BERLIN: “Home”

Time to read:

3 minutes

Home away from home for a month placed me in what used to be East Germany. I was a 20-minute tram ride from language school and minutes on foot from the gate where thousands of East Germans poured across the Wall into the West on November 9, 1989.

Day after day in the fall, the sunny sky was blue, the clouds white and the trees bathed in red, green, orange and yellow. Part of the fun was meeting my hosts, mastering the streetcar, sampling the curry wurst, shopping at the grocery or corner market, eating at the Elf Cafe and strolling across the street to Arnim Park.

This part of suburban Prenzlauer Berg is charming and quiet, and I was always glad to set out on its streets on a crisp October morning and to retreat to it after a long day.

Bornholmerstrasse, the street where I’ll live for the next four weeks.

Bornholmerstrasse other direction. A quiet, pretty Kiez (neighborhood).

Home: Bornholmerstrasse 78, via Airbnb. I’m on what we would call the third floor. It’s a walk-up.

In my little apartment, the bed rises to the ceiling to create more living space during the day.

With the bed raised, you can see the “office.”

The blog is created in the apartment’s comfortable work space.

Part of the charm of this tiny apartment is that free clothes-washing is available right next to my “Reich (empire),” as my host calls my space. No hauling dirty laundry down the street! Washing machine has half the capacity of ours at home, though, so it takes twice as many loads.

The courtyard that my window looks out on.

Another view of that magnificent chestnut tree in the courtyard. It’s taller than the 5-story condo building.

Rewe, the supermarket where I shop for food and other essentials. That young woman in red at the door is there every day. I think she’s there for a handout, but maybe I’m naive.

Every few blocks, there’s a corner market like this one, which is maybe a block from my room. It’s bigger than it looks; inside it extends partway down the block. It’s close. It sells a little of everything. It’s open late. It’s open Sundays (when most other stores close).

“My” cafe, the Elf, on the north end of Arnim Park, 5 minutes from my room. I eat breakfast and often other meals here. Other times, the Elf is just a great place to hang out. Cool music, staff and other customers.

It’s very pleasant to sit outside the Elf, but the chairs are horribly hard. My max is 30 minutes on those chairs. The “roof” overhead is because construction is under way on the floors above. The park is just to the right across the street.

Arnim Park, across the street from the Elf. Berliners who hate their long, cold winters are holding on to Indian summer with both hands!

Around the corner from the apartment is Siebert’s, which claims to be the oldest bakery in Berlin. It’s mentioned in all the guidebooks, so maybe with that much experience, they make really good Kuchen. The line inside is twice that long.


6 responses to “BERLIN: “Home””

  1. Bina and Ken Cline Avatar

    Great start to your blog. Your formatting is working fine with text and photos. A bed that rises to the sky … hmmm

  2. edmetzler Avatar

    Good to hear from you, Clint. “Home” looks like just what you need: Spartan. The pics and formatting are coming through fine on my Android and on my PC.

  3. Linda Kahlke Avatar
    Linda Kahlke

    What an experience. Great photos.

  4. kahlke Avatar

    Great experience. Love the photos and keep them coming.

  5. John Romanec Avatar
    John Romanec

    Whats internet service like?

    1. Clint Swift Avatar

      My host is the building engineer at this 5-floor condo building, so everything works flawlessly. Wifi is strong. At school, however, the signal is weak — or the problem is that a couple hundred students get out of class at the same time, and we all want to use wifi. Cafes and other spots where you’re welcome to use wifi are more difficult to find than in the US. German law is being updated, but right now, it still holds wifi providers responsible for what people post on their site.

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