Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Summer in Berlin: off the top of my head

As per meutererin’s recent recommendation, I just re-watched Everything Is Illuminated... I like holding onto memories and oftentimes am left aghast when I’m told it’s better to leg go of a memory and then it will come back to you when you least expect it. I don’t know, if I don’t write something down or take a picture of it or have something to remember the event by, there is a big chance I can forget it. Especially when my most treasured memories are connected to travel and since I’ve done so much of the figural tramping by myself lately, I don’t want to take any chances.

So I kept a list of a few memorable things I did throughout July-September, much like the one I had for my first stay in Berlin.

  1. My July flatshare at Kreuzberg 10969. I had a huge room across the apartment to myself, and a fantastic balcony for brunches. A perfect place for entertaining old and new friends. In that same flatshare I learned that some Germans like salads that include raw mushrooms, now I like them myself.
  2. Visited Bread and Butter with Bernardo. I am no fan of fashion, but it was quite special to be at a closed fashion fair located on the grounds of the former Tempelhof airport. All those free drinks didn’t hurt, either.
  3. Went to a gay bear wedding celebration.
  4. Explored some of Berlin’s lakes. Got introduced to FKK (free body culture) there and quite liked it. Who knew almost everyone in the GDR was a nudist!..
  5. Bought a bike and had to replace both tubes and tires on it, but it was liberating and breathtaking, riding a bike through Berlin. Very cool. I loved discovering new routes.
  6. Was left soaking wet 4 times in the 4 weeks of July after cycling in thunderstorm. Not cool.
  7. For August and September I returned to my already familiar vegan flatshare at Neukölln 12055. It felt like home. With my bar table and an armchair that I dragged all the way up to the 4th floor by myself (pffftt). Being vegan is easy in Berlin. Loved shopping at Maybachufer every Tuesday or Friday.
  8. Juls stopped by and we had a fantastic extended weekend that resulted in her almost leaving with my invalid/back-up foreign passport and me keeping hers.
  9. Had a 1-meter pizza with my friends and couchsurfers in Rixdorf, twice. You need to be 7 or 8 to finish it off. 
  10. Briefly visited the Berlin Bierfestival on Frankfurter Allee with Bernardo. Turns out, a beer festival is just a place with a lot of drunken people and even more beer. Boooring. And no need to ever bother with Oktoberfest.
  11. Played ping pong with couchsurfers on different occasions. The area around the Wasserturm in Prenzlauer Berg is perfect for it.
  12. Re-established the Wednesday party in Schwuz as well as Soul Explosion in Festsaal Kreuzberg  as my favorite Berlin parties. Danced on the stage in Schwuz and felt all vain and good when people had their pictures taken with me (with me and my T shirt, the one that says, a bad day fishing beats a good day working).
  13. Helene visited Berlin and thus me, twice. Fun memories. A lot of conversations about my favorite topics, reminiscing on Istanbul, exploring a couple of exhibitions together, seeing good films, talking life.
  14. Also went to see the final installment of Harry Potter with Helene and her friend. That cost us 12 Euro per person. And I thought 12 Euro for some of the Berlinale films earlier this year was expensive!
  15. Had a nice experience watching the All-German Sunday night TV series, Tatort, in a bar with Helene.
  16. Volksküche!
  17. Went to Milan, Turin and Nice with my mother and had my worst nightmare come to life, we missed her return flight. Bought a last-minute ticket for her to Berlin with me and she stayed with us in our vegan flatshare… Showed her Berlin and introduced her to a couple of restaurants. She is now in love with Berliner Schrippen. As much as I am in love with Laugenbrezeln, still.
  18. Was on the beach in Nice in the evening of August 15, France’s Assumption of Mary holiday. Great fireworks from 3 boats in the sea.
  19. Had an accident on my bike and almost broke a finger on 9/11.
  20. Reconnected with Mandy. Hung out with Lindsay and Brandy, who I’d previously met in Istanbul and again Berlin. Got to know Adam, of Travels of Adam. Got a massage from Andrew “Magic Hands”, a Canadian IT guy and couchsurfer. And… got to know a few other great people.
  21. Checked out a few modern art exhibitions/establishments. Oberbaumbrückegallerie, Based in Berlin, some Dutch exhibition.
  22. Fell in love with Asiagerichte. And finally got over my love for peanut butter.
  23. Kollektivabendbrot with Mandy. A small project café in Friedrichshain hosts a dinner once a week where random people bring food to share and hang out together.
  24. Established Puschkinallee as one of my favorite places to ride a bike.
  25. Experienced verkaufsöffener Sonntag. Let’s call it delayed gratification after all those Sundays when every store in town is closed.
  26. Found Ian through Twitter and interpreted for a Whistleblowers documentary interview with Alexandr Nikitin, the one man who won a case against the FSB/KGB on the grounds of espionage and treason. 
  27. After the bad weather that we had in July and August, September was perfect with its warmth and generous sun. 
  28. One of my last nights in Berlin spent with Bernardo, Rainer, a bottle of vodka, maracuya juice and a bag of ice on top of a hill in Berlin’s Victoriapark. Only followed by an amazing night of dancing in Schwuz.


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