cafes

Good eats in the big B

Found in the Kaufhof groceries section: a Limquat!! A lime the size of a walnut! GENIUS. This weekend was the big moment; my new flat had to meet the parents. I’m too much of a compulsive hostess to let them stay in a hotel, so they bunked in my big Berlin bed and I had an excuse to buy a kickass lilo. This was the first time ever that my dad had seen Berlin, having never had any holiday time even in my first stint in the Vaterland. It was my one chance to prove that moving over here and...

Berlin: Where “rest” is nothing more than a type of rubbish

And what do you find when you go looking for peace and quiet? Men on sticks, of course. I’m a country lass, born and bred, as I believe you already know. Brought up surrounded by fields, farms and circling red kites, where the only traffic noise you could hear was the aggrieved squawk of a pheasant who had another pheasant standing in its way. It’s deadly dull when you’re little, of course, and you find yourself whiling away endless days making anything and everything out of sticks and rocks in order to pass the time, but once you’re older the...

The high life

If I were a Times reporter I’d make a joke about royal wedding hats right now. I know, I’ve not been around for a while and I’m sorry. Last week was a frenzy of activity as I completed entirely unvoluntary voluntary work, went to a bizarre exhibition (more on that in the next post) and saw my friends for the last time before the main event of the week: my grandparents came to Berlin to see my new turf for the first time. Unlike friends or parents, grandparents have a kind of dignity and connoisseurial eye that means that you...

Guten Appetit Berlin!

For those of us blessed with both a stomach and a tongue, Berlin is the best place to be. For all the stick Germany gets for its cuisine (which, incidentally, can still be brilliant) the sheer variety and quality of produce and cookery one enjoys here is truly luxurious; going to any one restaurant always has me feeling a slight twinge of regret simply because to eat at one inherently involves not eating at one of the thousands of other incredible places in the immediate vicinity. Germany has done the same as Britain in that while its own cuisine is...

Berlin: a city that welcomes you with open arms, then kicks you in the stomach

The most threatening German definite article of them all I’m not sure whether this is to do with living in a huge city having lived in a tiny village all my life, or rather whether it is more a heightened self-pity leading to a victim complex, but life in the pulsating mass of a metropolis seems to be rather intolerant of…well, almost all individual human effort. Every day seems littered with small signs that while you are trying your hardest to say ‘yes’ to life, Berlin is giving you a solid ‘no’. Take the case of a  few Fridays previous:...

The art of sensing danger. Through fonts.

Of course we’re authentically Asian! We have lanterns! It seems far easier to begin and then to maintain any kind of a business here in Berlin, which I assume is mostly down to the whole rule of it being ‘arm aber sexy’ (arm means poor, not an actual arm). If you are just a simple guy with an idea, fifty euros and a pocketful of dreams you will probably be able to fulfil your ambition of owning a vaguely profitable kebab shop, bakery, dodgy Sp├Ątkauf, all-polyester clothing shop etc and keeping it on its vaguely wobbly legs for a good...

I guess all the weekend warriors died in combat some time ago

“Fish: a sea of healthiness.” You’re damn right they are, Mr. Abandoned Fish Trailer Dude. I hate Sundays in Berlin. With every Sunday I experience in this city my hatred grows and ferments, beginning to resemble the kind of simmering whiny hatred only experienced by South-English children in the 1940s who had to spend Sundays being dragged to church and then kissed by hairy-lipped aunties and grandmas.  Berlin is practically the capital of Europe. It’s effortlessly cool and during the week a complete bulldozer of a city; you pulse around the place all day, day after day, driven constantly onwards...

This blog post was brought to you by…a decent cup of tea

The kind of marvellous tourist attraction I offer my guests Two posts in two days! Good lord, what is going on here? Well, I suppose I’d better get on with it then. This weekend I had my first visitor from the UK, my mother, come to see my new little kingdom in my new Heimat. Being a right little mummy’s girl (possibly to a forehead-slappingly embarrassing extent) I was boiling with anticipation of her arrival, and having spent the whole weekend with her doing little more than lingering over the kind of hearty brunch that makes your cheeks pink and...

Coffee no. 6,142,561

Desperation, n : sitting in Landsberger Allee Netto reading Das Glasperlenspiel Sit down to begin writing a blog post about coffee; decide to make a pot of coffee before starting in earnest; put kettle on; watch caf├ętiere slip off kitchen counter and explode into a million skin-ripping smithereens; spend half an hour sweeping and hoovering, before eventually settling for a mediocre cup of Redbush. Well, at least my dumb bad luck has a sense of irony. Anyway, what I was planning to write this evening was to do with the fact that life at the moment revolves around coffee. Not...

Besichtigainandagainandagainandagain…

Yes, so I may have mentioned this briefly at length in my last post, but it is hard to find a place to live in Berlin. Let me give you an idea of the process: 1) Wake up. Immediately put kettle on. 2) Whilst the kettle is boiling for the strengthening cup of what the Germans think Earl Grey tastes like, immediately turn on laptop and open the internet. 3) Go to WG-Gesucht.de and spend the following hour and a half writing approximately twenty application emails to various room offerers, drinking your body weight in tea in an attempt to...