May 2nd 2017

····traveling the trolly’s rails—the city’s moon at
I’ve been returning to my favorite little bakery every day. I don’t know if it’s the best. I’m not a foreign travel expert or a food connoiseur, but if anyone is travelling to Berlin, Schönhauser has recovered beautifully from its destructive neglect during communist rule.
20170502_153307The café can be found at the corner of the two streets photographed at right—Stargarderstraße and Dunckerstraße. The interior is small and cozy, little tables and low chairs. Schoolchildren, sans parents, gather there to snack on pastries and have a fruit soda, and families too. There’s a little spot in the corner to keep the youngest occupied. There are also tables and chairs outside.
20170502_155135A little girl, maybe 4 years old or so, seemed to be in charge of returning children’s books to their corner.
The city continues to be packed with May Day tourists. I took the double decker buses today, rather than the S-Bahn or U-Bahn—above and below ground trains. It rained during the day, which brings its own reflective beauty to the streets and roadways. I almost brought a raincoat, but wanted to travel as light as possible. Short of a downpour, though, it’s possible to stay dry simply by walking under Berlin’s many balconies and the retractable roofs of shops and cafés. The last couple feet of cobble-stone sidewalks often stay dry.
122 May 2nd 2017 | bottlecap

4 responses

    • The biggest change, of course, is East Berlin; but the fact of the wall being gone has transformed the city. There are many more people and consierably more traffic. One used to travel out to the Grunewald and the Autobahn was a whisper. Where would anyone drive? Now it’s a constant roar. One used to park anywhere. There were only so many cars. Now parking is metered and difficult to find. There are many more nationalities living in Berlin. The air feels cleaner to me probably because Berliners aren’t heating with coal anymore, specifically East Berliners. I spent some time visiting East Berlin when it was still communist. The buildings were drab, grey and approaching collapse. Now? They’re beautifully restored, colorful and tree-lined. Berlin feels more like a city (which is good and bad) and less like an island. That’s the brief version, I guess. One also sees far fewer ruins remaining after WWII. I well remember all the abandoned, half-collapsed buildings even in downtown Berlin. Those are all gone now.

  1. I’m glad to hear that everything has been rebuilt. Whenever I think I’m feeling too good all I need to do to depress myself is watch one of those videos of Berlin, Summer 1945. The devastation dwarfs anything Sherman did to Atlanta or Grant did to Richmond even though both the Confederacy and Germany lost about the same percentage of their pre-war population.

    • Yeah, I tend to think of WWII as ancient history, but I was roughly as far from WWII (as a child in Berlin) as children currently from the wall. They’ll no doubt think of the wall as ancient history.

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