German pillows are a crime against sleep

How does this make any kind of sense?

How big is your head?

I’m not suggesting you know its exact circumference in centimetres, but you do have an idea of how much space it takes up, right?

I don’t think this is the case for German people. How else would you explain their pillows?

Scolded by Germans

One of my old friends is going native.

I went to the beach with her and her sister long before kindergarten was on the horizon, and we attended the same high school in our tiny hometown.

The misery of apartment hunting in Berlin

“There’s gotta be someplace out there for me…”

It’s easier to get into North Korea than it is to rent a flat in Berlin.

I can say that with great confidence, having done both.

The ‘Forbidden City’ just outside Berlin

This was once the largest Red Army base outside the USSR

The largest Red Army base outside the Soviet Union was a 40 minute drive south of Berlin.

It was just beyond where the new airport — and the old Schönefeld SXF — is today.

The abandoned airport down the street

Tempelhof airport was once the world’s largest building

I’m moving flats next month and saying goodbye to Tempelhofer Feld, my favourite space in the neighbourhood.

But before I pack up my books and lug them across town, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history of what was once the world’s largest building.

The Heavy Load-Bearing Body Down the Street

The base of the Schwerbelastungskörper

I’m moving flats soon, after four years, leaving this neighbourhood behind for another pre-war altbau in a different part of the city.

Imminent departure has prompted me to poke around some of those minor historic sites I’ve passed so often but never gotten around to exploring.

The skies are strangely empty

A silent power station on the Teltow Canal

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in Berlin, but it doesn’t feel like spring is in the air.

The biergarten are shuttered. The parks are roped off. And many of the ice cream parlours are closed.

The hamsters are loose in Berlin

Hamsters on the loose in Berlin (Photo: imago images/7aktuell)

It’s not surprising that the culture which gave us specific words for a brilliant idea you get while drinking but end up regretting later (Schnapsidee — I get a lot of these), and for the perverse sense of satisfaction at taking joy in someone else’s pain (Schadenfreude) should also have a term for hoarding.

Berlin life in the time of COVID-19

Pariser Platz on COVID-19 nights (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

I’m not a disease expert by any stretch — though I have been sick in several third world shitholes.

But it feels like anyone with any sort of public platform is expected to take a position on the COVID-19 pandemic. It certainly had a paralyzing impact on travel.

Adrift in Europe’s Capital of Cool

Is this what it’s like to live in Berlin…?

A group of four shirtless guys sat on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in slow listless circles. Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, was pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad driver smacked him with the reigns and urged him to trot faster.