BERLIN – Russian Breakfasts & Memorial of the Murdered Jews

The alarm goes off with an all but soothing signal that slices my heavy head up. Ughh, leave me be. I’m in the right bunk now but I’m still wearing my jeans from last night and the sticky denim feels like a prison. I look over and see my classmates laying half nude scattered across the wooden beds. I can almost see it collectively oozing from our sleep deprived bodies. Funny enough, nothing of this disgusts me, just like when I first fled to London and had fewer days hungover than not and sleep was nothing of need.

The hot water sizzles my sore skin as I step into the shower. I try and wash off as much of my tiredness away as I can. As I get dressed I realise I’ve lost one of my contacts. Desperately I look as thorough as my blindness allows and find it on the radiator, dry as summer skin, but it will have to do. One can’t simply walk around blind in Berlin. My friends laugh at me as we hastily gather our clothes that lay spread out on the floor and push them down our bags to make the check out time.

Aron,-Berlin

Aron

Guess what, it’s damp and grey and miserable outside, but the air is like a chilled glass of juice so I’m grateful. Plus, what would Berlin be if the buildings were whole, cheerful and perfect, with clean streets a sun everywhere?

My friends bring us along a prettier part of town, but three turns in I’m lost in the maze of gritty streets. We manage to find a Russian spot called Cafe Datscha and this just seem like the perfect day for Russian breakfast. Whatever that might be.

russian-brunch

It turns out it’s more than I could ever hope for. I order something that I can’t pronounce and half of what shows up I can’t tell what it is. That being said, it turns out to be top three of any brunch I’ve ever had. Crepes and eggs and hundreds of little pots of dips and cold casseroles.

Jackie-and-Anton,-2015

Jackie & Anton

Like yesterday we don’t rush at all, but let the hours pass unnoticed. Second rounds of coffee arrives and the eight of us overlap one conversation topic after another.

Jackie is obsessed with face swap and provide us with brilliance at any given opportunity. I’ve had the honour of being the victim a few times but this is my favourite. Today beats all records though as somehow we happen to get swapped into paintings, murals and the guy at the table next to us. There is nothing in my body but laughter for hours.

Jackie-and-Anton,-Berlin

Finally we figure that it’s time to do something with this day and we pay and head out on the streets again.

Aron,-Berlin-2015
Aron,-Berlin-March-2015

With no specific goal the eight of us stroll through the empty Monday streets and browse through shop containing clothes we can’t afford.

Berlin-Memorial

Hours later we end up at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Linn,-Berlin-2015

Me 

It’s breathtaking and captures me completely when it swallows us as we walk into its heart. I hate this world and how evil we allow people to get. Then as much as today.

Anton,-Berlin

Jackie, Anton, Gustav and me grab a taxi to another part of town where stores are fancy and parents are that type of quirky only rich people with too much time on their hands can manage. I’m jealous of course, as me and Jackie drool over the Aesop shop window. Anton guides us toward Monsieur Vuong, a Vietnamese restaurant where we will have dinner.

Monsieur-Vong,-Berlin

The waiter shuffles us towards one of the bigger tables in a corner draped in red cloth. It looks somewhat like an asian version of Amelie de Montemartre with bright red walls enclosing the buzz of hungry people conversing among steaming noodle soups and odd knick knacks. With the hot food our friends arrive and we scooch over to make space for our loves. They tell us about there day and German boys they’ve kissed and quickly the whole dinner conversation is about sex. And is just as funny as always.

Afterwards the twelve of us cram into a taxi and even though the ride is brief most of us manage to fall asleep. The other half of the class joins us at the airport and from the expensive tax free shop we order overpriced coffee that we devour in the mist of e-ciggarette smoke.

When I’m seated on board of the plane I hear all of my friends giggle and talk and snore around me. We take up almost half of this flight and I had always thought that belonging to a huge group like this would put me off, but not with these. I wish they could all move into my room and live there forever. But considering I didn’t get an eye infection from my dried out contact lens I think I should settle with wishes for now.

 

Linn

 

Also see Berlin Day 1 , Berlin Day 2 Berlin Day 3

BERLIN – 5pm Breakfasts + Crowded Top Bunks

Waking up after this deadly great girlfriend saturday I actually don’t feel tired what so ever. I look over at Frida on the pillow next to me and she’s awake too. We roll onto our stomaches and go through our snapchat stories from the previous night (linn.wiberg if you want to add me!).

Frida,-Neukölln

Frida and I get dressed in her dreamy rental flat, playing Caribou’s new album loudly whilst switching outfits and discussing Drake’s music video and what to do when friends who fall in love with you. I text my cute classmates and we decide on a brunch date at Cabslam, a Californian breakfast spot in Neukölln.

