I continued working on Saturday, December 1. I had to, because I am planning to travel 500 km away from Berlin to the Cologne area from December 2 – 5 to visit friends and relatives, and I am not bringing any work along! I was finally done around 3:30 pm, so just as it was getting dark, I went for a walk to the nearby “Mauerpark”, a former East-West border area here in Berlin, where a section of the Berlin Wall still stands.
A weekly flea market livens up the somewhat dreary linear-shaped Mauerpark, and the debate about how to develop and use the park, has been lively as well. It appears that a compromise between recreational use and housing developments in the park has been made very recently. This may mean that nobody is very happy with the results, and the process may continue to drag out. As I discussed with the Vancouver artist, author and illustrator Robert Chaplin recently (I am a big fan of his work, by the way), you just get more done in a benevolent dictatorship because all that democratic consensus-building shit slows everything down.
I have inserted a slide show here, of a search for “Mauerpark” on Flickr — none of the photos above are mine, of course.
I had brought my good camera, so afterwards I continued my walk into the Berlin evening, taking photos of street scenes and later meeting my new artist friend Nina for a coffee and a gallery opening.
In the Mauerpark in Berlin.
A tiny birch forest in the Berlin Mauerpark is a welcome relief from the urban environment.
Concession stand under the U-Bahn on Schönhauser Allee, Berlin.
Under the U-Bahn on Schönhauser Allee, Berlin. The U-Bahn is elevated here, just like the “L” in Chicago, and the stations and supports have been painstakingly restored in recent years. The green-painted metal with its large rivets looks great — and it is functional. Is it just me who thinks this is one of the most interesting sights in the city?
Berlin street food bistro. There is no shortage of inexpensive street food in Berlin, and even now in the chill of winter, people are having a quick bite outside before getting back to errands or partying.
The elevated U-Bahn track along Schönhauser Allee, Berlin.
Signage at a hairdresser, Berlin.
Konopke’s Imbiß, Berlin. Another food kiosk under the U-Bahn track — this one is 80 years old, serves good sausages, and has survived a World War and being on the East Berlin side, a socialist regime.
Christmas decor through a veil of plastic wrap, Berlin. Taken through a store window.
I am debating whether I should buy a small Christmas wreath for my place. But that might take valuable table top space away from my sketchbooks… Must consider priorities in life, always.
Lucia Christmas market, Berlin. Eventually I found myself back at the Christmas market in my neighbourhood and decided to grab a quick dinner before my evening with Nina.
I had dinner at the Lucia Christmas market, Berlin. I ordered these potato cakes (Kartoffelpuffer) and they came with pickled salmon, pickled herring, caviar, and a sour cream sauce, for € 7.
Another € 3 bought me this ceramic boot of Glühwein (mulled wine) which was strong and tasty. They charge an additional € 1 as a deposit, in case you don’t bring the little boot back. I debated whether I should keep it, but decided that I have little use for ceramic cups in the shape of a Santa Claus boot, and that it was best to just take a photo.
Saturday night at the Eberswalder Strasse U-Bahn station. It was only 6:00 pm at this point, the night was young. Night clubs in Berlin don’t open until around midnight, and there is no closing time in Berlin, so partying can go on all night, and then you go out for a hangover breakfast.
After I met Nina, she showed me these cool shops under the U-Bahn in a different area of Berlin. The neon lighting in this bookstore (Bücherbogen, apparently a great store for art and design books, on Savignyplatz) nicely emphasises the domed ceilings that are found under the U-Bahn track.
Heading out on the town, Saturday night in Berlin. This woman has compiled much variety in her outfit, but the sparkly tights really hold it together.
At a gallery opening with Nina. The vernissage was held at a gallery called Kunstraum Fröauf and the show was titled “Fuffzehn” which is Berlin dialect for “Fünfzehn” which means “fifteen”, because it showcased 15 artists with an emphasis on a photographic approach to art or incorporating photographic elements. Nina introduced me to a couple of artists, everyone was very friendly and relaxed. I found out that one of the artists was the daughter of a wealthy collector of art nouveau, who has recently sold his complete museum, the Bröhan Museum, to a collector in China, where a brand new museum will be built for his collection in the city of Hangzhou. It is a strange new world. I will have to visit this museum before it moves to China.