Am Kohlwitzplatz

Sunday brunch at Kohlwitzplatz, Berlin

There is no more perfect place to be on a prickly hot late Spring Sunday afternoon. The coffee is creamy and satisfying, the juice freshly pressed and tart. Agile sparrows nibble at stray crumbs. It’s so lazy here, so deliciously faul. You can feel it in the hot balmy air permeating your marrow and then sweating right out of your pores. You just want to sit and watch and not really participate in life but regard it idly. Curiously. With one lazy eye flickering open and the other turned inwards.

The children kick up the sand with their skinny bare feet, romping half-naked in the sticky heat. The adults keep a cursory glance. Not really interested. They hang together, laze together, legs and arms entwined like vines. They are everywhere, but nowhere, those children. They dot in and out of trees, behind cars, bushes. They sit, slovenly and nonchalant eating eggs, tomato soup.

I am softening contentedly in this heat. Like a wax crayon left out in the sun I am all pulpy and pliable. I want to close my eyes – just for a second – and find myself wandering around exploring my dreams. Everyone here seems so comfortable, so self-assured.

My eye, well-trained, hazily snaps a thousand photographs, storing them in my mind.

The jolly man with the accordion bumbles by hopefully every half hour or so. He is too effusive for this heat, too much.

Tourists clutch their time out guides and look around nervously, expectantly, excited. They offer a welcome relief from this mood of intense laziness.

The waitresses are utterly charming. Keen and attentive they flit about like delightful little moths all sunny and smiling and carefree.

***

I wrote this (in draft form) last May on a trip to Berlin with some girlfriends. We had a great time, but by Sunday were ready to part company. We were hungover and exhausted after a night of partying Berlin style. I think we crawled into our beds around 6am. It was late morning when I woke and whilst the other two slept I packed my bag and went off with my camera to enjoy some time alone before I had to catch my flight home.

I had been taking lots of pictures all weekend, and I think it made my friends a bit cross because I wasn’t really engaging all the time. But I couldn’t help myself Berlin is such a vibrant, photogenic city. I was glad to have some precious moments to myself to enjoy a wander around the area of our apartment and a leisurely brunch of scrambled eggs with spinach, fresh orange juice and coffee.

I wrote this whilst sitting in the cafe. I don’t remember the name of it now, but it’s quite a large, busy and famous cafe right on the square opposite the park (hence all the tourists – I think it must feature in the Time Out guide). It’s situated in the Prenzlauer Berg district which is quite a peaceful, middle- class residential area. Lots of young families seem to live around there and it’s full of cute little boutique style shops, restuarants and cafes. Our apartment was just down the road and the owner recommended the cafe to us. Anyway, they do a great brunch – well worth checking out. Unfortunately I didn’t get many fitting pictures of the moment I describe. I think my camera battery had run out by this point, and anyhow I was busy writing and thinking and looking. I remember feeling tired but happy and very peaceful, very present in the moment.

NB – ‘faul’ means lazy in German

Β© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012

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8 Comments on “Am Kohlwitzplatz

  1. Beautiful writing, Emily.
    I relate to the need to slip away and take pictures. It is a very solitary pursuit, especially when you long for that creative space.

    • thank you Karen! I think the thing with photography is, and where it differs from other artistic processes (usually), is often you have to be out there when you are making pictures, and so what is a very private, personal process becomes very public. It just means sometimes people think you are a bit odd, or obsessive!

  2. I adore this piece! And I adore the place you describe! We know it well although I do not think we have been to this cafe. Your words express how I feel about this place, that area, the whole city. Everything you write expresses how I feel about it. I have never done Berlin night-life as I don’t do night-lives but I was so happy to read that you took yourself away to be with the gorgeousness that is here. The photo that you have is fabulous! πŸ™‚

  3. Oh thanks so much! I love Berlin so much it’s one of my favourite places I can’t wait to go back there again. It’s a special city with so much creative spirit. I’m glad someone else feels the same way. πŸ™‚

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