I really love finding old-fashioned painted advertisements in unexpected corners, the more faded and dilapidated the better. Most romantic of all are the ones which have almost disappeared into the wall, and when they’re in German you have the added delight of trying to guess exactly what they were for in the first place. There’s one such that I walked past every day of the course, and I still haven’t worked it out.
This one is right next to the Hackeschen Höfe, which is a series of interlinked courtyards with cunning little shops. I had to visit the Ampelman shop for my sister but I accidentally visited a few others as well. One with an interesting idea was a whole shop of aesthetically pleasing white boxes, available to rent by designers. Thus a shop full of a variety of ‘unique, designer’ goods.
I liked it, but I must admit that I’ve seen more exciting stuff in London, and none of the other shops set me alight either. However, I went in at Hof 8 and worked my way backwards through the courts. So when I got to this beauty, it was a bit of a surprise. Yes folks, this is why all the tourists visit! Anyway, I was clued into the Höfe by my sprachtandem partner, Sonja, who was one of my students. We met on Saturday afternoon to ‘train’. We split our time between English and German conversation and ate yummy cake. She’s coming round to ‘my’ place on Wednesday, so I need to work out how to hostess as elegantly as she did. Her flat is divine, huge and light and full of good taste. But more importantly, Sonja is absolutely lovely and is very tolerant of my sehr rusty German.
On Sunday, we suddenly had blue sky, so I met up with Jake and took a wander into Friedrichshain, another fun district just across the river. This little man was the first to catch my attention. I almost didn’t bother shooting him, but he was too cute to pass up.
A little further down the road, we found this rather splendid collection of stickers and stencils and all the good stuff. This is a rubbish photo, but gives the first impression in all honesty.
When I started looking closely, I saw this beauty. Ian McShane! And then, even better, Tink too! Who would have thought I’d see some prima Lovejoy reference on a wall in F’hain? Of course, there’s some other good stuff here, a rather messed up Andre the Giant, and the gorgeous little ducks/platypus you can see just above him, but it’s Ian that really sold it.
Look at this big bubble of gorgeousness. I think that the winged tv you can see stage left is a quite well known thing, but the sheer variety here really impressed me. Love the little pink sleepy dude too!
We also have a rather splendid Jack, and a little sample of the blue period in street art. Isn’t she beautiful?
We went to a fab little Flohmarkt (that’s flea market) in Boxhagener platz, and I had to restrain myself from buying all kinds of completely pointless kitsch. It could be really fun furnishing a flat here tho, the entire thing could be some kind of retro palace which could be a dog’s dinner of mismatched junk or some kind of wonderfulness. I would hope that I would create wonderfulness, but hey you never know.
After I started turning into an icicle, I took myself home again, and managed to snatch this snap from the bridge. I love these two epics. I have no idea what they’re about, save maybe to save that work is not all that great, but I love them.
Final act on Sunday, I had my first flat viewing. It was a tense situation because honestly my German is a ‘get by’ thing, not a ‘negotiation’ thing. The flat was tiny but nice enough that I think I’d take it if offered. She was lovely but is having lots of people round to see it so honestly I’m doubtful she’ll pick me, so it’s nose back to the grindstone for househunting. This ain’t fun folks! Wish me luck… Still, I had my first two official lessons today, and they went ok. Some of the students weren’t giving much away, but I think they didn’t hate me.
And on a final social note for those who think I should be experience more techno techno techno, I had my first almost Berlinesque night on Saturday, with a few drinks with Alex (from Bristol) seeing me get home at 5am. That may not be a late night for true Berlin folks, but I was d.o.n.e. Fun stuff, we even found some drum and bass and it took me right back the old school…speaking of which, on Thursday I’ll be meeting Chris, in whose illustrious steps I’m following. Yup, this is the class act from Borlase who did the CELTA and then worked in the school, exactly as I’m starting to do now. I’m looking forward to it very much indeed.