There was no big trip this year… no epic road trip north, or month-long absence from which to return. Instead we were here and there, more than half of the time in Berlin and yet it did not feel like that. We made our escapes, to a village on the Oder river, in sight of Poland. To a cabin on the edge of the forest an hour or so north of Berlin, where were picked our way cautiously through the woods so as not to meet a grumpy mother wild boar protecting her young. To the very edge of the city, for a day walking the Berlin Wall Trail on the banks of the Havel. And to England, to an old stomping ground and a new corner of my home country never before explored.
We have some more plans, some weekends out of Berlin before the weather turns, but school starts again next week and yesterday I took a small group of people around Wedding on cultural-historical tour through my neighbourhood, and it was a homecoming of sorts. It not only reminded me about the interesting places within a stone’s throw of my front door, but helped to connect me in to the city again and why it is such as fascinating and interesting place to live. The idea of this website has never been to be a personal blog, or one focused on Berlin, but as the principal contributor to Under a Grey Sky, and as I happen to live in the city, then it is only natural that a good number of the pieces found here will be based on the different discoveries I have made in the German capital.
On Friday, on a walk that took me past both the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag – the most well-trodden tourist path through the city – I stumbled across a couple of places that I had never visited before and which confounded the expectations I had about what I was about to see when I set out from home a few hours before. That is one of the wonderful things about living in a city such as Berlin, even after a decade of living here, that there remains places to discover. They will feature on the website in the coming weeks, as well as the various tales of our fractured summer in Germany and beyond.
It’s good to be back.
Words: Paul Scraton
Picture: Katrin Schönig