Weekly Small Pleasures #22 – Summer in the city

Somehow the middle of the week is working out as a better time for me to publish these posts, so here is another Thursday-to-Thursday week’s worth of small pleasures. Thanks again to A New Life Wandering for hosting Weekly Small Pleasures. This week was one of those weeks where small pleasures were mixed with small annoyances and disappointments! Such is life.

Friday night movies at Sony Centre. Going to the movies is always a treat, and at the end of a busy week there is nothing better than sinking into a cinema seat. We have been going a bit more lately as a friend is leaving Berlin and wants to use up all the points on his Movie card.

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Saturday shopping day in the car. It always feels like a luxury to travel in a car here, because most of the time we travel by bicycle or public transport. We started off at a suit shop where J found a suit for the wedding. It’s always great to check another thing off of the endlessly long list of Wedding To-Do‘s. Next we went to IKEA as I needed to get a bedside table. It’s always so fun walking through there. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to go there without buying things you didn’t expect to buy. We don’t regret any of the things we bought though, as they are mostly for organizing our things and making the apartment look a little bit neater and nicer.

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The furniture in IKEA is also build-it-yourself, so that was also quite fun.

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The last shopping stop was Hochzeithaus, a multi-story shop for weddings. We didn’t have time to check out the whole place, but just tried on rings. We tried on lots of them and found some we liked but they turned out to be a bit expensive, so we are still looking around. That was a bit disappointing but on the other hand it was still fun trying them on, and now we have a better idea of what we would like to buy.

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In the evening we then met a friend to go to a South African food evening I’d really been looking forward to, but unfortunately it had finished at 7pm instead of 9pm, so we didn’t get to go (we’ll go back another time). Instead we went to a Korean barbecue restaurant – the food wasn’t great but it was still a fun evening, and we took a nice walk after eating as it was a warm summer’s evening. Overall it was a good day.

Surviving a very hot bike ride on Sunday. That moment where I staggered back through the front door of our building was the best. It started off as a good plan, ride to the Gelato festival. And it seemed like a good day for gelato (Italian ice-cream), since it was one of the hottest days of the year, with zero wind and desert-like dry air.

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The Gelato festival, although a bit crowded and hot, was a good idea: you could buy a Gelato Card with 10 checkmarks on it and try 10 different kinds of gelato, some which were part of a competition to be judged. The flavours included ginger and lemon, pistachio, yoghurt, dark chocolate, cookies, lime and more. The absolute best out of the ten as far as both of us were concerned was a very dark chocolate gelato, full of the fruity flavours of really good chocolate. However that one wasn’t part of the competition, so I’m curious to find out which flavour won in the end. Eating 10 flavours of gelato was definitely a pleasure despite the crowds and heat, and it was also nice to catch a glimpse of Badeschiff, a pool in the river Spree in Berlin, as I hadn’t seen it in summer before, only in winter when it was obviously empty.

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After the gelato festival, which was near Treptower park, we rode through Treptower park. It was more crowded than we’d ever seen it, and it was almost impossible to ride in some sections. After battling to get through for a good while I have to say that both of us were overheated and not in very good moods. However we stopped for a little rest under some trees by the Spree and put our feet in the water to cool down. That part was really lovely.

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We then continued the bike ride, somehow ending up far, far away from where we live, in suburbs that were almost deserted due to the extreme heat (maybe they were all in Treptower park!). It was definitely a highlight then after a long, hot ride to end up at Dong Xuan center, a Vietnamese center with restaurants and shops. We ate Pho Bo to replenish our salt before heading back home.

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Thunderstorm. I love summer thunderstorms. Normally they happen in the evening, but yesterday we had one during the day while I was at work. I  opened the office window wide and enjoyed the pattering and rushing sound of the rain and the earthy smell when it hit the ground. It was a strange storm as there was somehow a never-ending roll of thunder for about 30 minutes, as if the sky was tearing apart. At home, when it thundered, my mother used to say the devil was moving furniture around upstairs.

A good friend moves back to Berlin. After having lived in Berlin for 3.5 years, it’s suddenly the time that a lot of the friends we made here are moving away. This Saturday, one of our best friends is going back home to India for a month before moving to the US to do a Masters degree. We hang out with him a lot and will really miss him. A colleague of mine who is also a friend is also leaving Berlin at the end of August, and has left work already. This week at work it was a bit lonely not having her there for coffees and lunch. However, people are always coming and going. This week a South African friend who had previously left Berlin has now arrived back for a few months, and soon she’ll move back for a longer period. We had lunch this week and it was great to catch up.

Dinner at a Greek restaurant. We had dinner with our friend who will leave soon (as part of a series of goodbye dinners!) and ate at the Greek restaurant called Asteria, which has recently reopened after renovations. The food is delicious there and it is also a great dining experience as they throw in lots of extras when you order your meal: ouzos, salads, fruit and coffee,and are also very friendly. I had a vegetarian platter filled with all sorts of delicious cheeses and vegetables, J had a meat/chicken platter and our friend had moussaka.

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Cooking. I don’t end up cooking so often these days, but I felt like eating something my mom used to make, so I  made chicken, vegetable and noodle stir fry. Then the next day I made nachos (but there are no photos these as they disappeared too quickly!).

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Reading books. I used to read a lot of books, but lately I haven’t. Over the last weeks someone has been leaving “zum verschenken” books in  our work kitchen (“zum verschenken” means it’s given away for free because someone doesn’t need/want it anymore). I picked up one of these and got quite into it.  When I had to take the 7-hour train from Berlin to Ulm last week, I finished this book, and so I popped into a bookshop in Ulm and bought another book to read on the long trip from Ulm to Prague (“Dictator”, by Robert Harris, about events at the end of the Roman republic). So now I’m enjoying reading this book in my spare moments. Someone at work also lent me a book in German so that I can practice German.

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Beautiful cupcakes at work. (I was going to write “cookies”, which is what we call often call cupcakes in South Africa, but realized no-one will understand it). It was someone’s birthday and his wife made cupcakes which she decorated with beautiful piped roses. I definitely want to learn how to do this!

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Till next week, have a good week!

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4 thoughts on “Weekly Small Pleasures #22 – Summer in the city

  1. Pingback: This week’s small pleasures: episode 16 – Thistles and Kiwis

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