Berlin

The month of May has been exceptionally busy travel-wise, and I have loved every minute of it. I felt really lucky to be able to zip around some wonderful places, whether it be for work or for pleasure. And it so happened that in one week I managed to zip through three B cities! Brussels, where I showed a visiting friend around for a few days, Belgrade, as you read in my previous post, and Berlin, the absolute undisputed highlight of that week, and actually, of the whole year, when it comes to travelling.

I fell madly in love with Berlin. I had been there once before, but it was winter and miserably cold, and I kept wondering why I had wished so bad to go there for such a long time… All of that was made crystal clear during this trip, though. Berlin in the spring – my, it just absolutely entrances you, there is no getting away from it!

All the space (loads of it! you cannot feel claustrophobic in that city), all the green (and the people taking advantage of it to the fullest), all the bikes (and so few cars – heaven!), all the rhythms of life slowed down and relaxed…

Oh, and all the craftiness as well! We went to one huge craft shop on three floors which was out of this world. I came away with some sweet gifts for dear friends. I had decided not to look for any yarn shops (even though my friends, knowing me, were shocked by this decision), but it turned out I couldn’t avoid them even if I wanted to. On my way to the airport bus on the way home, I bumped into this:

Luckily the shop bit was closed, as it was a public holiday, and only the cafe was open. So my no-yarn decision held fast! :)

Anyway, for the trip I was in the best possible company and we made the most possible use of our time there. So much so that at the end of each day my feet were hurting so bad I could literally not stand on them!

We saw all the major sights…

And some of the history really got to me, I have to admit. So much terrible, terrible stuff crammed into one city. As a big believer in books and all their uses and benefits, I found this square, where they used to hold book burnings, very sad. It inspired me to go and read Fahrenheit 451 (actually, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it before!), and I really enjoyed it – highly recommended.

But it was also nice to see how the city is rebuilding itself, not wiping the historical stuff away but putting its own brand on it, remembering, but also transforming.

The architecture of Berlin is not particularly impressive. It has simply been run down too many times to have old buildings standing around everywhere. Most are only a few decades old and primarily functional. But there were a few survivors :)

The museums are plentiful – you could probably spend a lifetime in them. However the weather was too nice and we didn’t want to spend too much time inside. Though some, like the Bauhaus Archives, were quite impressive from the outside as well.

And of course, we didn’t miss the obligatory trip to the fleamarket either! I quite like this new travel fashion of going to fleamarkets that’s catching on!

On the whole, Berlin was one wonderful, refreshing, exciting and relaxing holiday. I can’t wait to go again. :)

What inspiring place have you been to lately?

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Belgrade

Belgrade seems to be a city I only ever get to visit very briefly – the first time I went it was on the way to Istanbul by train, and we banked in a total of 3 hours in Belgrade while the train took a break. It was just enough to run through the main pedestrian street and take in a quick view from the fort on top of the hill. This time I had a bit more time (an afternoon before heading off for meetings), which amounted to pretty much the same route, but at a much more leisurely and enjoyable pace. Not to mention the wonderful company. :) The lovely Magrit, Belgradian knitter/blogger/architect/knitting teacher, was kind enough to give me a guided tour of the best of Belgrade, with special commentary on the architectural history and development of the city, which was a real treat! And of course, at the end of the day, we settled down for some much-welcome lemonade and icecream, and thoroughly discussed all our works in progress, knitterly gossip and plans for the future… Thanks Magrit for the great time! I wouldn’t mind having such lovely afternoons more often at all!

We were a bit too busy chatting away to take too many photos, but I still managed to snap two that have a special place in my heart.

This above is the EXACT spot where the river Sava, which flows through my hometown, ends. It flows into the Danube, becoming  a part of something bigger and travels with it all the way to the Black Sea. Sava is the bit coming from the left-hand side, the Danube is the crescent shaped flow on the right. Call me silly, but I find it all somehow extremely poetic.

And this – well this was just lovely. :) See Western Europe, we’ve heard of yarnbombing in “The East” too… ;)

Have a happy week everyone! :)