We made it to Berlin! Ok, we’ve been here for nearly three days already but only now do I feel like I can sit down and catch my breath and write. It always takes a few days to transition from the “Where the hell am I?” phase to “Oh, yes, we almost feel like we live here” phase. Can I say I’m proud of how with each country it’s taking us less and less time to acclimate? As of today, we know the best playgrounds in the area, how to get by not speaking any German, and how to navigate home without the aid of wifi. So, we’re pretty much settled in.
Berlin is HUGE. It’s the second largest city in Europe outside of London, so obviously it is, but I’ve been taken aback by its scale and density. We’re staying in Kreuzberg, an area known for its nightlife, art scene, cafe culture, and bountiful graffiti. It’s vibrant and laid back, and seems like you could be an artist here and survive (unlike SF or NY)
Right now I’m writing you from a nearby cafe where I’m catching up on some work and blogging. Guess what it’s called. Just guess!
Berlin feels refreshing after Norway, as gorgeous as it was. By that, I mean food and goods are about 1/3 the price. It also feels like actual summer here. The vibe is alive and happening. Parks are full, there’s music on the streets, and outdoor cafés are seemingly on every corner. It’s a lovely time of year to be here. I have the feeling that winters here are not as green and joyful.
Yesterday we went to a great flea market in Maurpark, an iconic Berlin event that happens every Sunday. I know, another flea market. What can I say? I think it’s a great way to experience the local scene: vintage wares, cool crafts, music, food, people watching. I love it. And I found a few cool handmade items to jazz up my utilitarian travel wardrobe, of which I’m growing increasingly tired.
After the flea market, we walked the old path along the Berlin Wall. All along the way, there are photos and instillations that explain what life was like under the city’s division. Theo napped in the stroller the entire time. It’s pretty much the only way he’ll nap these days. Sadly, he’s on his way to phasing out the nap entirely. That said, he doesn’t have the stamina to be out all day long either. Hence, stroller naps!
I’ll take them, even if they mean walking for hours on end while he snoozes. In a way, it’s nice for me and Rafe to have the chance to see more of the city, instead of being stuck at home in the afternoon. Theo’s so big though that we’ve taken to duct taping his feet to the stroller so they don’t drag on the ground. Perhaps it looks a little bit cruel to see his feet taped to the stroller like that but he was really into it. He even helped to tape his feet down!
When he woke up, we stopped at a cute little café (there are seriously SO MANY CUTE CAFES) for a snack and then a local playground where Theo made some new friends despite the language barrier. (Turns out wrestling is the international language of small boys.)
Theo is enjoying more of a normal routine again, which I think is good for him. Norway was a bit crazy with bouncing around almost every day to a new location, various forms of transportation and no predictability.
We’ve been eating quite well, too–lots of great cuisine on the cheap. Just in the last few days, we’ve had spaetzle, schnitzel as well as pho and Indian curries.
We’re here for another week and a half and we have so much to do (and eat)!