Sunday, 1 September 2013


I was tired - though I didn't quite know it until the next day - after getting to the airport too early because I was anxious not to mess-up dropping off the hired car at Avis (which went off without a hitch) and having the plane delayed almost an hour for take-off. 

Since I had all the time in the world to make friends with Heathrow Terminal 5, I wiled away time by popping into WHSmith for a chance of more books, getting a neat little baby white Ice Watch Solid to swim with and spending a ridiculous amount of time sniffing perfume at the Jo Malone counter.

I was met at Tegel by my cousin. We went to drop the luggage off at her place in the city and then popped out again in search of a good dinner.

Refugium means a place of refuge or hideaway in Latin. I'd like to think this old-grand-dame-of-a-restaurant on Gendarmenmarkt next to the Konzerthaus Berlin we ended-up in on my first night in Berlin is exactly that.

The full moon, a glass of Chardonnay, luscious dessert and a view of the Konzerthaus cafe

While my cousin was more restrained in ordering, I went the whole hog for a 3-course meal and wine. I had juicy langoustines in jus and risotto; a delicious main of veal dumplings sat on a bed of mashed potatoes with touches of beetroot and wasabi on the side, and finally a Mirabelle. A delightful confection of salted caramel ice-cream, chocolate and mirabelle sandwich.

I had no problems sleeping that night but had trouble waking-up the next morning. Alas! My tiredness manifested itself in the form of a migraine, and so I spent my first day in Berlin in bed. 

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