Tag Archives: Berlin

So you want to marry a German

16 Jan

It was right around this time last year that we completed the paperwork for our Germany wedding. As soon as we got engaged, I spent hours googling “how to get married in Germany” and “U.S. citizen marrying a German.” There was a lot of information to dig through, and it’s good we started the process early. You definitely want to leave plenty of time for the red tape.

the-wild-child-red-tape

As a German citizen, Sebastian needed his ID card and a fresh copy of his birth certificate, which I think he was able to obtain through the mail. As an American citizen, I was required to provide a bit more information.

  • Birth certificate
  • US passport
  • Certificate of free status
  • Proof of income

We were aiming for a church wedding on July 16, and we wanted the legal ceremony to take place before then. Only marriages performed at a Standesamt (registrar’s office) are legally valid in Germany. And you can only apply up to six months before the wedding date. We decided that I should travel to Berlin the week of January 18 to ensure we had the best chance of being approved for July.

There was some prep work to complete for we applied. First, I needed my birth certificate, but I needed it to be issued within the last six months. This was easy to obtain through my county’s Vital Statistics department. I mailed a request along with payment, and my certificate arrived in about a week.

In order for my U.S. birth certificate to be accepted by German authorities, it required an Apostille. The U.S. and Germany are part of a treaty called the “Hague Convention,” which allows documents originating in one country to be recognized in all other countries as long as it bears the Apostille stamp. Luckily, I could also get this by filling out a form and sending it along with payment and my birth certificate to the Ohio Secretary of State  service center. I think this also arrived back in about a week.

The kicker was that all my English documents had to be submitted along with an official translation. I had to make sure I received everything early enough so we could hire a translator to translate everything into German. I sent all my documents to Sebastian, and he handled this on his end.

I also needed an “Ehefähigkeitszeugnis,” which is a certificate of free status stating I was legally free to marry. This document could only be obtained by appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate General in Frankfurt, so I made an appointment for when I would be there.

Once I arrived in Berlin, we had one week to complete everything, and it was definitely stressful at times. Our first appointment was with the Standesamt. We arrived with all our documents (minus the certificate of free status, since it could be turned in later) early Tuesday morning in hopes of getting the first appointment of the day. It all started smoothly. The registrar checked our documents while we filled out the rest of the application. However, we didn’t realize we needed an official translator for the appointment. We had assumed Sebastian could translate for me, but this was not the case. We couldn’t submit our application and began scrambling to find a translator. For a heftier fee we found a guy who was available on Thursday.

On Wednesday, I went for my appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to receive my certificate of free status. It was January, absolutely freezing, and we had to wait outside in the cold before being processed through security. There has to be a better system, people. You also can’t take anything with you, including my phone and purse. Or your Fitbit. I had to leave mine behind with security since I forgot to take it off. It worked out that Sebastian couldn’t come with me since he served as my personal locker. Once inside, I went to the appropriate office and began waiting. Even with an appointment, you still have to take a number. I sat for about 30 minutes before being called. The paperwork took another 20, and then I had to wait another 30 before paying. It was a long, boring process, but I left with my official certificate. Yay!

We went back to the Standesamt on Thursday, along with our official translator. In no time at all we completed our application and paid the fee. At the end of the appointment we were penciled in for July 15. We still needed to be approved by the high state court since I was a foreigner, but a few weeks later Sebastian received confirmation we were approved. Woohoo! We were on our way to becoming husband and wife.

In case you’re wondering what everything cost, here’s a rough breakdown:

  • U.S. Birth Certificate + Express Postal Fees: $50
  • Germany Birth Certificate: $15
  • Apostille + Express Postal Fees: $30
  • Translating Documents: $70
  • Certificate of Free Status: $50
  • Translator: $140
  • Application Fee:$75

I want to do a longer post about our Standesamt ceremony, but here’s a picture of us shortly after we were married…

the-wild-child-just-married

Totally worth the red tape.

