What happened was, Geri who’s Lauren’s friend of many years, was getting married in Berlin, so we spent a week there. We stayed in the southwest, in Schmargendorf, once an independent town, one of many swallowed up by Berlin in 1922. Child-minding and wedding festivities and touristing and some mailing-list work and fiddling with mod_atom and the Ape didn’t leave much time for this space.
Lauren lived in Berlin for some years and it’s important to her, and she’s very important to me, so for her sake I try to appreciate it, but it’s an effort. The best thing about it is the restaurant culture, which I’ll come back to later.
Probably my biggest issue with Berlin is the visuals; it’s kind of colour-starved and scruffy. There’s green about, every boulevard and lots of parks, both huge ones and little street-corner oases. But they kind of let it run wild, which jars my eye. Here’s an example; we were at the Hotel am Wilden Eber, the Wild Boar, so named because it was just down the street from the traffic roundabout of the same name, with a statue in the middle.
See the vegetation? Pretty in its own way, but it makes me want to get out a mower and some clippers.
The other thing that runs untended in Berlin is graffiti; it’s everywhere. And indeed, some of it is surprising in its flow and grace. But Sturgeon’s law applies: 95% of everything is crap. On the other hand, the colour schemes in Berlin architecture are basically cream, grey, and a few brick-and-stone tones. So the desire to splash some colour around is understandable.
Still, I’m glad we went: good people, good food, good beer, new flavors for the mind.