Berlin

Berlin. Home of the donner kebab and city of beer. The only thing more proliferant here than the former is the latter. Kiosks sell it, corner shops are stacked high with it and supermarkets have whole separate buildings devoted to it. Men in suits drink beer on their evening journeys home along the S-Bahn (whose rules only discourage excessive drinking). People drink on the street where impromptu parties form around a busker or a man with a boom box. Even the smokiest little neighbourhood bar is filled every day of the week until the sun rises and men and women alike are all drinking beer.

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The kebab shops, of course, also sell beer (England take note) and the kebabs are a far cry from the grey, soggy things we have at home. A pita that is crusty without but soft within allows all the sauce to be soaked up while the structural integrity of the kebab remains unshakable. Peppers are grilled along with meat and sizzle in its juices. Fried potatoes and veg are thrown in. Fresh salad, a sprinkle of crumbled feta and a dash of lemon seal the deal. Even sober people eat kebabs here.

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There is of course a lot of dramatic and recent history here too but I don’t think the kebabs here get the coverage they deserve so you can read about that elsewhere.

The real reason I took the detour here, however, was to visit my friend Hannah, who is half German, has lived in Berlin since finishing college and has recently become a mother! So I have stayed with Hannah, her boyfriend René and the wee baby Mika at their home for a week. Now I head down towards Dresden, then the Czech Republic.

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UPDATE: Some shots taken while leaving Berlin; the Brezhnev-Honecher kiss on the East Side Gallery; the bombastic, 39′ statue of the Treptow Park soviet war memorial; the enormous zeppelin hanger South of the city that has been filled with sand, water and palm trees to make ‘Tropical Islands’.

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