My Berlin

 Stairwell at Hackesche Höfe in Berlin Mitte

Stairwell at Hackesche Höfe in Berlin Mitte

For two and a half years, people asked me how long I planned to stay in Berlin. Every time, I answered: “Indefinitely.” I left Berlin almost six months ago, but it’s stuck with me. Here are some of the things I loved.

Shops

 Envelopes at Luiban

Envelopes at Luiban

  • Luiban, an immaculate stationery shop. Vintage finds interspersed with Japanese imports.
  • Modulor, the best art supply store I’ve ever been to. Three floors of raw material, with an atmosphere halfway between a laboratory and a warehouse.
  • Type Hype, an alphabetical emporium. Find notebooks, mugs, pillows, and more, all emblazoned with individual letters in surprising styles.
  • Do You Read Me?!, a place for magazines from all over. Come here when you’re in the mood to glimpse other ways of being, or angling to construct a collage.
  • Trippen, a spot for strange and beautiful shoes designed from first principles.
  • KaDeWe, a gleaming department store; a trip. Don’t miss the top floor, where expensive luggage mingles with oversized stuffed animals.

Apps

Smoothies

 From The Juicery, a weekend haul

From The Juicery, a weekend haul

  • The Juicery, a weekend haunt. Right across from Mauerpark. I especially liked their “Immunity” smoothie, packed with avocado.
  • The Juice Company, a place worth becoming a regular. Delicious smoothies, plus tacos and other treats.
  • Goodies, the classic. “Deep Purple,” featuring blueberries and cinnamon, was my go-to.

Cafés

 Reading at Father Carpenter

Reading at Father Carpenter

  • Bonanza, a pristine café on one of the best streets in Berlin, Oderberger Str. The ceramics sport their name in gold.
  • Godshot, a multi-level space in Prenzlauer Berg. Downstairs, it could be a living room you snuck into.
  • Hermann Eicke—old familiar. Candlelit year-round.
  • Distrikt, airy and grounded. Try their banana bread.
  • ORA, once an apothecary. Everything you’d hope.
  • Companion Coffee, inside a boutique called Voo. Visit after a trip to Modulor.
  • Five Elephants. Truly the best cheesecake.
  • Father Carpenter. Tucked into a courtyard; splashes of blue abound.

Restaurants

 House of Small Wonder

House of Small Wonder

  • Industry Standard. Honest and elegant. A real find for brunch.
  • Nobelhart & Schmutzig. Local in the extreme. Unforgettable. The hush, the low lights; the wide, smooth bar we sat at side by side. My phone was stolen on the way home and the memories are still warm.
  • House of Small Wonder, sister to a restaurant by the same name in Williamsburg. Lush greenery at the entrance, and a spiral staircase to boot. Just-so Japanese dishes and delicate matcha lattes.
  • Habba HabbaMediterranean food, fast. I’m sure I ordered their fattoush salad over a hundred times.
  • Fine Bagels at Shakespeare and Sons. Bagels and lox in an English-language bookshop. A Sunday ritual.
  • The Bowl. Rice bowls galore.

Movement

 Dance Works

Dance Works

  • Ashtanga Yoga, a home for Mysore instruction. Go at your own pace.
  • Dance Works. I took a beginners’ modern dance class here and loved it. It was late summer; we opened all the windows to keep the room from getting too humid. So much sweat produced by leaping and twirling.
  • Bicycle paths everywhere.

Experiences

 Exit lamps at Hamburgerbahnhof

Exit lamps at Hamburgerbahnhof

One more indelible memory: Peristal Signum, a labyrinth so bizarre that I sometimes question whether it existed at all. It’s gone now, but the video lives on.

Resources

  • Stil in Berlin never steered me wrong. Their map is worth buying and poring over.
  • 36 Hours in Berlin, part of the New York Times’s “36 Hours” series, tipped me off to Nobelhart & Schmutzig, and generally presented a fantasy of life in Berlin that I found it nice to reach for sometimes.
 Neon. Stumbled upon.

Neon. Stumbled upon.

Originally published on Medium.

Diana Berlin