Guten Tag from Berlin! Our final extract is from…
Elisabeth Herrmann, The Cleaner (trans. from German by Bradley Schmidt, Manilla, 2017 , pp. 107-110).
Judith didn’t have any friends, much less any on Facebook. For the last two hours she had been occupied with nothing but searching the internet for articles by and about Kaiserley. […] Kaiserley’s office address: Hausvogteiplatz in Mitte. But she needed his private address. For that, she needed to find as many points of reference as possible to fix him in her crosshairs. […]
She scrolled down to the end of the interview because that was where the personal questions usually came in.
I like the area around Mauerpark, although I always have to park my car somewhere else the night before May Day, so it doesn’t end up a burned-out wreck after the inevitable riots…
Mauerpark. Judith wrote it on her list. She had collected more than twenty pieces of information that made reference to his routes or his neighbourhood. Kaiserley went to the market on Kollwitzplatz on Saturdays, liked the bars around the water tower, liked to take the tram and loved to watch the sunset. Not bad. She might have made it as an old-school spy.
She went to her laptop and entered the positions into Google maps. The result was Kaiserley’s personal corner of Berlin. If she added the fact that his apartment was west-facing and included his mention of ‘climbing stairs’ as a sport, then he lived in the fourth of fifth storey of an old house without an elevator. It was likely near to a tram stop, and a wine shop that supplied him with his beloved Fendant du Valais.
Bingo. Marienburgerstrasse, Prenzlauer Berg.
She went into the hall and grabbed the van keys. It was four thirty in the morning. The time when people slept most deeply.
We’ve finished up our Eurotour with three very lovely days in Berlin, a city I’ve been visiting since 1988, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s laden with history from numerous eras and is constantly transforming itself in some way. No matter how many times I come here, there’s something new to see or do.
Our base wasn’t too far from Kaiserley’s haunts. Here’s a corner of Marienburgerstrasse…
And this is the park at Kollwitzplatz, named after the famous Berlin artist Käthe Kollwitz. Her statue sits rather mournfully in its middle. The water tower mentioned in the passage is visible in the third photo.
Other delights included a Bratwurst in the Alexanderplatz (where the Oktoberfest was already in full swing), with a grand view of the Fernsehturm…
…and a fabulous first with Berlin friend Katy D: watching an episode of the iconic German crime series Tatort in a bar on Sunday evening, which has been a long-held ambition of mine. This is a ritual all over Germany (it would be like us having a weekly screening of a series like Inspector Morse down at the Three Pigeons pub), and was a really convivial experience, with beer, lit candles and good company.
I’ll finish off with a photo of the Fernsehturm at dusk, taken on a lovely, warm evening that felt like the last day of summer.
Well, we’re back off home tomorrow. Thanks so much for accompanying me on this European adventure. It’s been the greatest of fun 😀