Pop-up art: This piece of bicycle street art appeared overnight outside Ria and Chris’s apartment block a few weeks ago.
Well I arrived in Berlin last Sunday after a 26 hour flight that left me deliriously tired – and deliriously excited to see my gorgeous pals Chris and Ria who have relocated to this fascinating German outpost.
Chris is the drummer in the indie rock band Expatriate
and his wife Ria is a communications whiz.(she also has the rain man-like ability to navigate her way around the metro system of any city!)
They’re living in the artistic but slowly gentrifying suburb of Prenzlauer berg in the old East Berlin.
The bicycle is the preferred mode of transport for most Berliners. Streets are wide and flat with continuous bike lanes.
And when visitors and tourists decide to move on, their touring bikes can be picked up very cheaply
This pink one with a woven carrier basket caught Chris’s eye.
25 Euro later he was the proud owner of a new set of wheels.
Lunch was down the road at a little bistro. We all went for a traditional schnitzel.
The veal steak came with a puffed crunchy coating of thin breadcrumbs, a tangy cold potato salad and some cranberry relish.
The stand out was the side serve of ribbons of cucumber with a creme fraiche and dill sauce
In their attempt to keep me from falling asleep, Chris and Ria took me for a little neighbourhood recce.
Berlin is teeming with green – from flower baskets on balconies, to creepers on buildings
You never feel very far away from nature
Berliners are also huge boozers. The streets are littered with smashed glass and beer bottle tops. Drinking in public – in parks and on trains is widely accepted behaviour. In fact, the legal drinking age is 16 and 14 if the beverage is a low alcoholic one and the minor is accompanied by a parent.
Despite the city being awash with beer there is little of the accompanying agro that you find in Australia. It was the safest I’ve ever felt in any city.
Time for a long hot shower and some sleep. Tomorrow I hit the tourist hotpots.