I stepped onto a night train at Gare du Nord on 31 July 2000; I stepped off the next morning at Zoologischer Garten. Berlin was between its moments; I expected very little. I had been told the city would be gray. Cranes twirled in the air. With the bedroom windows open I heard birdsong and distant trains. My notebooks filled with new words. The gray city was suffused with sunlight, softened by verdant weeds. Improvised gardens brightened the streets. I loved the empty, fertile spaces. The rubble from construction sites crunched beneath my soles. Days revolved into years. I signed the lease for my first apartment, the contract for my first permanent job; I met my husband.
Street by street, bright facades replaced the gray ones. BerlinReified began as a food blog and a restaurant blog. I was newly wed, eager to be grounded by the rituals of cooking and eating. I recorded my delight over elderflower tea, quince and buffalo milk; Goldhahn & Sampson, Sasaya and Salon Sucré. When my daughter was born, we commenced our peregrinations through the city. In her sling, then her stroller, we caught the city’s beauty where we found it – shadows, art galleries, saplings, trains. My working life ranges from inspiring to dry.
A feeling of belonging in Berlin comes and goes. Berlin Reified remains an oasis, as a dozen places in the city have become the rooms I live in. It has also been a magnet for good things. More and more, people speak of Old Berlin and New Berlin. Yet I believe the new Berlin retains its preference for doing and making over buying and taking. A neighborhood grows choked with chain hotels and shopping malls. The spark flies somewhere new. So far, it has kept flying.
To get an even deeper insight into the everyday city life of Berlin, food and design, visit ‘Berlin Reified’.