Saw these guys on a canal in Kreuzberg. Doesn’t floating through the city on a raft sound like the perfect Saturday? I, unfortunately, have no raft and no friends, so I did not participate in the cityfloat–this time. Instead, I went to Friedrichshain, a neighborhood on the eastern edge of the city, where Nathan lived and I spent lots of time in 2010. I had intended to go to a certain beloved cafe over there, but since I got there around 1 PM, it was full of people having breakfast (yes, breakfast). Instead, I went to the Boxhagenerplatz market, an old favorite. Boxhagenerplatz is essentially a green park that takes up a whole city block, and the market goes all the way around the perimeter of the park. They sell hippie food on Saturdays and junk (“antiques”?) on Sunday; this arrangement has caused more than a few, shall we say, impassioned discussions between Nathan and me, as we can never agree on which is the optimal day for market-going (although it’s clearly Saturday, as you will see).

It was better than I remembered, which is not frequently the way these things go. I was immediately greeted by a stand selling Russian (Ukrainian?) food–vareniki, pel’meni, chebureki, borshch (yes, that’s the correct spelling–in Russian)… Summoning a force of will I had not heretofore known I possessed, I walked past the Russian food stand, determined for once to not pretend I was in Russia.

Instead, I walked in circles (ok, squares) around the market, smelling crepes, smoking fish, freshly roasted coffee, and more. There are entire stands selling various Greek spreads that appear to be made of basically mashed-up feta plus whatever seasoning or flavor or vegetable or nut you want. I got some basil spread–oh, the omelettes that have been made! Got a walnut mountain (puff pastry filled with walnut paste) and some coffee from an Italian guy in a truck — “Prego! BIdde SCHÖne!” (that was my very best print rendering of an Italian speaking something resembling German)–and wandered out to the middle of the park to enjoy my spoils. 

It seems that every time I come back to Berlin, there’s a different Strange Person who’s taken up residence under the large tree pictured above. This time, he was dressed in what I suppose I might loosely describe as Native American garb. What appeared to be a large structure of hand-woven branches stood in front of the tree, along enough of a discarded armchair to sit in (but not enough to qualify as an armchair). The Strange Person was attaching bird wings to the tree as high as he could reach. He or someone else had also begun yarnbombing the tree, but they appear to have lost interest before getting too far. 

As my coffee dwindled, I, too, lost interest and started making my way back to the U-Bahn. On my way, I passed Zozoville, an art collective (??) typified by bizarre monsters and aliens and a sort of quiet surrealism that tastes strongly of Berlin. Long ago I promised myself some prints if I actually made it back here (whee!). Here’s what I wound up with: 


This one’s called “Remember me?”


You probably can’t read it, but it says, “Wednesday, it happened again”.


It says, “I can see you’re talkin’, but I haven’t got a clue what you are.”


Don’t know what this one is called, but it’s one of my favorites.


“Wrong turn”

There was one more, but someone’s getting that for Christmas, so I can’t post it here. By the way, if you also like Zozoville, check out their online store here.

Finally, I made a pilgrimage to Kreuzberg to have some canal-side gelato and finish my book.