Our guide today was our dear friend Rob, another expat who has lived here in Berlin for years. When Shannon and I met in San Francisco while working at Yerba Buena Gardens, Rob was a manager there, so we share a lot of memories of working at that place together. And it felt as if very little time had passed - we got along famously. Rob is a delightful guy, kind and generous and full of laughs. He is a performer, clown, actor, director, and teacher, and a very inspiring person to spend time with (website here).
So, Rob led us out into the neighborhood, and we had an excellent time walking and chatting about old times, about Berlin, about German language and culture, and much more. There were a lot of interesting people out, and everyone was very fashionable. Not richly dressed, necessarily, but distinctive and hip. Mostly youth, but also a few parents with cute little babies bundled up in snow suits in their kinderwagen (strollers). There are tons of restaurants and cafes in this area, and they were all buzzing.
In Mauerpark - where there is a section of graffiti-covered Berlin Wall still standing - the regular weekly flea market was also hopping. Tons of vendors selling clothing, jewelry, crafts, books, and records, mixed in with hot food booths offering wurst, waffles, Mediterranean food, and more. It was smaller than usual because of the cold, according to Rob, and also lacking the live music and karaoke that often happens there, but there were a couple of clowns doing tricks for the kids. Rob could teach them a few things if they came to his classes!
We had a bit of glühwein - a hot mulled wine that really warms you up on a cold day - before heading back into the neighborhood to find Babel, a Lebanese place that Rob recommended. I was starting to lose feeling in my fingers, so the warm restaurant and hot food was a great respite. I had an excellent falafel sandwich, which definitely was up there in quality with my favorite authentic Lebanese places back in LA, though maybe the pita could have been a bit fresher and softer. Shannon had a tasty lentil soup, and Rob - in good German form - simply had a bottle of Beck's.
After that, we headed back to our flat for tea and music and more laughter. It was an excellent way to spend our sixth day - and first Sunday - in Berlin.
|Flash was happy to have us back home. <3|