Living in Berlin|
I'm in Berlin since three weeks now and I can't get enough of it. It's where I always wanted to live and it's even better than I imagined: there are countless extraordinary bars and restaurants - each of which you could put into a random city and it'd be the city's place to be. Food and beverages are cheap: I had the most delicious pizza for 1,60€.
But there's more than that: apart from special places (like bars at the dock of the bank with raft-like places to sit in the sun, jamaica-like beach bars, charming parks with people from nearly every subculture), the most unusual things happen: just today, when I walked out with Murphy along the Paul-Lincke-Ufer (watching the sun bathers, people having breakfast, some guys playing boule), I saw a guy taking four parrots for a ride - he had them sitting on the handle bar of his bike. A week ago there was a "fight" between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. In the morning I already saw people in garbage sacks and when I had had dinner in a superb Indian restaurant, I saw some more of those guys, covered in dirt and some police cars approaching; when I heard a roar of jubilation, I thought I'd check. I paid and on the Oberbaumbrücke (it's exactly between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg) there were two fighting groups wearing protective clothing (garbage sacks) and some had swords of a foamed material and shields they made out of election posters. They threw at each other whatever was in there reach, mostly fruit, half sacks of flour - the noise and the smell was overwhelming but everybody enjoyed the "fight". Each groups' goal (which consisted of people from all kind of age groups and subcultures) was to fight the opposing group back into their district. Kreuzberg lost and a guy, who could have been my dad, told me (littered as he was) that was due to the Friedrichshainer's use of illegal "weapons" and sure enough, I saw them throwing apples and potatoes, which, erm, might really hurt. "Keiner ist gemeiner, als der Friedrichshainer." I learnt that day. (In german, It rhymes and means "nobody's meaner than somebody from Friedrichshain".) It was big fun, even the policemen were as calm as I never saw policemen before - everybody enjoyed himself/herself and this is happening twice a year.
Friday night, I had a long walk and I guess Murphy didn't agree with me on the length, but in like three hours, I went past all this: Kreuzberg Museum, Axel-Springer-Haus with ads for the Bild newspaper *vomit* (they filmed a scene over there, the amount of artificial light in the night and rain was impressive), Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichsstraße, Gendarmenmarkt (with a most exquisite chocolaterie), Unter den Linden (where I went past (this, this, this, this and many other things), I payed a brief visit to the Museumsinsel, went over to the Oranienburger Strasse, where the sheer amount of hip cocktail bars drove me mad - the atmosphere I sensed there almost seven years ago was a completely different. Only Tacheles remained as it always was. I had a beer, walked back to Hackesche Höfe, had a bratwurst, walked over to the Alex and took the underground back home. It was simply charming to see all of these places, not as a tourist hopping off a bus and driving to the next place, but closely connected. It's like parts of a mosaic find together. Maybe that was the point, when I finally realized, I had moved to Berlin, that I finally was there.