Theo,-Cabslam-Berlin

The staff somewhat despise us even though they are being well nice and considerate when we are 16 people showing up at three different times all ordering different add ons and odd drinks.

Frida,-Cabslam-Berlin

Over fried eggs and bloody marys my classmates question Frida about everything and she returns with just as many questions. It’s lovely being able to gather your favourites and discover that they work so well together.

Cabslam,-Berlin

It must be us having too much of a good time together because once we’ve finished and paid it’s past 5pm.

Seth+Summer

Anton, aka the world’s best dj ProseccoPapi, is wearing the best sweater on this planet. Well apart from the ROSS + RACHEL.

Frida-Regeheim,-Berlin

I follow my chick back to her flat to gather my things and hang out for a few more hours. She’s got a pitch the day after and can’t join us when we go out and discover the dirtiest parts of Berlin. So I hug her a little bit longer before we say farewell. MY QUEEN!

Hostel-in-Berlin

Then I go by u-bahn without paying and end up at my classmates’ hostel.

Hostel,-Berlin

We hang out of the windows, play drinking games through apps and blast hiphop. I can’t believe we managed to drag 24 people down to Berlin just to hang out! They all tell me stories including things I did not know about them which makes me love them even more. I lay in bed, drunkenly laughing, feeling young and happy.

Around midnight we’re all in taxis heading to Berghain. I’m dreading it because I’m sure it’s not my cuppa tea so to say. As we get there we all get denied entry which I find hilarious and laugh about the whole taxi ride back to the hostel. Across the street is a karaoke spot and the 24 of us get crammed into a room blasting music. Me and Jackie sing six tracks after each other just because there is no such thing as stage fright able to exist with these people. I feel like Cher in her prime years. With €4 Moscow Mules in my hand I look around as my boys and girls dance around me, fighting for the mic, shouting rap lyrics and whaling to rnb tracks from early 2000s. There is exactly no place I’d rather be in that moment and I want my year with Hyper Island to last a lifetime.

Finally the karaoke owners have to kick us out and we leave reluctantly. On the way back to the hostel we pick up some döner kebabs and beers and continue the party in one of the filthy rooms. Too many people cram into the bunk beds who might as well crack any moment. The windows condense from everybody talking over each other. Sometime then I fall asleep with three of my mates in somebody else’s top bunk with a head spinning and a heart flying high.

 

Linn

ps a medal to you for commenting so much lately <3

Also see Berlin Day 1Berlin Day 2

BERLIN – girlfriend sleepovers + midnight cafes

It’s Saturday and the second day of my trip to Berlin where I am to visit Frida with 20 of my classmates.

Le-Bon,-2015

We wake up just after four hours of slumber. I don’t think I slept at all actually, just waiting for the hours to pass. The weight of my head is that of a planet but Frida pulls me out on the street where the air is damp and crisp. It helps a little, but her company the most.

Le-Bon,-Berlin

The fog lies above the grey streets and the neighbourhoods look just as if war was still present. She takes me to a corner cafe named Le Bon where we will have brunch. Around us are wealthy couples in vintage attire and cool jobs who pay extra to have sparkling water with their sandwiches. I almost cry when the eggs arrive because they are so tasty and the wooden table so beautifully heavy. Frida laughs at me and then we also pretend to be wealthy with cool jobs.

Frida-med-semla-2015

Life feels like a struggle, wearing a hangover like this for the day. Berlin is gloomy and damp but it doesn’t kill our mood. Frida takes me around shops where we browse through vintage track suits and leather platforms whilst talking about her lovers and my depressions. Once the headache is about to drown us we stop by some Swedish cafe and down a semla in less than two minutes. We are both impressed and slightly worried as we look over at each other. We are defeated.

– Frida, I think I am close to dying or crying or both, I say, desperate for her to agree.

– God, me too. How about heading home for a nap? she replies.

I am close to marrying her right then and there.

Frida-Regeheim,-2015

Whilst my classmates texts me wanting us to join them for dinner we instead cuddle into the duvets, turn off the lights and with heavy breaths fall into hard slumber. Two hours later the alarm wakes us up. Like true troopers we pour us some left over scotch to share whilst still in bed. It is just like our teenage years in London, hunting adventures with too few hours to sleep. Then we try on different outfits and dance to Nicki Minaj’s music videos like queens.

