Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
While the ball and the world keep on turning (albeit with Poland still as a host but not as a championship candidate any more – a fact which is as sad as it was obvious from the colourful beginning), I am still fully immersed in the iridescent beauty of the Croatian Riviera. And since Croatia has left the competition as well, bonding with the locals has become even easier and smoother than it already was.
Trying to focus on the surroundings and at the same time forever preventing my numerous – and blessed with Dr-Evil´esque imagination – sons from harming themselves or each other turns out to be a tricky task. Yet, we must have been mastering it pretty well so far since none of them is missing limbs, teeth or marbles – rather, it is us who are suffering from an increasing shortage of the latter. Still. We are all right.
However, not even the royal-and-imperial past of the area around Opatija (Abbazia for those in possession of the turn of the century, one-but-last century, maps) can distract me enough not to return – in my thoughts, of course – to Berlin at least once a day. Just before leaving I invested some 10 Euros in a book (actually, I invested much more and in many more books but that is one of my vices and I embrace it). At its impressive 930 pages Berlin Zur Zeit Bebels und Bismarcks: Zwischen Reichsgründung und Jahrhundertwende by Annemarie Lange might not be what you would describe as a page-turner – not with the ideological ballast that its DDR author not so much sprinkled as dumped into it like a 10-tonne-heavy granite Marx-and-Engels monument. But it is definitely a good reading with loads of Kreuzberg references that need to be picked out from the whole as carefully as raisins from my mum´s cheese cake (a tradition of sorts: I say, Go light on the raising, please, all right? She says, No problem and instead of adding 7876456 of them, uses only 7876450).
And nothing is better than a book that despite the initial sense of apprehension, can surprise you and teach something new (that is why I never took to Dan Brown, Barbara Cartland or Jack Kerouac). If you have time to read it. Which I don´t. I have to go and see if the latest outburst of hellish screaming behind the house has led to any limbs, teeth or marbles missing. And judging by the tormented quality of the howling, one or all of my sons might by now look like the Black Knight from Monty Python and The Holy Grail: no legs, no arms but still trying to bite.