BERLIN STORY (A Berlin Bookshop)

A couple of weeks ago ago I talked about a book called The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell which, in my opinion, is a must-read for every book lover out there!
Some of my my favourite shops I’ve listed in the mentioned post, and everytime I go somewhere new I take this book with me hoping Jen knows a place for me to go. And she nearly always does. (Isn’t that very lovely of her!)

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In May my mum and I went to Berlin for a short holiday, and it was pure awesomeness! The weather was gorgeous, we went out for brunch everyday and I ate more chocolate than I could digest. The bookshop Jen Campbell mentioned in her book is called BERLIN STORY. It’s a store dedicated to books about or set in Berlin. It is located very close to the Brandenburger Tor, so it’s hard to miss if you’re going along the tourist route.

The store, however does not have a very bookish atmosphere to it; it also sells a big variety of souvenirs, so it’s really more of a tourist shopping attraction. However, it’s definitely a go-to place if you’re looking for literature on Berlin.

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Berlin is one of my favourite places on earth, mainly because so much has happened to and in this city, and it’s still standing strong. It has been the center of German social and political life for centuries now; every important person in history has visited at least once, every story told is unique. There used to be a wall separating families and friends and lovers, and in the end they didn’t tear it down – they used it as a gallery and they sell ist pieces to tourists. There is so much life to Berlin. Like a wallflower desperately blooming in the shade and growing through cement. I don’t know how anyone can not love it.

BERLIN STORY is a fine representation of what the city itself holds. There’s autobiographies from people who had breakfast with Prussian Emperors over Jewish women who tried to hold their families together during the Nazi regime, up to modern-day fathers who describe their everyday life putting up with sodding toddlers in the roaring city of Berlin. There’s crime, romance, YA novels, guide books, photography bibles, history books – it’s everything that makes Berlin. It’s the past and the present, it’s the drug-dealing children at the Bahnhof Zoo and the man who lives with a communist kanguruh – it’s everything, and there’s a lot of it.

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I could tell you endless stories about Berlin – Döner tours, attempting to drown a friend in a fountain and having ice cream at midnight with Anna… but for tonight I’ll leave you with this one. The BERlN STORY, if you so will.

What is your favourite city? And is there a favourite bookshop of yours?

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Gold Star for Hannover

Hello dear reader!

[I was going to name this post Hungover in Hannover but I never was hungover in Hannover, so I decided not to lie to you.]

I am writing this while sitting on the train home from Hannover, and there is no time like a long train journey to write or read or sleep (or, in my case, eat!). I spent five glorious days with Inga up in the north. It was so lovely seeing her again after almost six months, and especially after having travelled the UK with her last summer. She is my number one travel buddy and I’m very lucky that she keeps going off to live in exciting places where I can stay with her!

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Hannover is a seriously underrated city. I mean, have you ever heard of it? Have you ever made any plans to visit at all? Admittedly, seeing Inga was my sole purpose of visiting, so no judging! Buuut for starters, Hannover has a mean coffee house culture. We spent so much time in cafés drinking tea and eating cakes. My favourite café was called Glücksmoment which translates to «Happy Moments» and is a very adequate description of what’s expecting you inside. They have a massive variety of cakes and beverages and the mugs and plates and inside décor are super cute and pretty in blue and pink shaded colours. They also have a little shop within the café that sells baking essentials. I couldn’t resist and bought Bavarian themed cupcake molds; I know that’s all the way down in the south, but, hey! They say I mog di! at the bottom, and I like being told «I love you!» in Bavarian!

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Another fun thing we did was visit the zoo. I am very very fond of monkeys, and I was so excited to see the cuddling gorillas and the tantrum throwing orang-utan, and OMFG the chimpanzees! Aren’t they the cutest?! I SO want to adopt one! I also got slightly carried away when I saw the flamingos. But, honestly, they are pink birds standing on one leg, looking elegant as fuck and matching my socks – it was an intense moment, okay?

One night we went to a concert in some dodgy bar called Glocksee. Well, I say dodgy, really I felt quite at home. It’s just your alternative, 21+, smoking-is-allowed-inside kinda bar that allows live music and encourages the dealing of drugs. In short, it was brilliant! The music was fun to dance to and even allowed for my microwave dance to bloom. Hannover supposedly has quite a number of secret locations to go out, but you have to discover them for yourself. And that’s what, to me, makes this city so utterly charming, the fact that the really great places are not as advertised as they are elsewhere.

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We got all of the touristy stuff done as well, as you can see on the badly taken photos above (yeah, sorry for the lack of quality). For me, some of the nicest moments we had were on the couch with a cup of tea and chocolate cookies, watching Doctor Who and talking about all the places we’ve been. Especially with the weather as rainy and windy as it was it was good to be sitting in the warmth. Carrie Hope Fletcher and Dodie Clark recently did a song together called Gold Star For Me – to which Inga introduced me one late night. I think I should probably some day write us our own song, but I still think the lyrics relate to us pretty well, too!Bild 98Today I insisted on visiting the History Museum and I was very excited, too, when we walked there after breakfast in yet another beautiful café, but I ended up feeling more and more tired the further we explored Hannoverian history. There was a lot of talk about kings and horses and houses, but my mind just kept spinning around images of kings’ beds (of which they sadly had none on display). So thus conclude my adventures in Hannover, and I’m going to try and get some sleep. I still have five hours to go, and tonight I have two parties to attend. It’s going to be a late night. Tomorrow is not going to be fun (except that I’m going to the bookshop and then catching the train to go on a skiing holiday with my family, so I believe the hangover will be just a minor distraction.); I told Inga I’m not going to drink tonight, but open bar? Who’m I kidding!

