TRAVEL NOTES::DAY 12 | HALLOWEEN IN BERLIN

saffron green door

Breakfast came earlier than usual this morning as we needed to vacate the flat and move our luggage over to Oma's. We spent half an hour before breakfast gathering all our belongings. Packing the four puzzles I purchased for the children proved to be a challenge.

It was good I did not purchase the black and white puzzle I wanted for myself as there would have been no space for it in my duffle bag. I needed the extra space for a few chocolates, nougat, and marzipan.

We first walked over Saffron's suitcase and backpack the one block away to Oma's house on our way to buy our morning bakery treats. Saffron wanted one last croissant, initially wanting to split one with me before deciding she wanted an entire one to herself. We also bought two apfeltaschen. The pastries, muesli, and milk made for a full breakfast for Saffron.

After we moved everything over to Oma's and returned the keys to the flat through the mail slot (as nobody was home), we walked over to Wilmersdorferstrasse towards the bungee trampoline.

Saffron had been eyeing this "ride" all week long and wished to jump on it. The weight limit for the equipment started at 17kg. Saffron weighs 20kg with clothing and shoes so she was lucky to be able to make the limit.

saffron bungee trampoline

The ride lasted five minutes and at one point she simply hung in the air as her weight was too low to propel her downwards. I photographed her and then fussed with my camera as I tried remembering how to activate the video feature of the DSLR. In so doing, I missed the moments she turned around - twice. "Be in the moment" are words which came to mind. I was disappointed at myself for having not been in the moment.

saffron flying

After the ride, she was able to select two pieces of gummy candy. "Mama, take a picture", I heard her say. I found she has great pleasure in viewing past moments I manage to capture as I often hear her instruct me to photograph something.

jump treats

Our next stop was Kardstadt where we spent over half an hour perusing the chocolate section. Many of the German chocolates we are able to purchase back home at Cost Plus World Market during the holidays so I wanted to avoid buying those particular ones.

We passed by the discount tables every five minutes as the store clerks were busy stocking the tables. I wanted to see if there was anything to my liking. One section of the table had the Königsberger Marzipan from Schwermer in large boxes and of the mixed variety. My preference is for the simple small pieces of burnt marzipan.

The box of Niederegger nougat I kept passing up until I finally decided to buy the box of specialty pralines. December is the time I set aside for indulging in marzipan, nougat, and chocolates which is only a month away. I wished I'd bought the Advent boxes of mini marzipan from Niederegger for my two little ones but I will have to see if I can order it online somewhere to arrive in time for the first of December.

After more walking around Wilmersdorfer Strasse, we decided to ride the S7 to Savignyplatz for pizza. Only after we had already boarded the train did I remember we were riding for one stop and could have simply walked the distance.

As we sat waiting the five minutes for the subway, I noticed more colourful graffiti along the wall of the station. My favourite piece was one in red, purple, black, and brown which was covered in vines. The composition of nature with art was interesting and unique.

subway graffiti black blue red
subway graffiti leaves

Exiting at the Savignyplatz station, we walked in the opposite direction of our intended destination for two minutes until I realised we needed to turn back. I promised Saffron I would take her to eat pizza once. La Piazza was our destination but we will never return here again.

I must have remembered the pizza differently from the time I ate here last because it was the worst pizza I have tasted in a long time. Burnt crust edges, oily dough, soggy and overly thin middle section, and frozen tasteless spinach. The waiter inquired about my not finishing my pizza. I decided to be a little honest and tell him what I thought about the crust and spinach.

The waiter tried to remedy the situation by offering me an espresso. I should have refused as I had a feeling it would not be good. I could smell the bitterness as soon as the small cup was placed on the table. I dared myself to try it after pouring in as much sugar as there was coffee. One sip was enough and I decided I would not risk a stomach ache today. I pushed the espresso away and waited for my daughter to eat her "sad" pizza.

"My pizza is sad", I heard my daughter say. She laughed as she picked up a slice of her kid pizza and it flopped over. It was funny at the time but not funny as I started to eat my pizza. I was disappointed for the second time today.

Two summers ago when I was in Berlin, I vowed never to eat pizza at a restaurant. I should have listened to myself. Or I am simply spoiled with making my own pizza dough with toppings I prefer - olive oil, crushed Urfa peppers, feta, Kalamata olives, and garlic. Whatever the case, I will not be returning to this restaurant.

la piazza savignyplatz

I decided we would walk back instead of taking the subway. Along the way we discovered a tree stump, some pretty flowers, and Saffron's school.

goethestrasse
saffron on wooden stump
purple flowers

Saffron was excited when she realised we could see her classroom from the street. She pointed out her kite in the window. "The second window from the last", she stated. Her kite was the one with a purple bow on it, she let me know as she smiled.

saffron school

As I photographed her in front of her school, she let me know about the candy store across the street. She told me the kids go often to the store to buy lollipops. I asked her if she did. She said she did sometimes.

saffron school entrance

I handed her some coins and we walked over to the candy store where I told her she could pick out a lollipop. She was not expecting this, which was good. Bubblegum is her favourite, she told me. So she picked out a lollipop and we continued on our way down Goethestrasse.

candy store across school

Across the street from Oma's building is a playground where a party was to start later in the afternoon. On the ground were carved pumpkins and a butternut squash which caught my eye as I've never seen a carved butternut squash.

butternut squash face

Halloween is not a beloved holiday of mine. It never has been nor will ever be a holiday I celebrate other than handing out the mini Haribo, mini Rittersport, and other German treats we've been known to give. I realised Halloween in Berlin is different than in the States.

Saffron was invited to walk around Wilmersdorfer Strasse this afternoon with two friends. She wasn't sure if she should dress up so she did not at first. Her friend handed her a witch's hat which was part of the other friend's costume. I heard one girl asking Saffron if she didn't wear a costume because she couldn't afford it. At that point I told my daughter we would go home so she could change into her princess dress as Oma's place was right around the corner.

We returned and the girls had fun walking from store to store saying "süße oder saure" (sweet or sour). I was surprised how many stores gave them treats. They gathered quite the collection of candies albeit nothing like the typical chocolates handed out back home. Most of the items given out here were hard candies.

I was informed by Oma about the eggs thrown at people's windows during Halloween. For this reason, Oma does not like the holiday. I was skeptical about eggs being thrown until I heard what sounded like a bomb going off in the distance. It turned out it was not distant at all. Teenagers threw three eggs at Oma's double-paned windows tonight - something which will not be easy to clean.

Although I might not like the holiday, my daughter had a fun time with her friends. In the end, her happiness is all that really matters.

saffron valeria alecia