I spent the weekend in a delusional haze in Berlin, dragging my friend from one hole-in-the-wall philatelist to yet another art supply store. In turn, she introduced me to some incredible food and neighborhoods. It's going to take a while to organize my thoughts (and images, thanks to a dead camera) about the design mecca, and about Germany in general. This is because most of the time here I've had an internal monologue that goes like this:

"I think I like Berlin more than Paris. What a horrible thing to say."
"That is horrible. You should stop comparing the two."
"But isn't this what the Germans are known for? Their design?"
"Still, you should be impartial to these two great cities."
"Oh look, another paper store."

For now, let me hone in on Meirei, the first restaurant we went to for lunch, in Prenzlauer Burg. It specializes in Alpine delicacies, which include all sorts of dumplings, bread puddings, oxtail stew, baked goods, sparkling juices. It was impossible to count the thoughtful details, but I'll start with: the Alpine murals of cows and goatherds from 1905; that announcements are written on oversized doilies; that "private" is hand drawn on the door, as is a little heart for no apparent reason; that the newspaper's "Z" is so very elegant, and it publishes historical photos from WWII on the front page; that the savory bread pudding is so very pretty. Tomorrow: cake + blankets.