passing seasons

Photos are from the Instagram, as always.

 

 

I don’t write like I used to anymore.

I don’t write things like this anymore. Or this. Or even this. Somewhere along the lines, I lost my ability to write about nothing. It’s not so easy writing about nothing.* Reading the old words in retrospect, I cannot remember the faces or the names of people that I was writing about. And clearly, they meant something. I wonder whether it’ll be the same with him, too. I doubt it, but wouldn’t it be nice? To just forget everything? But I don’t see how.

I am back in Prague now, at least for a while. Since late spring, I have mostly been on the road. There were two trips to Berlin, five or six trips back to the coast over the summer, a weekend in Rome, half a dozen weekend trips around the republic, a quick trip to London, and a day and a half in Zagreb. I closed the summer by the sea, just as I wanted. But now I am back in this city of mine. I realized that I have been in and out of Prague my entire life, so it doesn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary. Everywhere I go I have my little rituals; mostly coffee rituals. Short fragments of time that I can count on to give me a few moments of calm, quiet, and a warm flat white between my hands. Plans for the fall and winter were to explore the south of Europe but instead of boarding tickets, I’ll be collecting books and coffee-stained study notes. With the only exception of Paris. Because Paris is always a good idea.

The fall is here. Unmistakeably. I bought the last batch of asparagus I could find to add to my weekly minestrone soup on coconut oil. Pumpkin piles have replaced strawberry stalls, and somehow I am okay with it. I am okay with the upcoming winter, the nightfall in the early afternoon, and evenings at home because it’ll be too cold for anything else. Except, perhaps, mulled wine. Recently, a sentence caught my eye: I do not have an effect on the passing seasons — but what if he could?

Would I still be worried about winter?

greetings from berlin

Berlin. I mean, seriously, Berlin!

I had no idea what I was getting into the first time I came up. It’s not just the counter-culture, the punk, and all the people mixed together. The Turkish quarters with portions of hummus so huge that they are hard to devour in two, the bite-sized baklavas, and the impeccably prepared coffee; the coffee that smells like home and maybe even feels like it. My Israeli restaurant, Sababa, in Mitte district. Then a whole afternoon reserved just for Ethiopian food. My devotion to it knows no limits and I’ve been away for too long.

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From Berlin with love.

The bike rides from east to west, and not realizing when you’ve crossed the line. And by the way, biking around Berlin is the best way to experience the city. East Side Gallery; what it represents now. My friend and I biked through the entire wall and I kept thinking of him. He’d been there before and — I am pressed hard to admit this — based on his loose recommendations of what I might like, I was kind of retracing his steps. Berlin feels a little bit like stepping back in time; seeing all the memorials and the marks of the past. Like walking through a cloud or a ghost, if such a thing existed.

I came with no expectations, walked away with so much. But you do have to know the history in order to understand the city, at least some of it. Without being able to connect the dots, I am not sure my passion would be the same. Berlin captures me with its rawness and history. The past and the present mixed together, I felt as if I could relate to the city on some strange introverted level.

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Kreuzberg.
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A simple question. Or something.

Berlin.

Photo booths and Club Mate. David Bowie paraphernalia in places you wouldn’t expect them. Parks, plenty of parks. Summer in the city. Memorials and museums. Spectacular coffee and food places. Streets of diverse, incredible people. PhD. students who look like they are homeless; then they open their mouth and you find out they speak eight languages. Jazz, new-age pop, reggae, and classical music; everything goes. You don’t even think about it. Oh, and Kreuzberg, the colorful neighborhood that I fell in love with. I’d definitely take a flat around there but settled for a flat white. Even in Berlin (especially in Berlin!), I followed the coffee.

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The Barn.
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Five Elephant.

The Barn, naturally. It’s my number one. They are pros and they are gorgeous. Roasters disappointed the first time and then they disappointed the second time. The coffee was scorching hot and couldn’t be even touched for ten minutes. Also: not strong enough for my Southern European tastes. But that’s just me. Bitte! Coffeehouse was a love at first sight. A little Greek shop tucked away unassumingly on a street. Apart from an excellent flat white, I walked away with a lovely homemade lavender soap. And saving the best for last: Five Elephant is a must, without a doubt.

In Berlin, you listen to the beat of your heart and let it lead you.