La otra ciudad: Berlín en verano

Aperitivo del verano

En un periódico gratuito del centro de Berlín (“Mitteschön, Neues aus Berlin Mitte”), encontramos un artículo titulado “The other city: Berlin in summer” (bueno, en realidad, el título original es: “Die andere Stadt: Berlin im Sommer”) escrito por Bettina Schuler. Resulta obvio el amor de la autora con el verano berlinés… pero además, claro está que el invierno alemán no es nada agradable… ni en Berlín, ni en ningún otro lado, sobre todo para los que venimos del trópico.

Según la autora en Berlín se hace aún menos agradable por su arquitectura apagada (en comparación con, por ejemplo, Paris), su mucha lluvia, y su intenso frío (¡todo eso lo podemos confirmar!), pero le vamos a creer que en verano es otra, la ciudad. La cosa pinta muy bien, por sus parques, su río con sus “playas” y sus terracitas (que de hecho ya están usando ahora… lo que importa parece no es el frío, sino que salga el sol o no…). Así que ya saben cuando venir, pero… ¡no todos a la vez!

Aquí tienen el artículo en inglés:

Visitors coming to Berlin in different seasons – summer versus winter – must get  the impression that  it’s a different city. If winter’s gray, surly and inside, our capital city is colorful, happy and outside in summer. And absolutely everyone looks forward to the transition.

Summer. Nowhere in the world do we miss summer as much we do in Berlin. Because the winter is long-it feels like nine months. There’s very little sun and usually not clear (but freezing cold, as in New York). When it rains, it does not stop after a few minutes (as in London) and there’s no lovely architecture to sweeten the gray (as in Paris).

November’s ok, December too. After all, there’s Christmas look forward to. Lights give the streets certain warmth, and we have New Year’s Eve. But then comes January and that’s just-gray.

Berlin in winter is the unloved, ugly mother-in-law. We know she’ll go at some point. It’s immutable. You can hardly wait until she’s gone again.

The sun’s first rays dispel the old witch, and Berlin reverts to the sexy mistress again. But you just know the bitch won’t stick around forever, so you try to repress the thought of her sudden disappearance for as long as possible and savor every minute with her.

In summer, the rude Prussian becomes a light-footed Italian. And thanks to climate change, the transformation takes place faster more quickly every year. Even the most fashion-conscious Mitte hipster wraps themselves you used to need a light jacket, now you slip directly into a T-shirt.

If you ask around what the transition from the winter to summer means, the answer above all: the promise of good cheer. (Whether the promise will be kept remains to be seen because all too soon you hear complaining about how hot it is).

Nevertheless, you have the feeling that you’re now dealing with different people. All of sudden Miss Busy (the hard-working, but very timid saleswoman in Alex Backshop bakery in the Münz Strasse) will exchange a few words when you buy your Schrippen rolls. The blonde, almost always unfriendly, cashier in the food department in Kaufhof suddenly wishes you a nice day. And even the usually irritated passersby don’t flip out when pushy boys from Amnesty International pump them for the umpteenth time membership at the Alex.

In winter, the Berliner has no choice but to retire- to his apartment, into himself. It is difficult to establish contact with the outside world when you’re wrapped up in scarves and hoods. In the summer, not only does the thick fabric fall, but so do the barriers. One feels suddenly closer.

This is of course also expressed. Especially when partying, which now takes place only in the open. Clubs with no outdoor possibility in the summer can leave their doors permanently closed. Berghain has its garden. Bar 25 is outdoors anyway. You press and rub one another, and everyone loves each other.

The idea is to stay outside as long as possible under the open sky. In fact, never go inside at all. There are those who spend entire weekends in the open (in the bar, for example). Work is of course a minor matter.

Summer in Berlin is like a little bit like carnival in Cologne: anything goes in this “fifth season”. Who gets to the office late on Monday or not at all, has almost nothing to fear. The others are still out and about themselves.

Towards the end though, it at its most excessive- every ray of sunshine could be the last. Whoever isn’t drinking his coffee in the open air is either doing time in the prison in Moabit or has gone crazy. Fear is written in everyone’s face – the fear of the ugly, unpopular mother-in-law who stays for nine months.

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