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Berlin Video: Along the Wall with Zille Quitmann

Between our appetite for handmade pasta and our experience working a job traditionally reserved for men, Zille Quitmann and I had plenty to bond over during our ride through Friedrichshain to Alexanderplatz on Saturday.

Thanks to the cabbie’s fabulous English, I learned that she’s been working as a naturopath and a driving a cab for the past 27 years. She drives almost every day – before, after and between appointments with patients.

Here’s what Zille had to say when I asked her about the female cab driving force in Berlin. If you watch until the end of the segment, she also reveals some fascinating tidbits about her work with ladies of the night. (By the way, that’s the largest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall in the background until 0:58, and, no, I didn’t plan it like that.)

There have been a lot of moments over the past 6 months when I was glad I’d gotten my yellow cab license, but none were as gratifying as when I told Zille that I drive a taxi in New York. Judging from her reaction, I thought it was safe to ask about her favorite thing to eat in Berlin:

In the end, it wasn’t the distance to Montagnola that kept the cabbie from taking me there – it was the fact that they’re not open for lunch. I’ll report back on the hand-made pasta after I visit the restaurant later this week.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about calling Zille and asking her to put on her naturopathy cap: maybe she has something that would help me sleep?

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  1. Neat so far! If you want to sleep…warm milk and cookies or a quick walk might help you get tired enough for sleep.

  2. Hi Layne,

    thank you for your wonderful blog and your radio feature on Kulturradio Berlin this morning.
    If you are still in Berlin, do not miss my favourite Korean restaurant-in-a-way :-) called “Arirang”. Most of its guests are Asian students: It is a true sleeper and insider tip. Their decoration is not the suiting scenery for romantic candlelight dinners, but their food is absolutely authentic – and absolutely YUMMY!
    The “Arirang” is a moderate 5 minutes walk from the underground station Seestrasse (U-line No. 6 to Tegel. The station is a 9 minutes train ride northbound from U6 Friedrichstrasse). The restaurant is located on Seestrasse, 40 footsteps past the corner Seestrasse/Togostrasse. It is so small and inconspicuous that you probably would pass it by without realizing it, if you do not know the adress.

    As a passion I keep roaming Berlin in search of adventurous, yummy yet reasonably priced food. It would be an honour and pleasure for me to share our experiences and show you some of Berlin’s “culinary treasures for the low-paid”. :-) How about that small Taiwanese noodle kitchen in Berlin-Charlottenburg? Or several places that offer absolutely gorgeous homemade ice-cream [the latter being one of my obsessions – IMHO well-made ice cream should be declared basic food :-)].

    Enjoy your stay in Berlin and have a great time here!

    Sincerely, Peter

    • Peter, thank you so much. Your tips are INCREDIBLE. Incredible! I’d love to taste some of your favorite spots – I’m a huge fan of food treasures for the poor. I’m here for about another week, so hopefully we can make it happen. But I’m planning to come back to Berlin in April (this is a magic city – I’ve totally fallen in love with it), so if we can’t do it now we can definitely do it in the spring!
      Best wishes,