So, here I am in Berlin. My arrival may have attracted less attention than Obama’s, but as I chatted to the taxi driver who drove me from Tegel to my temporary new home on Winterfeldplatz, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’ blasting out from the stereo, it still felt like an important moment. After all, it’s the beginning of an adventure in location independence, and the chance to fully immerse myself in the Berlin literary scene for the next month. Within two hours of arriving I was sat in Prater Biergarten, beer in hand, catching up with old translator friends and meeting new ones. Due to the pretty intense heat since then (35 degrees-ish but to this English gal it feels like 40), I’ve been keeping my explorations to the cooler hours of the day, and right now the only place with the merest breath of air is the balcony.
So here I am, too hot to translate or edit or do anything too much like work, melting in the muggy night. It seems a good time to jot down the things I’d like to do over the next few weeks, so here’s a list, by no means exhaustive and in no particular order:
Go back to the LCB, home of the wonderful Sommerakademie I attended in 2011, for one of their literary events (and for the cooler breeze of Wannsee, if it’s still ridiculously hot)
Celebrate summer solstice at the Fête de la Musique.
Research interesting old cinemas and go see a movie, possibly Tango Libre, possibly Before Midnight, and possibly by myself. I’ve always fancied going to the movies alone on a hot afternoon, but never have.
Go to ‘Gnocchi-Abend’ at the Berlin Argentine restaurant, El Caminito, which sells delicious home-made empanadas, and stock up on yerba for the month.
Go on a trip to Mühlhausen to visit my former German teacher from school, as we still write to each other and I’ve been meaning to for ages now.
Go to some outdoor salsa nights at BeachMitte, because — in theory — it’s cooler than indoors. Right?
Find a quiet, relaxing corner to work on the text extract for my upcoming translation slam with Shaun Whiteside after I get back to London.
Explore the deserted funfair at Spreepark, which was ”once the only amusement park in the GDR, but left to rot in 2002 after a scandal involving 180kg of cocaine hidden in the Magic Carpet Ride.”
There are more things, places, books, people…but now it really is too hot to think, and I don’t want to over-plan anyway. More soon, once it cools down…