Been There | Berlin Berlin

Outside an icy rain was falling. Men in Bavarian-blue shirts shovelled schnitzel into their mouths as they sat on stools at the bar, thick legs dangling. I ran my hand across the counter, tracing the indentations in the wood with my palm, watching the cigarette smoke outside the window float through the air. I was twenty and fresh from a cross-country train, sharing a plate of tiramisu in that airy bar with a man I was falling in love with. I spent the rest of the weekend dancing in a 1913 ballroom in celebration of my best friend’s 21st birthday, sidestepping puddles of snow in the streets, falling in love with Berlin too. And I haven’t been back since.

But I have Berlin on the brain.

I’ve been thinking of the city’s wide boulevards and grafitti-smothered walls. The rattle of the U-Bahn, its windows emblazoned with the small insignia of the Brandenburg Gate. The Baroque splendour of the cathedral twirling up from the ground. The skeleton of a bombed-out church rising resplendent along the Kurfürstendamm. Schloss Charlottenburg in the autumn. Hot chocolates piled high with Sprühsahne. Gloved hands entwined outside Friedrichstraße.

There’s something about the German capital: something electric, something that – like a hand on a frosty window – leaves its imprint and lingers. It is a city of a thousand histories: a place where stories float through the streets like cracks in the pavements. Each era is visible in its boulevards, buildings, walls and windows. Berlin is a living, breathing, writhing behemoth; an urban sprawl like no other, streaked with stories of past and present. Here, then, there, now, when, why: all piled high on top of one another and, somehow, the madness works.

Happily, I’m visiting this weekend with two dear friends and reuniting with a handful of old companions who now call the German Hauptstadt home too. I can’t wait to take a heap of pictures, drink all the Glühwein, and reminisce. I have changed and undoubtedly Berlin has too – but that’s all part of the adventure!

Have you been to Berlin? (Feel free to leave any recommendations!)

  • Lu, I want you to become an author so I can go out and buy your book and flick through your writing whenever I like! The way you write is unbelievably beautiful and evocative – you really do have a gift for words. I sped through Berlin in two days on an interrailing trip a few years ago so only got a tiny taste of the city – but I can imagine it would be incredible to explore. I really do love that you can see the different epochs squeezed in cheek by jowl in the centre, and the nightlife is like nowhere else I’ve been – bartenders at one place I dropped into told me that the party in Berlin never really gets started until at least 4 AM! Craziness indeed. I hope you have ein schönes Wochenende, lovely Fraulein! xx

    • Aww Tamsin, that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said!!! It’s ma dream – one day hopefully!! I completely agree….I was on the U-Bahn at 2am at the weekend (going home to bed) and it looked like the party was just getting started! Craaaaazy. xx