Ever since I arrived in Berlin, 2 weeks ago now, I’ve had to adjust to the local food. And by “adjust”, I mean it’s usually great, cheap and with portions large enough to feed a group of (young) elephants. To top it off, it’s SUPER veggie friendly: like, you have falafels at every street corner when I can tell you top of mind how many falafel shops there are in the entire city of Paris. 42.
There is one tiny little problem, however: falafels aren’t necessarily the food of choice for dieters. Not that I needed it — when I arrived. But now, 2 weeks down the line, is a somewhat different story. You see, the problem is that I have a Sudanese falafel place right down the street from my house and, for a whole 2.50€, you will get a delicious falafel with peanut sauce on it, because that would just be too light otherwise. Also in my street are: a Persian restaurant, a couple of Vietnamese places, a local café with great brunches (all week long, all day long), a French-German fusion place, half a dozen delis full of pastries… and one of the best ice cream parlours in town.
It took a couple of days before I started getting out of line for real: that time when I went for a Sudanese falafel, then ice cream, and I had been awake for perhaps 3 hours, 2.5 of which I’d spent lying on the couch. The cat was more active than me (he thought he heard a mouse). The kicker was that I actually felt hungry, despite the fact that I had no possible reason for that, since I’d eaten a huge dish of Mexican tacos the night before. And finished my fiancée’s plate, because she’s tinier than me. And more reasonable.
Also, I may have failed to mention that I don’t drink water in this town. The reason is simple: they have incredible non-alcoholic drinks everywhere. In Paris, the best you’ll get is a Fanta. Who the f**k drinks Fanta past the age of 10, I ask of you? Not me, I don’t. But I will drink rhubarb soda any day of the week if you ask nicely (and even if you don’t). The absolute best Berlin drink, of course, is not even that, but Mate. You know, that tea-based soda they came up with way back when that has very little sugar, way better taste than Red Bull and more caffeine than a jug of coffee dipped into a jar of Coke? Yeah, that. The thing is, though, if all you drink is soda (and coffee, because of course), there will come a point when your body notices.
Then came yesterday. We started the day with another crazy activity I didn’t come up with called running. In Tempelhof, no less, Hitler’s old airfield-turned-park which offers a near perfect round track around its 2 landing strips (no joke). A full 6 kilometers of running in the morning sun and I was ready to a) drink every Mate in town, b) eat every falafel in town, or any other available solid food, really. We settled for that French fusion place literally down our flat (like, the terrace ends at our doorstep), then ice cream. Then, for some reason (that reason being a couple of kids wanting to play), we ended up throwing frisbees around most of the afternoon, which means I was again dying for Mate and any kind of food there was.
When I ended up finishing 3 dishes at dinner, I realized I had a problem. When I still grabbed ice cream after that, I realized it was bad.