samedi 21 mars 2009

Reflections on a Saturday morning

Today was for me a very special morning since I had the day off. Norrmally on Saturdays I either work or am in Munich so you can imagine how nice it was to sleep longer until the crisp sunlight filled the room. It was such a beautiful morning to stroll around, even with the sharpness of the wind which stung your cheeks. In Berlin, the area around where you live is known as your Kiez. There's often a tendency to end up spending all of your time there and neglect other interesting parts of the city but I must say, I'm very attached to Charlottenburg. It's not as cool or as gritty as the East (which I also like very much) but there's always a kind of tranquility and I love the wideness of the streets and the leafy cafés. My first stop was the market on Karl August Platz close to my home. Markets have been a real favourite of mine since the time when I lived in Lyon and frequently used to go to the one in Croix Rousse. Sunday morning was always best; a brass band played nearby, people gathered to chat and greeted old friends and you always ended up struggling to make it back home under the weight of fruit and vegetables you'd bought. Perhaps most charming were the cries of the market stall sellers themselves which Proust describes so beautifully in La Recherche, :

A la tendresse, à la verduresse
Artichauts tendres et beaux

Even though their shouting this morning might not have reached such levels of poetry, it was so wonderful to hear "lecker, lecker, lecker" or "süß, süß, süß" as I meandered through the
different stalls, stocking up on everything imaginable. Sadly I had to resist the glasses of fresh orange juice and the lavender honey from Provence. Perhaps next time.

Afterwards, I headed over to Savignyplatz to Bücherbogen and Marga Schoeller in Knesebeckstraße for some serious browsing. Bücherbogen is a wonderful art store in the arches below the S-Bahn where you could literally spend days flicking through books on painting, photography, theatre, cinema etc. with the sound of the trains rattling by above. Marga Schoeller is a wonderful store to find English language books and I finally settled for Isherwood's Berlin stories which seems appropriate, especially as parts of Cabaret were filmed so close to here.

As I wandered back, I looked at some of the wonderful buildings that line the streets;
there's one in Goethestraße that's always fascinated me next to an English bookshop
because of its entrance. Strangely, it reminds me of one of Atget's photos of the door with a mouth. Sometimes I would like to get inside to see the courtyard and climb the heavy wooden staircase which creaks underfoot.

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