It’s the first day of winter, aka the shortest day of the year, aka the first day of vacation! M. and I are lucky to be work-free until early January, which means sleeping in and relaxing, as well as dedicating more time to extracurriculars (him with bouldering, me with interview write-ups and reading). Already, we’re off to a good start.
Since it wasn’t raining and the weather is actually rather warm (above freezing), I took a long walk yesterday afternoon (about 5 kilometers), during which I returned library books and visited Silo to try their coffee and get some writing done.
Then, in the evening, we met at Viasko, our favorite vegan restaurant, for dinner with P., a German friend of mine I met in the states who is now living in Austria. He and his girlfriend are in Berlin for the weekend and so we caught up after not having seen once another in 2.5 years. It lasted about four hours, and the company and the food were both wonderful. I had the Flammkuchen, which is a French-German version of pizza, followed by a piece of tiramisu.
This morning we slept in, followed by breakfast together and the usual Saturday shopping. Along the way I stopped at the little bookstore in our Kiez that is filled to the brim with 1€ books (and no semblance of order at all), and got a small book of love letters between de Beauvoir and Sartre, printed in German. I am pretty excited to read the book, as well as check out the bookstore in further detail.
Continuing on, we also stopped at the flower shop, where we bought some bright yellow flowers to liven up the flat, and the lady gave us a little gift of a teacup with shells, branches, and tea in it… somewhat odd, but the gesture is sweet.
After some downtime at home, we then headed off to meet up with K., the best friend of M., for dinner at To Loc. It was pretty solid/tasty food and I definitely won’t mind going back.
Now we’re back at home relaxing. On the walk from the U-Bahn back home, it was interesting to see already how quiet the city is. Since Berlin is a city full of foreigners and Germans from elsewhere in the country, a lot of them go home for Christmas, meaning Berlin is calmer and less busy–the whole city has a different feel in those few days leading up to Christmas. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite things about this time of year. Now, in the next week I am looking forward to hitting up a Christmas market (hopefully), seeing The Hobbit, meeting friends for drinks, and relishing this vastly different side of Berlin.