P.S. Happy six months of wedded bliss, Sebastian! xoxo

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Café am Neuen See

26 Dec

Guten Tag! Hope you had a lovely Christmas! As you’re reading this, I’m currently making my way to Germany for a week of exploring, restaurant hopping and relaxation. If all goes as planned I’ll be on the ground Saturday morning, giving the BF a big hug.

Today I wanted to share my favorite spot in Berlin, Café am Neuen See.

On the Lake | www.the-wild-child.com

Pizza and Beer | www.the-wild-child.com

Café am Neuen See is a restaurant and biergarten located within the Tiergarten Park. I love the biergarten, especially on a warm day. You can sit by the lake, enjoy a beer and some pizza, and take comfort in the shade.

Cafe Am Neuen See Biergarten  | www.the-wild-child.com

Cafe Am Neuen See Lake   | www.the-wild-child.com

I’ve actually never eaten at the restaurant, but we made reservations there for New Year’s Eve or Silvester. There’s an awesome menu planned with champagne and fireworks. I have a hunch I’m going to like it.

Biergarten in #Berlin  | www.the-wild-child.com

Café am Neuen See
Lichtensteinallee 2, 10787 Berlin
+49 030 2544930

Tidings of comfort and joy

24 Dec

Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Hope you have a lovely holiday filled with so much joy. I can’t wait for Christmas day with my family and then heading off to Berlin.

Have a good one. xoxo

Brandenburg Gate  | www.the-wild-child.com

Photo from my first trip to Berlin in 2010.

Eating in Berlin, part 2

19 Dec

Guess what?! This time next week I’ll be on my way to Germany. Sebastian and I debated New Year’s Eve plans, but we both decided it would be fun if I went there this year. I can’t wait to be back in Berlin, a city I fall in love with more and more every time I visit.

As I prepare for the trip, I thought it would be fun to share some of the awesome restaurants we tried on my last visit. Please excuse the lack of photos for some locations.

Melbourne Canteen
Pannierstraße 57, 12047 Berlin – Neukölln
+49 030 62731602

If you’re in the mood for a laid back breakfast, this is the place to go. Sebastian often comes here on the weekends for brunch and newspaper reading. When we went together, I ordered scrambled eggs with avocado and toast and some tomato juice, although I should have opted for the Bloody Mary. Next time.

Ständige Vertretung
Schiffbauerdamm 8, 10117 Berlin – Mitte
+49 030 2823965

Located on the Spree, this is a great spot for a cold beer and some people watching. Sebastian says his Dad loves to come here when he visits Berlin.

Standige Vertretung  | www.the-wild-child.com

Drinks at Standige Vertretung | www.the-wild-child.com

Fratelli La Bionda
Bergmannstraße 31, 10961 Berlin – Kreuzberg
+49 030 63901770

We went here for date night during my visit. It was the perfect place to sit outside, share a bottle of wine and enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine.

Burrata | www.the-wild-child.com

Steak Tartar | www.the-wild-child.com

Pasta

Buchkantine
Dortmunder Strasse 1, 10555 Berlin – Moabit
+49 030 94883728

This bistro is located along the Spree and is actually quite close to Sebastian’s apartment. We went here for a late breakfast one morning. It has a lovely deck that is built around a giant tree. There is also a bookshop inside, but we never checked it out.

Buchkantine in #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

German Breakfast | www.the-wild-child.com

Chez Michel
Adalberstraße 83, 10997 Berlin – Kreuzberg
+49 030 20845507

We met our friends Maik and Kristine here for dinner. We sat outside at a tiny table and shared different dishes. It’s a no fuss kind of place – you order at the counter and they bring the food to you. But the food itself is simple and good.

Monsieur Vuong
Alte Schönhauserstraße 46, 10119 Berlin – Mitte
+49 030 99296924

I’ve shared this restaurant before, but I’m doing it again anyway. I love the cozy atmosphere and the amazing Vietnamese food. I know no matter when we visit, we’ll always get a great meal. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Monsieur Vuong  | www.the-wild-child.com

Spring Rolls  | www.the-wild-child.com

The California Breakfast Slam
Innstraße 47, 12045 Berlin- Neukölln
+49 030 6869624

This is one of those restaurants that feels so European yet so American. I can picture walking into a place like this in Portland or Ohio City, but here it is on the streets of Berlin. If you’re looking for fancy decor, this is not the place for you. The food was fantastic though. Order the pancakes and thank me later.

