Summer’s still not over in Berlin but as the days get shorter and everyone’s agendas and lists are filling up, now feels like a good time to reflect on those happy days spent in Brandenburg. Days that smelled like hot waffles, freshly cut grass and no plans for the near future. This is a collection of photos I took between July and September and up until now, I didn’t actually realise how much time I spent out in the countryside. I rediscovered the fun of trampolines with my cousins, had long conversations about love and age and how both affect each other with my wise great aunt and uncle and then cycled to the closest lake which had the perfect temperature (in September). I spent a weekend with friends near Werbellinsee, dipped my feet into Liepnitzsee while having a sunset beer or two, barbequed in a hidden spot by Wannsee and cuddled with a lot of dogs. Looking back, I didn’t need spectacular mountains or white beaches this summer, friends, waves and overgrown bike paths were enough.
My friend Klaudia’s style is effortless and uber-cool and I don’t just mean her looks. She has that certain air of laid-back Berlin chill that I wish would rub off on me. Klaudia grew up between Poland and Germany and lived in Warsaw for three years before making the move to big B. She’s been studying history here for four years and I’m one lucky girl having bumped into her this summer and getting to know her a bit better.
Freiburg smells like hand-picked strawberries from the garden, champagne for breakfast and my favourite books. At 15, I spent a week there exploring the city that I could see myself study in. Politics, if you’re curious. That didn’t work out so well (luckily) but my love for the little southern town remained. My best friend took me there again for my birthday in July and boom, the city was just as golden as in my memories. That rarely happens.
I’m currently sitting in the garden of Clärchens Ballhaus, an old Berlin restaurant and dance hall. The birds are chirping, some mosquitos are up for a battle (guess who’s winning). I’m trying out Snapchat filters, answering some questions for da Travelettes gang, texting with my sister (it’s her first long-haul flight to the US in a few hours and she’s all by herself. Crazy stuff. You can do this grrrrl ♥), there a glass of white wine next to me (day-drinking much) and it’s the last day of July. It’s been a great last three months because for the first time in a while, I somehow managed to shift down a gear or two.
Less photos, more meaning. That’s the pledge I made at the beginning of this month, hoping for a slow and beautiful summer. I want it to be less about big numbers, lots of photos or full diaries and more about real adventures, sleepless nights and books that take my breath away. In fact, I cannot wait for weekends of camping by the lake, crossing the Alps and cycling through the county of Brandenburg because more often than not, good things (strawberries) are so close.
Because I keep getting emails, tweets or comments on here with questions on how to do Berlin like a local (and not like your parents), I compiled some of my favourite places where you’re very likely to find me on weekends. I use Google Maps to “star” places as that makes it easy to rediscover places you love and to see when you’re in the area. Highly recommend that method also when you’re travelling!
I’m struggling a bit to find my routine at the moment because there is none, the only constant is the number of balls in the air that I sometimes manage to juggle better than at other times. I spend about one-third of my time in an office with other humans, one-third traveling and the rest at home at my desk. The latter is currently (and now in particular!) driving me nuts, but fingers crossed it’s a phase that will pass soon.
Anyway, back to the reason for this post: A colourful recap of the last few weeks powered by my photo roll. I was at the Leipzig bookfair and if you’re German and into books, here’s a selection of reads that I’ve either just finished or that are piling up on my bedside table and don’t get the attention (and time) they deserve.