Every Day is Christmas on the other side

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Setting out for a journey to Berlin to explore the other side of the wall always raises different expectations depending on the time of the year.

Well, what can one expect on a mellow September afternoon? A lazy, sleepy city with lamenting thoughts.

We were wrong. Plane lands at Tegel airport, airport packed, traffic jam.  Getting to town nightmare. This city is still pulsating at 10pm on a Friday night and we quickly realize that it will surprise us with little treats just like at Xmas.

Lets hit the town once we have dropped off our luggage at our hosts’ to explore the former Eastern Berlin city part called Friedrichshain. The other side of the wall as locals say.

Not only are we welcomed friendly by our host but we are also pleasantly struck by all opportunities this city quarter has to offer. Bikes, art cinemas, Sunday brunches, block parties on a Saturday evening. No bloody wonders the owner of „East of Eden” bookshop picked this telling name as we feel we were devoured in a long lost part of town. As if time stood still, rules and general urban expectations would have been forgotten and ignored. A part of the city that could be called the black sheep of the family.

Still we decide to take our chance on one of the bike tours the city has to offer the following day. Yet we are taken aback by the flocking number of tourists that also want to do the same and we decide to explore this Cracked Old Lady called Berlin on our own renting bikes from the nearest Kiosk.

It is still quite incredible after all the years of cycling how far you can actually get in a day and how much ground you can cover pedaling the day away. We ride across flea markets on the Strasse den 17ten Juni  and Charlottenburg and needless to say we fuel up on the way back on the best ever local potato soup that clandestinely hides a big Bratwurst or two in the porridge like broth anyways; all served in a flower pot size bowl, satisfying all our needs for the day. Well, let’s say almost all…

We end up at the Eastern Gallery to explore the last remnants of the Wall that once marked the alpha and the omega of those lost generations isolated by this monster.

Sunday brings showers and chill out mood so we head out to Boxenhan Platz flea market where we do give in to the temptation of the CD stands and pick two great trilogies for a mere 8 EUR per pack.

Then we decide to stroll around in the „Hackese Höfe” courtyard system and re-visit one of the nicest art cinemas of the area called Central Kino bump into some genuine German Tea-time Dancers – performing their ballroom dances on a Sunday afternoon at the Clärchen Ballhaus without missing out on the perfectly preserved “Bundes League Frisur” type of haircuts. Some hairdos seem to survive entire systems more than the actual participants of that regime.

On the way home we decide to walk off Karl Marx Allee and accidentallyI can’t stop but wonder at one of the junctions that I am actually at the photo shot of the best movie ever made in Berlin called The Life of the Others –Das Lebend der Anderen. And yes, here we are in Wedekindstrasse, in Friedrichshain.

Nothing is left than a laid back screening of „The Tree of  Life” which leaves us with rather big question marks and a head whirling with dubious thoughts about the meaning of life as such… we thought it has always been 42.

Looking out from a bird’s eye on the city the very last day makes us feel we have topped our coffee with cream.

And what coffee and cakes we find at the Spreegold eatery at the foot of the TV tower near Alexanderplatz. A charming place that will fulfill all the desires of a growling tummy and leaves you energized with all those freshly pressed juices and warmly served home-baked cakes.

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