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The venue of the night is some palace looking building by a deserted roundabout. I think of how Germany surprises me by being just as I imagined it. We’re there to attend something as brilliant as a night called Burgers & Hiphop. Apparently thousands of others agree with us and we arrive facing a two hour queue to get in. We don’t queue though. I’m too old for patience and too young to care. So discretely we join some german crew at the front and viola! Yes, I’d hate us too. But there is no shame in youth, just as there shouldn’t be.

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I lose my breath as we enter because it looks like the parties from some cool dance college film. Ok, that made it sound incredibly uncool, but it was right up my alley. The bar is built down into the ground and platforms filled with hiphop loving babes towering up all around it.

There wasn’t a single male dj playing that night, but only hiphop queens. What made me even happier is that it wasn’t even announced in the event, it was just casually a fact. Among the tall germans we dance for hours. Every single track that we listened to when frequenting the club Efes three times a week during 2012 are being played. Funnily there are still people who don’t believe in time travel.

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When the hours of dancing are finished we find some run down late night cafe as our intoxicated bodies scream for food. The lady working there is absolutely lovely and serve us sandwiches for 1€. It just seems inevitable to not finish off the day with another egg photo of my love and we even order a second round because we can.

I don’t know what we keep on laughing at but I feel like 16 and nothing matters apart from us being alone in a shitty cafe with cheap food and boys who love us. We are talking about how we should buy this place the day we become rich, because nothing can be more brilliant than an egg cafe. Outside boys catcall us but not even that can piss me off at this point. We brush our teeth together and plan our summer in NYC. Laying in bed we talk excitedly about nothing until Frida falls asleep in the middle of one of her sentences.

Somewhere between uni and adulthood I forgot how important sleepovers with girlfriends are.


Linn



Also see Berlin Day 1

& check out Frida’s blog

BERLIN – Neukölln bars + techno palaces

We started the weekend long before school was over. Our program manager organised some excuse for us to start the partying after lunch already as he knew that over 20 of us in the class had tickets to go to Berlin a few hours later. Tipsy, blasting hiphop we stood in a corner on the 3rd floor, dancing as if it was a late night club. I’m definitely becoming one of those slightly disgusting people who are absolutely infatuated with their class and only wants to spend time with them and nobody else, haha.

Lienestrasse,-Berlin

Three trains, a bus, a plane and an u-bahn later I stand in front of Frida at her pastel coloured station in Berlin. It is inevitably exactly like this scene.

Frida-Regeheim,-2015

She brings me past all the kebab shops and icy streets up to the flat she’s renting for her three months internship. It’s like taken from a magazine editorial, and I expect nothing less for my queen.

Geist-im-Glas,-Berlin

We then head out zigzag across Neukölln’s streets. I thought Stockholm was cold but the temperatures feel different here, more evil perhaps, persistently penetrating the cloth hiding my skin. We stop at what looks like a secret cave, all candlelit and the amber light spills through the windows out onto the black roads.

Geist im Glas is the name of the bar and between dilapidated walls we drink cocktails for a few euros and discuss square German agencies, refugee parents and us as 30 year olds. My classmates keep sending me texts from various phones commanding me to get my ass over to the bar they’re at.

Frida-R,-2015

We hail a taxi as we’ve seem to have forgotten that we have no money. Frida directs the non english speaking driver with the few German words she possess. The bar they’re at is rammed with all my friends but it has closed and we stand in the window gesturing to them to go open the door. My drunken friends just wave back. Sigh.

A man is out smoking and as we curse and damn the world it turns out that he is the owner of the bar and unlocks a back door for us to sneak in. I present Frida to my friends as if she is my hidden most valuable treasure and they all love her. It isn’t long before we leave that bar and jump into taxi number two that takes us to what I feared most about going to Berlin, an all night german techno palace.

We’re banned to talk in the queue and hushed we pay and enter the smokey, strobe lit venue. It’s hidden deep down under ground and I keep on thinking how we’d have no chance of surviving if there was a fire. The people are drugged and the song playing (even though I’m pretty sure that is the incorrect term for this kind of music) doesn’t change even in the slightest during the following hours. I hate it, like so much. I’m a lyrics and hiphop and punk kind of gal. I even love pop if I have to, anything but THIS.

I look over at Frida and she seems to hate is just as much and I don’t know why but the situation is too comical to be boring. My classmates seem so misplaced and so in love with it at the same time that I burst into laughter. So we pretend to get into it and dance to weird beats and the epileptic light messes with my perception of time. At 6am my alarm rings and it’s time to go home. We jump into the third taxi of the night and when we finally lay in bed the grey sky shines bright in through our window and I wonder how Berliners do this every weekend.

 

Linn