Breakfast Platter  | www.the-wild-child.com

Pancakes | www.the-wild-child.com

Gastón Tapas Bar
Weichselstraße 18, 12045 Berlin – Neukölln
+49 162 8199853

I loved this restaurant – it’s probably my favorite out of all the stops on this list. We ended up here on a Friday night with a group of friends, ordering rounds of beer and sharing tapas. If I ever live in Berlin, you’ll find me here often.

Gaston Restaurant  | www.the-wild-child.com

Markthalle Neun
Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, 10997 Berlin

There are several market halls like this in Berlin. This one reminds me of the West Side Market in Cleveland except on a smaller scale. You can find anything here from flowers to goat cheese to fresh bread and fish. We went for the meat, specifically Big Stuff Smoked BBQ. I can’t even describe the amazingness, so enjoy the photos below.

Markthalle Neun #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Lemonade | www.the-wild-child.com

BBQ in #Berlin  | www.the-wild-child.com

P.S. In case you missed it, here is Eating in Berlin, part 1.

Biking in Berlin

22 Nov

Every time I visit Europe, I always get this urge to ride a bike. We don’t have many cities in the states where biking is convenient, but over there it feels more accessible. So on my latest trip to Germany, I talked Sebastian into renting bikes one morning.

Biking in #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Biking in #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to ride around Berlin. The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and the tourists were scarce. We started with a ride through Tiergarten park and then made our way through the city. It was such a fun way to check out the sites and explore different areas. Eventually we started making our way to Tempelhofer Park.

Brandenburg Gate #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Berliner Dom #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

I adore Tempelhof, and I don’t think I’m in the minority here. It is one of the coolest places in Berlin. What was once an airport has now become a public space for cycling, kite flying and picnics. We kicked off our shoes, lounged on the grass and spent the afternoon people-watching.

Tempelhofer Park #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Biking in Tempelhof #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

No shoes #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Tempelhof Biking #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

We stopped for coffee with Sebastian’s dear friend Maik on our way home and finished the trip with ice cream at a new shop that had just opened nearby. We chatted with the owners for a few minutes, and they found it hysterical that nussbaum is called walnut in English. Who knew walnut was such a funny word?

Victory Column #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

#Berlin street corner | www.the-wild-child.com

Ice Cream Shop #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Ice Cream #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

It was one of those spectacular days that you want to bottle up and keep forever. Can’t wait to go back and do it again. Have you ever biked around a city? What was your experience?

2014 travel plans

28 Feb

Surprise! It’s snowing again in Ohio… All this cold weather has me longing for warmer days and vacation getaways. I love travel planning and daydreaming about all the places I’ll explore. Here’s where I’m planning to head this year…

– Chapel Hill, NC, in March – 

Chapel Hill, NC | www.the-wild-child.com

I can’t wait to visit my dear friend Lindsay in Chapel Hill. I made it there a couple of years ago, and I’ll be heading back next week. The last visit was so lovely. I can only imagine the shenanigans we’ll get into this time around.

– Boston, MA, in April –

Fenway Park

My little brother is running the Boston Marathon with his squadron – what better reason to visit? And we’ll get the chance to hang out with my cousin Alli as well.  We’re planning to attend a game at Fenway Park, and I really hope we do the Sam Adams Brewery tour.

– Berlin, Germany in May –

#Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

The bf and I still haven’t decided if we’re staying in Germany or heading somewhere else, but I’m kind of liking the idea of a staycation in Berlin. Mainly because I have a list of at least ten new restaurants I want to try. And we could do a few day trips to Hamburg or other neighboring cities that I have yet to visit.

– Eugene, OR, in July –

Eugene, OR | www.the-wild-child.com

I’m so excited for this trip! My cousin Kelsey and I will be visiting my sister over the 4th, and I know it’s going to be a blast. Can’t wait to check out Eugene and Portland and see why my sister loves Oregon so much.

