead look for something that has a lot of open seats. I meagerly butcher, “sprechen sie Englisch?” then mumble something like, “do you have room for just one?” And I do this with a doubtful face and holding up my pointer finger in the air to demonstrate “one.”

And then I get seated at the bar or at a little corner table. Back when I visited Amsterdam they once cleared off the table they kept their trays on for me.

I’ve been trying to eat well, though I don’t think Berlin is the place to go for German food. I’ve seen plenty of Italian places and Mexican places and other random cuisines, but really no restaurants with German food.

I never got around to trying curry wurst, the local specialty of slices of sausage drowned in ketchup. Despite the fact that I love things drowned in ketchup, I’m not a fan of sausage. I did, however, get donor kebap. Twice.

doner kebap

doner kebap

And I went to an Italian restaurant, where I was sat at the bar. And decided, in an effort to try something new, to order from the specials menu which was printed on a chalkboard in German. I ended up with a spaghetti topped with tuna fish. Which was delicious and something I definitely would have never tried on my own.

Spaghetti Tonno

And then I went to a burger restaurant that wouldn’t have been my first choice but seemed, I guess, tourist friendly. It was good though. I got a burger with goat cheese and onions and walnut vinaigrette. And a fortune cookie with a much needed fortune.

Hamburger at White Trash Fast Food

A friendly conversation can remove barriers. It's worth the trial.

And I’ve been going to coffee shops in the morning, picking a new one each day. And ordering a cappuccino. Because it’s the only word on the menu board I understand.



And I stopped for organic, no-sugar-added, frozen yogurt at a place I passed the other day after already having had ice cream. It looked like a cute place so I went back. Because a girl has to satisfy her sweet tooth no matter where int he world she is.

Efa's Frozen Yogurt

So here’s hoping as I keep traveling I’ll get a little braver in the restaurants I try and in asking for a place to sit. Or, better yet, find some people to share a meal with so I’m not always at a table, or barstool, for one.


p.s. here’s a previously unblogged photo of some yummy frozen yogurt I got in Brooklyn!
Frozen yogurt from Culture in Brooklyn

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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