Berlins and Outs

Getting to Know Schöneberg

The Earth without art is just “eh”

The temperature reached 94 degrees (Fahrenheit, obvi) yesterday, so it seems safe to say summer has arrived in Berlin. Temperatures that high are actually kind of an unpleasant anomaly, but, in general, it’s warm and sunny here, and we’ve been spending more time outside as a result.

We’ve started jogging in the evenings after work. There’s a bike path that runs alongside the train tracks, and we can follow it to a nearby grocery store. On Friday night, it was warm and humid and just starting to rain when we finished our run and went into the grocery store. The air had that amazing wet asphalt/ozone scent. We picked up a couple beers, bread, and milk (#essentials), and, although it was pouring rain when we stepped back outside, the walk home was nice.

There’s a pedestrian/bike bridge going over the train tracks that we like to walk across. Sometimes we stop at the highest part of the bridge and wave to the S-Bahn drivers passing by underneath us. They usually honk their horns at us and I feel like a giddy little kid.

Daily exercise has gotten us outside and exploring our neighborhood more. The diversity of plants, especially flowering ones, is amazing. E always pauses to see if they smell. There’s a graffiti artist who paints cartoon birds and short English phrases around the neighborhood. There’s one on a low wall that reads “don’t judge me,” and I’ve enjoyed watching the grass grow tall around it so it looks like the bird is peeking out at us through the weeds and wildflowers.

Back in the fall when the grass was shorter

We’ve discovered that the Italian restaurant one block down has delicious gelato. The woman who scoops it for us almost certainly speaks English (we heard her singing along to the American music on the radio) but lets us practice our German with her.

Eine Kugel Eis, bitte! Im Becher.

One scoop of ice cream, please! In a cup.

Also, yes, sometimes we get ice cream right after we exercise.

If we’re not jogging, we’re playing ping pong in the closest park or taking a bike ride to one of the parks that’s slightly farther away. A few weeks ago, we walked the 15 minutes to Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände. I was in a bad mood, so E insisted we get out of the house and spend some time in the woods.

This park was once a rail yard, but, after it closed in 1952, nature started to reclaim the space. The wooded paths follow old train tracks and the whole place has a sci-fi, earth-without-man kind of feel to it. At least until you run into other park visitors or hear a train go by on the tracks that are still in use or catch a glimpse of the IKEA sign through the trees. It is and isn’t removed from the rest of the city.

I could write a whole post about Natur-Park Südgelände. Maybe I will. The more I get to know this neighborhood the more I love it and the more I have to say about it. But for now I’ll leave it at that.

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


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