– Colorado Springs, CO, in August –

Colorado Springs | www.the-wild-child.com

I had such a great time with my family last year, so I’m heading back to the US Air Force Academy for Parents Weekend. Hopefully Sebastian will join us this year! We’re all renting a big house together in Colorado Springs – good times are guaranteed.

– San Francisco, CA, in September –

San Francisco | www.the-wild-child.com

After a weekend in Colorado, I’m hoping Sebastian and I can do a California trip. I really want to visit San Francisco again or maybe do a wine tour in Northern Cali. Endless options here.

– TBD trip in November –

La Romana | www.the-wild-child.com

Every few years I end up doing a mini-vacation around Thanksgiving. I don’t know where I want to go yet, but maybe somewhere warm. It will probably be snowing by then or at least cold. Caribbean anyone?

– Europe for NYE –

These past two years, Sebastian has visited the states over the holidays, so I’m thinking a trip to see him would be nice. The last time I was in Europe for New Year’s Eve, we spent it in Berlin. I wouldn’t mind visiting again.

Throw in a few wedding weekends, work trips and last-minute decisions to visit friends – this is sure to be another great year of travel.

What about you? Where are you heading this year?

image 2 via, images 4,5,6 courtesy my sister

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Travel plans

5 Mar

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts about traveling is planning the trip. I love thinking about where I might visit or the places I’ll see. It’s already the third month of 2013, and I’ve got the itch to start planning.

Here is where I’m hoping to travel this year:

Chapel Hill, NC

Chapel Hill

I had the chance to visit my friend Lindsay last spring and would love to go again.

Paris, France

Paris

Doesn’t springtime in Paris sound lovely? It does to me.

Colorado Springs, CO

AFA

Labor Day is family weekend at the Air Force Academy. I rarely get to see my little brother, and I’m excited to visit him there.

Berlin, Germany

gate

Every time I visit, I fall more and more in love. Have to make it there again this year.

Milan, Italy

Milan Cathedral

Sebastian’s brother will be studying there this fall, and I think it would be a perfect time to visit.

What about you? Where are you going this year?

images 2 and 5 via

Eating in Berlin

9 Oct

Every time I visit Germany, my friends tell me to eat lots of schnitzel or wurst or sauerkraut. But the truth is, I rarely eat any of those things during my trips. Sure I’ve had amazing schnitzel and delicious currywurst, but not as often as you’d think.

This trip was no different. We dined out at some awesome restaurants (none of them with German cuisine), and I’m already drooling thinking about all the amazing food we ate. The one thing we did keep traditional was breakfast.

A traditional German breakfast consists of a fresh loaf of bread from the local bakery (sometimes croissants and rolls as well), jams, cold cuts and sometimes cheese. The bread is served with butter as a base spread and then a choice of jam, honey or cold cuts for toppings. It’s not a breakfast I was used to, but one I’ve come to love.

And now for the great restaurants in Berlin (in no particular order):

Monsieur Vuong – I seriously heart this restaurant. It’s usually crowded and with good reason – they serve the best Vietnamese food on the planet. The day we ate there it was cold outside, and the fresh chicken soup with rice noodles was exactly what I needed. We also tried the spring rolls, which were beyond good. Another bonus: the menu is in English.

Burgermeister – I didn’t expect to find a good burger in Germany, but I was wrong. A fun place to eat, Burgermeister is located under an S-Bahn track in a former public toilet. What you miss in the comfort of a restaurant, you make up for in a super tasty burger. Yes, you have to stand and eat, but the burger was worth it, and the chili-cheese fries were killer.

Transit – This restaurant is cool because even though it was just Sebastian and me, I could definitely see going there with a large group of friends. The menu offers Thai and Indonesian food served in small bowls (3 euros each) with side orders of rice and noodles (1 euro). The meal was extremely affordable (and delicious), and the dishes have fun names. We tried My Favorite Duck, Crunchy Strips, Smokey Sate, Crispy Pockets and Almost Nude. They also offer the menu in English.