Okay, better stop here before anyone thinks I’m a hopeless alcoholic (if anything, I’m a promisingly hopeful one!). I hope your week has been as great as mine!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

The Best Day of my Life (A Hamburg Adventure)

Last weekend I had the incredible chance to visit my friend Inga in Hamburg. Until now I always thought Berlin was my favourite city everrr, but now I‘m actually torn between the two! I‘ve been to at least a dozen different book shops, tested like five cafés and started working off my bucket list. It felt so good to just ditch uni for a few days and just feel happy without worrying too much about homework or vacuuming or whether I should take the bicycle or the bus. One of my friends has this status on her WhatsApp account that says, How wild it was, to let it be. This is exactly what Hamburg felt like. To let so many things just be. I didn‘t go see The Lion King and I didn‘t even pass the famous Reeperbahn, I just didn‘t care about sightseeing at all, and it was great to have the luxury of being so free.

In Hamburg I learned one thing about city trips: they are the most fun if you follow the children‘s program! I seriously had the time of my life on saturday.

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We started the day off by visiting the Miniature Wonderland. There are so many details and we just spent ages trying to discover them all. Well, right until we got to Scandinavia and Inga wanted coffee because she‘d seen that bit like a trillion times already. I could probably have spent the day there. So many tiny everyday life situations that suddenly seem so fascinating and, yes, a little disturbing. Like the tiny couple having sex in the corn field while tiny police officers are fishing a tiny corpse out of a river while in the background a tiny family is having a tiny garden party. I thought that this is actually very much like real life, because what are we if not tiny people going about our tiny lives? And how grand we feel while doing so!

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After a well deserved coffee we headed to the Speicherstadt, a beautiful old part of the city. There we visited a museum called Chocoversum which, you guessed it, is all about chocolate! We got a really amazing tour, but what was even more amazing was the part where we could make our own chocolate. And that wasn‘t even the best bit of the day. After that we went to have cake and it was so delicious it made me want to cry. Every day that is so full of chocolate can not be bad, really not.

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It was already late afternoon and I made Inga go to a Build-A-Bear-Workshop with me where you can create your own teddy bear. I‘m really proud of her to have stuck with me the entire time while I was dancing around the store, my arms raised, shouting „Love! Love! Love!“ with the shop assistant, so that my new toy would be a good friend. We had a  bit of a dispute when it came to choosing a name because I declined everything she offered until I finally settled for Poopsy (totally my idea… what can I say, I‘m not very creative under stress!).

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When I look back on these days now I realise how little it mattered that the sky was grey for most of the time or that my train arrived late or that I at one point spilled tea all over me. Because all I really remember is that chocolatey day and the cookie cutter that I bought and how I planted a heart in a teddy bear and how wild it was to have a tea in Inga‘s kitchen, and to let it be.

Lots of Love!
xxx

Wadd’s Up At The Wadden Sea!

So, I spent six months in a country that borders the carribean sea, and not once did I go swimming in it. Now I‘m back in Switzerland, and you can say whatever you want about it, but we have mountains not beaches! And yes, the mountains are just as beautiful and stunning, but have I mentioned that it‘s also raining? We‘re not even getting warm weather!

The Wadden Sea at low tide
The Wadden Sea at low tide

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It‘s a good thing, I suppose, that I spent the first week of August at the Wadden Sea in St. Peter-Ording in Germany. Now, that‘s something to look at. Miles and miles of sandy ground, the beach seems to go on for ages. Swimming is only fun when the tide is high, but low tide brings its own pleasures. Crabs, alive and dead, cockles, worms… the mud is very much alive. I realize of course that you wouldn‘t necessarily call a cockle a vivid and exciting creature – but if you put it in the sand somewhere in a sunny spot it starts to spin around and bury itself in the ground where it is safe from birds and other predators.
And then there was the most beautiful thing when we went for a walk late one night and the floor around our feet began to glow. Wikipedia calls this phenomenon the „Milky seas effect“, and it‘s basically just alga that, well, glows in the dark.

Lighthouse of Westerhever and salt meadow
Lighthouse of Westerhever and salt meadow

But ever so often, beautiful things are threatened – and so is the Wadden Sea. Its main enemy, climate change, is making the sea level rise drastically, giving the Wadden Sea‘s inhabitants not much of a chance to adapt. If the beaches are constantly flooded, where will all the cockle eating birds get their food? If the seals can‘t use the sandbanks for reprodction where they are safe from natural predators – how are we going to get more seal babies?

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Seal-Safari
Walrus baby with moustache! (source: www.mittelbayrische.de)
Walrus baby with moustache! (source: www.mittelbayrische.de)

Oh, talking of babies (no, I‘m not getting one!), one of the things we regretted not being able to do was visiting the zoo in Hamburg. Their current highlight is the recently born walrus baby. It has a moustache – we all had to agree that this is one of the coolest things!
We had a pretty cool time, though. I got a tan (at last), we found kangaroos and when we went for a biking trip, only six of the twenty-five hired bikes broke. Holidays are fun!