Reading reflections in the Bookinglass

An expat with a love of fiction

Posts Tagged ‘Berlin

An Introvert’s Weekend in Berlin

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The Berlin that is famous for all-weekend parties and underground art scenes, hipsters and fashionistas; it is an extrovert’s paradise. This weekend, I did some of those normal things that you rarely hear people brag about after their trip to Berlin. Nonetheless, I thought I may give you an insight into what goes on in Berlin on my bread-and-butter weekend, since I tend towards being introverted. No reading was done sadly.

I spent Friday evening on an urgent trip to the 24 hour Apotheke (I know, pharmacy, just doesn’t sound as cool) at the Hauptbahnhof (main train station). There was probably a closer one, but I love the Hauptbahnhof and I could travel on the new Ubahn line which is only 3 stops long, made just for tourists to get to and from Brandenburger Tor. Now also handy for trips to the Apotheke, just go up the elevator and past the imposing horse sculpture influeced by Futurism and bam, there it is! I watched a spectacular sunset and now all kitted up with antibiotics, thanking the Germans yet again for their healthcare system. Incidentally, these antibiotics were not for the cucumber scare that is currently striking salads off the menu, although I am kind of glad I am taking them because I laughed in the face of cucumber at lunch before I really understood the implications of the outbreak.

On Saturday, I headed to Potsdamer Platz as the shopping centre there is massive, they always have something cool on display too. Last month there was a collection of ginormous painted eggs, some were even made to look like they were hovering, each was painted a different colour of the rainbow. It sounds twee, but it was actually really beautiful and the artist/s must have had a clinical eye for detail as all the eggs were miraculously arranged amongst flowers and cotton, sticks and other natural ojects.

Anyway, I like this place as it seems like not that many people know about it.

Then for lunch a box of crispy duck with noodles from Asia Gourmet. Ordering in German is always a bit stressful as they always seem to get pissed off when I forget to specify the details. I don’t care what kind of sauce they put on it, just give me number 9! Ended up with Erdnuss (peanut). Thinking back, if I hadn’tve panicked, probably coriander and lime would have been my preferred noodle flavour.

On out into the sunshine, greasy hot box in hand, and a stroll along past the spanking new theatre complex and onto a more hidden (almost dead) spot with an artificial lake and a beach bar without a beach (or many clientelle for that matter).

The crazy thing and coolest aspect about Berlin is if you go round a corner or even between two buildings and there are blank spaces. Parks that sprang from closed airports or bombed buildings. Places where there was so recently a blank, that people don’t yet know there is now a ‘there’.

I scoffed down my noodles and admired the architecture of the building with mirrored squares that move in the wind. A curious design feature that I can’t find out what were for. There was a plaque saying something like ‘Wandspiegel’, so if anyone has a good idea why the building had moving mirrors on the wall, please enlighten me!

Check out my route on this nifty map.

Finished with greasy goodness, I headed back to the S Bahn and home to do some German homework and admire our flowers on the balcony.

My brother just got home from a weekend trip to Norway sporting a new t-shirt. Viking values and sentiments are rather inspiring. I imagine their CVs must’ve looked impressive. I say “Bis Spater!” leaving you with a couple of their time-honoured phrases.

“Fight envy and laziness”,


“Use only top quality weapons”.


Written by bookinglass

May 30, 2011 at 12:42 am

Glass Feet and Warrior Cats

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Cute cat with paw on windowThere has been no update from the land of currywurst and bears who do handstands. I have been busy getting to grips with this fantastic city but not yet with the German language.

So it’s been quite an eclectic mix of books that I have read over the last few weeks…and ‘eclectic’ is a euphemism to make it sound like my reading children’s books borrowed from the school’s library over their summer vacation (and, ok, into term time) is justified.

Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter. About cats who live in the forest and fight each other over territory and food. I just can’t get enough of this series of books written for 10 year olds.

I cried when the lovely cat died in kittenbirth.

I pumped my fist when the mangy old evil cat was kicked out of the clan.

Haven’t quite given into the desire to join the online fan page yet. And oh…just discovered a whole realm of Youtube videos surrounding the series. This one is pretty funny. It really is as dramatic as they make out, I tell you, puts my problems in perspective! Also it’s given me reason to think up new names for our old cat that are more in tune with nature and feistiness. Best I can come up with is Blacktail. I know, not inspired.

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw. Not worth it. Really. Read the first and last chapters and you don’t miss much inbetween. She has glass feet, it says so in the title, so really all that mystery in the first few chapters around the reason behind her chunky boots and careful, stilted gait: Boring and pointless. And, no, there is no reason for her having glass feet. You just come to realise that even magical things can be dull:

‘I told you about moth-winged cattle after you saw the poor bull. I think I told you they eat and shit and die like everything else. You see, just because something is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it isn’t bound by all that stuff.’ (p. 164)

And yes, that says moth-winged cattle, pint-sized whirring cows. BUT I finished the book, so it can’t be that bad. And now I feel guilty as Ali Shaw has a blog and all….eek. It’s ok, Ali, if you’re reading this: I am that stupid girl who likes books written from the perspective of cats. It’s probably just my mood at this moment in time but if book 2 could be named The Cat with Glass Paws?

On a less facetious side, Ali Shaw’s use of language is astounding and intricate. I really love the image of the glass feet the first time that Midas peels back the sock:

‘In the curve of her instep wisps of blood hung trapped like twirls of paint in marbles.’ (p. 62)