East London – We went here for breakfast one morning, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant’s concept is serving good British food in Berlin – pretty cool. Sebastian had the “Full Monty” and I tried some awesome homemade pancakes. And I have to mention their cappuccino, since it was one of the best I’ve ever had. We’ll definitely be going back next time I visit.

City Chicken – Good God, we ate so much food here it was unreal. And the price was unreal. I think for about 6 euros, you get a half a roasted chicken, salad, french fries, humus, garlic sauce and pita bread. The place has more of a fast food vibe, but the atmosphere didn’t even matter. The food was crazy good.

I don’t have pictures for the last joint, but I have to mention Chapel Bar. For months I’ve heard Sebastian talk about Chapel and this supposedly amazing drink they serve called the Basil Lime Smash. We went there after a concert Friday night and he was right – the drink was amazing and refreshing and delicious. I could seriously go for one right now.

If you’re ever in Berlin, I hope you’ll check out some of these awesome restaurants. And if you feel like it, maybe eat some schnitzel, too!

Berlinstagrams

1 Oct

Another trip to Germany has come and gone. Yesterday I arrived back in the States with so many wonderful memories. I don’t know how it’s possible, but each time gets better and better. And luckily, I won’t have to wait too long for the next visit since Sebastian will be here in November.

I have many stories to share, but until I get caught up on sleep, I’ll just share a few pictures for now. These are the Instagram photos I captured during the trip. I call them Berlinstagrams. Enjoy!

{one of the best burger shops in town}

{views from the Berlin Cathedral}

{a giant map of Berlin}

{yummy food at Transit}

{hanging out on the runway at Tempelhof Park}

{museum island at dusk}

{chicken dinner}

{Berlin Zoo}

{fun. concert}

{miss this guy}

P.S. Happy October! It’s amazing how fast this year is flying by.

Berlin: things to see and do

19 Sep

During my upcoming trip, I’ll be spending the majority of time in Berlin, Germany’s capital city and where Sebastian lives. I’ve really come to love this city. It’s colorful, vibrant, rich in history and always a good time. If you think about all it has been through over the years, it’s incredible to see the beautiful, thriving city it’s become.

It will be my third trip there, but this time will be a little different. When we’ve spent time there before, we were both visitors. Now that Sebastian calls Berlin home, he will really know his way around, and I won’t feel as much like a tourist.

As I prepare for my trip, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite places I’ve experienced in Berlin so far. (And hopefully when I return, I’ll have even more to share with you!)

Brandenburg Gate – This is probably one of the most well-known landmarks of Berlin and Germany. It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. I love seeing it every time I visit as it’s stunning to see, day or night.

Berlin Zoo – The oldest zoo in Germany, it’s located in Berlin’s Tiergarten, very close to where Sebastian lives. I love zoos, and this is my favorite of all the ones I’ve visited. It’s so relaxing to spend the afternoon walking through the zoo, which feels more like a park.

Holocaust Memorial – Located near the Brandenburg Gate, this is a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. It’s very calming to walk among the giant slabs of concrete.

The Reichstag Building – This is the meeting place of German parliament and home to a large glass dome, which has a 360-degree view of the surrounding city. It was freezing the last time I visited, and too cold to take pictures outside the dome. Hopefully it’s much warmer this time around.

There is still so much of Berlin I have yet to see. Here are a few places I would like to visit:

Museum Island – I’ve visited the island, which houses five museums in Berlin, but I haven’t yet been to any of the museums. It’s on my list in case we get a rainy day when I’m there.

(image via)

Tempelhof Park – Opened a couple of years ago, Tempelhof Park was once a fully functioning airport. Now you can roller-skate down a runway or grill under the shadow of an airport terminal. I’m really excited to check it out.

(image via)

Sebastian’s Restaurants – I always hear about the BVB bar where Sebastian watches soccer games or the little restaurant with the best chicken or the amazing burger stand. I’m looking forward to visiting these places in person.

We’ll also be spending two days in Munich for Oktoberfest, but that’s another post. I can’t wait for this trip!