Today is August fourth, and it is currently 93 degrees here in Berlin. This is actually the hottest it’s been here this summer, including that weekend where I didn’t go outside at all because of how hot it was. I have taken refuge inside a cafe, it’s not so much cooler inside because of the standard lack of air conditioning, but at least I can hide from the sun.
Though this ungodly heat wave is expected to last the rest of the week, it only started yesterday! So luckily my comings and goings of the last week did not suffer from such high temperatures.
Last week did hold quite a few excursions, one of my favorite things about Berlin is finding new cafes to try. Each one is cuter than the last and they all serve delicious housemade snacks and very good coffee. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one of my friends sent me a link to a Berlin based cafe and food blog. It’s full of pages and pages of cafes from all over the city, complete with her opinion and some wonderful photographers. And since I last wrote, I checked a few of them out.
First up was Cafe Kraft. This is a cute and tiny place in Prezlauerberg, with a whole thirteen seats inside. It seems like the quintessential local neighborhood coffee joint. Though it has a very hipster aesthetic what with the blue walls, wall mounted bike, and chandelier made of coffee bags, most of the clientele seemed to be middle aged neighbors popping I for their normal coffee to-go. The barista knew their names and their orders and I imagine that it wouldn’t take a lot of visits before everyone knew who you were. I got my usual cappuccino, which was quite good, and a piece of vegan carrot cake, which was so good I didn’t even mind (too much) that the crucial element of cream cheese frosting was replaced with some vegan alternative. It’s a little bit out of the way for me, but if I lived closer I would certainly be a regular in no time.
Like most programs centered around cultural and linguistic immersion, my school organizes various cultural activities and outings that you can sign up for. Like most people skeptical of any and all organized fun, I do not generally sign up for these outings. But last weekend’s outing was cool enough to encourage even me to sign up. On Saturday we went to a Hochseilgarten, this particularly German institution could best be called an adventure park in English. Combining rock climbing and really awesome obstacle courses, you can zip line through the trees, make your way over rope bridges, and wooden stepping stones suspended thirty feet above the forest floor. For students, three hours of feeling like Lara Croft costs 19€. It was so much fun and I definitely think I’ll be returning on one of my few remaining weekends. (Only 3 left!!?!!). But I certainly won’t be back next weekend, since on Saturday I’ll be in Hamburg on another school excursion.
Sunday was spent humor in my weak body, which used many more muscles than it is used to on Saturday’s exploits. And of course I got lunch (very good felafel) at Mauerpark, though I didn’t stay very long as the beginnings of this heat wave were making an appearance and Mauerpark has a distinct lack of shade what with no trees being older than 20-something.
Monday was also hotter than it has been, but was still better than today, so I felt it would be perfect to try out another new cafe. I picked Father Carpenter, which was also featured on that blog. (That’s a Facebook link FYI). This cafe is notable for being in a courtyard in Mitte. The older areas of the city are honeycombed by courtyards, it makes the apartment buildings much more pleasant and more numerous than you would know from the street. Mitte is the central district and the most fully gentrified. It was in the old East side and surrounded on three sides by the wall and so understandably stagnated. Today it’s full of swanky cafes, small boutiques, and luxury brands. This cafe is also right down the street from the Goethe Institut is, meaning that I walked past it everyday when I was here two years ago and never realized it was there.
Anyway, it’s an absolutely lovely location. The courtyard keeps the seating shady and secluded, eliminating almost all of the street noise. Plus there’s a little garden with a fountain. I got a chili brownie and a cappuccino and later a lemonade because it was so hot. The brownie was super rich and thick, 100% recommend, but you’ll definitely want a drink as well since it’s just so chocolatey. And my cappuccino was lovely as well, and decorated with a heart-flower. I’m definitely going back, it’s too cute. It just seems like the kind of place people in movies meet for coffee.
On Monday, our old German teacher was back, by which I mean the one before the last one/ my fourth German teacher. But today we had my original German teacher and will be with him for the rest of the week. Apparently, on her way home yesterday, our teacher had a bike accident and broke her arm! So this morning my Teacher was sitting at the student desks, and it was clear to me that he was pretending to be a student. He’s in his late twenties and not German, so he completely fits the demographics of most of our class, anyway he was talking with some of the other students to get to know them. As you may recall, I changed levels so I was the only one who knew he was a teacher. So once they got to the subject of what do you do, he stood up and said ‘oh, I’m a teacher!’ And everyone lost it, it was hilarious how completely shocked everyone was that he was our teacher.
And that was my week, I’m hoping this heat wave breaks soon so that I can continue to cram my last few weeks full of memories or at least cappuccino so. Till the next time!