postcards from berlin

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There are so many things i want to tell you about Berlin; like how amazing our hotel was and how they thought of everything. And how I kept congratulating myself all weekend for finding a hotel called The Dude and I wish I could show you how much attitude can be crammed into such a lovely space. And I want to tell you how we had the best breakfasts of any hotel we’ve stayed in the whole world*. And how we were so tired from being up so early and walking all day that we decided to stay in the first night, and that we got the best room service meal ever* and sat around drinking exquisite German Pinot Noir, whilst watching Chuck Norris on tv, in our bathrobes and slippers. How the Reuben might just be my new favourite sandwich and how quickly we noticed the letterpressed moleskines on the bedside tables and tucked them into our backpacks for later.

I want to tell you about how much we walked, and how the whole city seems to be unapologetically unkempt, which just adds to its charm. How graffiti is everywhere – like it’s a part of the bones of the place, and how strange it is to chance upon a shiny store-fronted street.

How, we wandered into a cafe north of the river and discovered it to be full of Kiwis and Australians behind the counter and we had a bit of a laugh with them about that. How there are bicycles everywhere. And the trains, underground and trams are so easy to use.

I want to tell you about the beer. And the kurrywürst. And the frites, cooked to crispy perfection, served with ridiculous amounts of mayo. About how our “four o’clock coffee and cake” tradition was replaced with these as it only seemed right. I want to tell you how the Furious Chicken made me cry it was so so angry. And how it became a test of endurance as my mouth was on fire with the spiciness of it all…. But so delicious that I had to keep eating. And, that winebar we found, on the way to see thin Hermann and fat Hermann – where the guy behind the counter recommended us a lovely german sparkling wine and we sat and listened to the records he had playing on his tiny old turntable. Yeah, I want to tell you about that.

I want to tell you about the monument to the holocaust. And how it felt like it was filled with living ghosts. Like we could hear the other footsteps and hear the other voices, but… lose someone with just one turn and they were gone… And how it made me realise how fortunate I am. And how it made me realise how fortunate I was growing up in rural New Zealand. And how it makes me want to say “I love you” even more than I do now. I want you to experience how it felt. But you’re not me and it would have been different for you, even if almost the same.

I want to tell you about lying on the pavement in Bebelplatz staring into a white room below me through two layers of perspex; how those empty shelves filled me with sadness. And how the guy next to me “didn’t get it” and couldn’t understand how I thought such symbolism was so powerful.

I want to tell you about the light, and how it felt to be walking through Tempelhof Airport at dusk, seeing the sky show off it’s light in a parade of blues and oranges. And how happy I was that our visit to Berlin coincided with Robert Montgomery’s poetry installation “Echoes of Voices in the High Towers“.

And I want to tell you about Herb Lester maps. Because they are awesome. And the staff there are too. When I emailed them in a panic saying I’d lost my map, they swiftly sent me another. They have me as a customer for life with that one small gesture. And their maps are awesome (yes, so awesome I want to tell you twice).

I want to tell you about sinking slowly to sit barefoot in the sand at the KW institute to watch an installation by Wael Shawky. And that it was the most interesting entrance to an exhibition that i’ve seen for a while. And how his puppetry is compelling and a little creepy. I want to tell you how I fell in love with the lady behind the counter in Do You Read me ?! in Augustraße when her friends came in with a bottle of bubbly and she washed all the glasses she could find, so they could crack the bottle open and share it in the store during the middle of the day. And how, during our wanderings, we came across The Museum of Unrealized Projects and we had to go inside and take a look.

There is so much more I want to tell you, about the photoautomats, the bridges, the river, the sunshine, the flea market and a dog called Spock Trash who has his own facebook page. How there wasn’t enough time (there is never enough time), and how we crammed three days full of adventures and it was really, really, good.

* Really, the best.

Hoping you are having some adventures of your own.

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iPhone 4S, instagram processed ……||…… hasselblad, 100 asa colour slide film, cross-processed

10 thoughts on “postcards from berlin

  • I never knew Berlin had so much to offer, silly me.
    Loved your recount… your words and images are pretty special and super wonderful. And that is the only way to serve frites, I wish I could reach in and grab one. x.

  • I had to read this again because I liked it so much. Brilliant photos (as always!) and I loved the breathless excitement of the words :)

  • You make it okay that I didn’t get to go there with you, because you shared the joy through your words and for me – today – that was just perfect.

  • i love my NYC map you gave me, think i should buy one when i’m in london town…clandestine london is pretty exciting.

    and dude. your photos are amazing, and i’m a bit envious of your talent, while being so proud of you.
    i know, i’m a freak.
    xo

  • Love the photos Leonie – I even have another set for Weekends Collected but haven’t sent either to you, sorry!

    Have to go to Germany and stay at The Dude, sounds awesome :-D

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