August 13, 2012

Order vs. chaos: slices of Berlin

This summer is moving with incredible speed. I remember growing up with busy-but-still-languorous summers consumed by camp -- tennis, track, science, art, soccer, field hockey -- and spelling exercises, journal writing, swimming lessons, tetherball, math workbooks, competitive ice cream eating and perpetual sprinkles smeared on the fronts of whatever sweaty, chorine-soaked garment I was wearing that day. On summers with the Olympics, which were highly, highly anticipated, we all slumbered in the family room on the night of the Opening Ceremonies, watching each country march in one by one. We stayed glued to swimming, gymastics, track and field, occasionally delighted to catch trap shooting, archery, ping pong, for the full 14 days of competition. I miss those summers and missed these Olympics, nearly entirely, save for a few DVR'ed hours, while in the midst of many days of shooting, film screenings, location scouts, and an apartment hunt that seemed like it would never, ever end, until the glorious, glorious moment it finally did.

But, September is coming. School supplies are for sale. Our move is impending. I didn't wake up sweating this morning. Everything that was on the brink of falling apart a few weeks ago didnt.

Success! Progress! Survival without an air conditioner!

Berlin, and our trip to Germany feel like a somewhat distant memory, even though our older niece has gone from a crab-crawling baby to a standing-almost-walking toddler since we left. These are a few snippets from spaces we enjoyed, inhabited, or visited with friends.

Also, while on the topic, here's list of if-you-re-going-to-Berlin recommendations that I just wrote up for some friends who are on their way there this week.

Flea Markets / Shops / Thrift Stores

  • Strasse des 17 Juni (Charlottenberg) -- the best one around and in Charlottenberg, open Sat + Sunday:
  • The Mauer Park Flea Market (Prenzlauerberg) massive weekend flea market with a hodgepodge of clothes, pure junk, housewares, food, knick knacks, etc.They also have PUBLIC KARAOKE here on the weekends, where you can sign up and perform, outdoors, in front of an amphitheater of people. It's quite the spectacle. 
  • Boxhagenerplatz Flea (Kreuzberg) market is also a good bet for the weekends. 
  • Pony Hutchen (Kreuzberg)Our friend Mareike introduced us to this little store with an awesome mix of clothes, knick knacks, house stuff, random hats/accessories
  • Alex Vintage: 60s and 70s vintage stuff
  • Turkish Market (Kreuzberg) -- not clothes, but Tuesday and Fridays there is a huge and awesome food / spices / open air market in Kreuzberg: 
  • Scandinavian Objects (Prenzlauerberg) -- rad shop, described by its namesake, also introduced to me by Mareike

Food + Drink: 
  • Prater Biergarten (Prenzlauerberg): Huge, outdoor beergarden with german food and massive beers. This place is the best. 
  • Cafe Fleury (Prenzlauerberg): yummy french/german cafe that serves a serious breakfast/brunch:
  • Little Otik (Kreuzberg): hip little supper club turned local food spot in Kreuzberg. 
  • Das Hotel (Kreuzberg): super sexy/romantic beat up bar / hang out spot that sometimes has music/dancing: 
  • Ankerklause (Kreuzberg): Anchor Bar -- fun bar that hangs over the river in Kreuzberg
  • Michelberger Hotel -- drop by the lobby for a coffee or a drink or to just hang out and read, night or day
  • Bonanza (Prenzlauerberg): coffeeeeeeee
  • The Barn (Mitte): Tiny cafe in Mitte with my favorite cappuccinos in town, small sandwiches and tasty cakes
  • Prinzessinengartencool urban volunteer garden with a lunchtime cafe made of garden ingredients. 
  • Xinh Xinh (Mitte): favorite super cheap / casual vietnamese lunch place. In Mitte: 
  • Meirei (Prenzlauerberg): Great little alpine bakery with a gorgeous backyard. Get the apple strudel. 

  • Hamburger Bahnhof: giant old train station converted into contemporary art museum. This is where we saw the fantastic Anthony McCall exhibition. 
  • Neue National GalerieSuper cool Mies van der Rohe building with a great permanent collection, 1940s ish - present.

[There are at least a dozen excellent museums in Berlin, but these are my favorites of those I've been to] 

Other stuff: 
  • The Badeschiff (we didn't get to go this trip because it was too cold) is an awesome floating pool in the middle of the river that flows through the city. It's a few euros and there are both docks and a beach to hang out on near Treptow Park in Kreuzberg.
  • Do You Read Me? (Mitte) Still the best art + design magazine bookstore I've been to... really worth a stop in. 
  • Freiluftkinos: The open air cinemas of Berlin. A handful are set up during the summer and play movies every night. A lot of the movies either have English subtitles or are screened in English, so be sure to check the schedule.