Tagged: Germany

Father John Misty, and Further Adventures in Berlin

Last weekend I braved the night train to Berlin!

Basel SBB Berlin Night Train

When you book a couchette on the night train, you get to sleep in a triple decker bunk. Well, “sleep”. I didn’t do too badly – I was really glad to be in the top bunk, and got a solid 4 or 5 hours sleep on the 10 hour journey.

Sunrise over the Spree

Sunrise over the Spree

The best thing about the night train is how early you get into the city – I was at Berlin Central Station by 7am! I certainly saw a different side of the city as a result. Walking through the Tiergarten at sunrise was a great experience. The holocaust memorials feel completely different when you visit them alone, rather than when they’re surrounded by tourists.

The Komponistendenkmal in the Tiergarten

The Komponistendenkmal in the Tiergarten

I’m the first to admit that my history knowledge isn’t the greatest, and in Berlin there are remnants of the city’s past everywhere you look; The Komponistendenkmal is still scarred by WW2 bullets (despite much reconstruction). There are pieces of the wall throughout the city, and Checkpoint Charlie is a major tourist attraction.

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Checkpoint Charlie

During the day, I managed to make it around a lot of the traditional tourist sights (The ReichstagBrandenburger Tor, and Tiergarten, among others). I took some time to look around the Jewish Museum too, which is not only historically interesting, but is also a beautiful piece of architecture by Daniel Libeskind.

Shalekhet ("Fallen Leaves"), an installation by Menashe Kadishman in the Memory Void of the Jewish Museum. Over 10, 000 faces are cut from iron plates and scattered on the floor.

Shalekhet (“Fallen Leaves”), an installation by Menashe Kadishman in the Memory Void of the Jewish Museum. Over 10, 000 faces are cut from iron plates and scattered on the floor.

As any regular readers will know, I will take any excuse to go gallivanting off to a new city. The excuse on this particular occasion was a Father John Misty show at Heimathafen in Neuköln (an apparently trendy area of Berlin which is the title of a Bowie song) and it was 100% worth the journey.

Father John Misty Heimathafen Neuköln Berlin

I’ve been listening to his new album I Love You Honeybear on repeat lately, so when I found out he was coming to Berlin I had to go. The atmosphere was great – the gig took place in the Rixdorfer Ballroom, a beautiful old hall with an elaborate moulded ceiling, and a theatrical stage set quite low. Low enough, infact, that a number of young women had climbed up onto it while waiting for the show to start. A member of staff came to shoo them away, “you don’t want to be sat there when he comes out girls, he’ll be in your laps.” at which they retreated, giggling. It was a fair warning though – Father John Misty is certainly not shy…

The set was long and full of energy. Many tracks – notably True Affection – seemed to make a lot more sense live, while old favourites like I’m Writing A Novel had the whole room moving. His stage persona is part cabaret act, part Mick Jagger; he climbed on top of the drum kit three times that evening (I counted.)

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A Wintery Saturday at Freiburg’s Münster Market

Primo study spot

Primo study spot

As usual, I’ve been using my stack of uni reading as an excuse to go and drink coffee in pretty cities near Basel under the pretence of “studying”. This week, Freiburg:

freiburg germany munster markt

Freiburg is a small German city on the edge of the Black Forest. I’d visited Freiburg once before, but on a Sunday; as with Basel, Freiburg is pretty much closed on a Sunday so it was great to see it on a busier day. Even if it was a bit grey:

freiburg germany munster markt

A bookseller sheltering outside the Historisches Kaufhaus, Münsterplatz

The weather did nothing to deter the stallholders, however; the Freiburg Münstermarkt has existed in one form or another since the town was granted market rights in 1120, so a bit of rain wasn’t about to stop it. There are huge flower stalls, as well as vegetables, handicrafts, and all kinds of exciting food stands.

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vegan snacks freiburg munstermarkt

I even found a stall full of mysterious vegan treats! They’re made from nuts, dates, dark chocolate and dried fruit. I got a few to try, which went well with my coffee on the train home.

vegan snacks freiburg munstermarkt

I spent the rest of the day exploring Freiburg. The city is full of beautiful cobbled side streets, lined with pastel coloured buildings and “Bächle” – tiny canals set into the ground.

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Freiburg river

All in all, a great place to get lost for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. On the train back to Basel I encountered a group of Fasnachtlers who were already gearing up for the festivities, which begins this evening! I’ll be at Chienbäse and Morgenstreich tonight – any advice would be greatly appreciated!