Posted on Nov 20, 2012 in Berlin | 0 comments

I didn’t really do any sightseeing on Monday, except for a trip to my neighbourhood grocery store which is located in the coolest old brewery, now called “KulturBrauerei” (=cultural brewery, if that wasn’t obvious). I will have to take photos of its courtyard another time.

Going to the grocery store is fun here, and I am not as eager to go out to eat alone, so I will be unintentionally frugal here and eat mostly at home. I’d rather spend the money on events and sightseeing. But it’s strange living here on my own as an adult. Ever since I finished my degree in graphic design I have been in the workforce continuously for over 20 years, I make a decent living, I have been together with Jeff for almost 20 years, he makes an even more decent living. So I am no longer young or poor or single, yet I feel like an unattached bohemian art student here. This morning I woke up at 5:30 am — still that jet lag — and did a charcoal drawing in my room. It totally reminded me of art school, working late into the morning hours in my room to hand in drawings and paintings and essays. I like this feeling, processing the day’s impressions by doing a piece of art. I have no obligations here, except to get a few client projects done. What a strange and wonderful break from my ordinary life this is.

Speaking of work, some client deadlines needed to be dealt with on Monday, and I also wanted to get going on using the laundry machine, because it’s tiny and I can only wash a few things at a time. I had trouble getting it to work because it looked like a mini version of the top loading North American machines, but there is a drum inside that needs to be latched. I did not realize that, so my first load came out sopping wet and not clean, a bad combination. I was too young, or possibly too lazy to get to the doing-laundry stage before I moved to Canada with my parents, so in many ways I don’t know how things work here in Germany. This is one of them.

So I had to email my landlords for help with the washer. Ironically, they are an L.A. couple, although one of them is German. They bought this apartment 10 years ago when this area was still very East Germany-like. They told me it was one of the first buildings that had been renovated in this area. And I do remember walking around the crumbling East Berlin in 1992 and 1993, the only two times I’ve visited Berlin before.

My guess is that many of the buildings here are from around 1900, so pre-date the world wars and the DDR, but since so much of Berlin was destroyed in WWII, there must have been a lot of reconstruction in the late 40s/early 50s. Or not.


Kulturbrauerei, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

KulturBrauerei, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. I had no idea there was a former brewery just one block away, which has been renovated and converted into a cultural centre with a dance studio, a night club, restaurants and stores. The grocery store where I will probably do most of my shopping is in there as well. The old brewery encompasses a whole city block and several buildings around a central courtyard. Soon there will be a small but beautiful Christmas market in the courtyard (just one of the 50 that Berlin sets up).

A Prenzlauer Berg building in 1990, about to be demolished

A Prenzlauer Berg building in 1990, about to be demolished. This is a still from the movie “Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg“.

Prenzlauer Berg with elevated metro in 2012

A Prenzlauer Berg street scene today (2012) with elevated metro and a train passing through..

The North American washer's mini-me.

This German washing machine, while tiny, is not the North American washer’s mini-me.

German thoroughness may not be a myth

German thoroughness may not be a myth. In Vancouver we have one blue bin for glass, plastic and metal, but here there is a separate recycling container for everything.

My kitchen in Berlin

My kitchen in Berlin. It has everything I need.

My living/eating/working/sleeping room

My living/eating/working/sleeping room. I just wanted to show it with the sofabed closed. I tidied up for this photo. You’d never know it, but just out of the picture are a pile of rotting fish heads and a man-sized stash of empty beer bottles.

Sherry and chocolate cookies

This bottle of sherry was €4.49 and the dark chocolate-covered cookies €0.99. Again, that’s 1/3 of what we pay in Canada.

Mango-vanilla yogurt

I found this great mango-vanilla yogurt. I like shopping for food. It’s guilt-free spending because after all, one has to eat.