Berlin. There is no longer a clear distinction between east and west. It is not visible. If you do not know in which district you are you couldn't tell if it was east or west. Indeed.There is an area of the old East Berlin is now one of the most modern and chic. It was almost completely renovated and in many streets they are still renovating old buildings. Many streets are a series of fashion shops and restaurants with fine interioris. Italian restaurants and wine bars, Sushi places and China Box.
I'm talking about Prenzlauer Berg, the most striking result of gentrification in Berlin. The road, a perpendicular side street of Schönhauser Allee at the altitude of the homonymous metro station U2.
I started to walk it and began the countdown, guessing which side would the number be. Yeah. Here is how it works, the street numbers start at one side of the road and arrive in sequential order down the street and then make a U-turn and continue the numbering.
50 .... beautiful new buildings here, 49, 48, 47 yellow, 46 pink, 45 white, 44, really neice here, 43. Forty three. Ultradatate decrepit wall full of posters, there's no intercom, the door is always open. (Coming soon on google street view the exact coordinates for unbelievers). Door at the end of the courtyard, second floor. Home.
Very typical Berlin apartment in Berlin typical building.
The floor is wood. Painted in white, but many years ago, is obvious.
The central lamps is missing. Shoe rack, mirror, map of the world.
The floor is wood. Painted in white, but many years ago, is still obvious.
Shiny yellow paint over the wallpaper.
There's everything you need. Sink, washing machine, fridge, table, dishes, cutlery.
Gas stove with gas oven that serves as heating when necessary.
Width 150 cm.
Bright blue walls, paint over the wallpaper.
Little sink, tiolet and behind the shower with a window overlooking the courtyard. Ops. Slit overlooking the courtyard.
Gas stove that lights up with the noisy maneuvers of a bomber. There's everything you need.
Ops. The bidet?
Um ... no. It is well known. It is typically Italian. or at least Latin. In the north there is not. Never. In any case, there would have been room for it.
(I suspect that someone is doing laundry in this moment, I inexplicably feel arm vibrations).
Most likely, the house was built without a bathroom, since all the pipes are exposed and then I know that the houses of the old East Berlin were without private bathrooms. So it's a luxury that there is one
Red floor, white walls. Large table, library.
And...aaaaaaaaaaand.... .... coal stove.
Yes, there is a huge tiled stove that runs on coal.
Every day, or every timeit goes off, I have to put paper, wood and coal and start it. After 2 or 3 hours it starts to emanate some heat Consequently, it cools very slowly and still radiate heat several hours after the last ember was extinguished.
The coal is delivered to your home or you can buy in stores in packs of several dozen kilos. The pieces of coal that make up all these packages are regularly shaped, almost rectangular 5x5x20 cm. Each time you should check that everything is in place, we must empty the ashtray, and so on, like old times.
Thermostat? What is that?
Ah, I also have a small electric heater.
Huge creaky wooden floor (creaky is not a color)
Ikea futon type bed, wardrobe, armchair, gas stove like the one in the bathroom but not working, I suppose, because I was not tought how to operate it.
Mini Hi-Fi compact.
Cart TV with DVD player.
The heating system consists of an electric blanket that I switch on a few minutes before going to bed.
End of the rooms.
The hot water shower, bathroom sink and kitchen sink is instantaneous, with a gas boiler a bit '.. just a little bit ... noisy.
Every time I wash a glass and I jump back and calm down.
Ah, yes. I always forget about the lion (said in venetian dialect)
But winter is ending, mmmmmm ....
So now that I've also fixed the internet connection that I share with a neighbor, now that I bought a pair of lamps at the flea market to better illuminate the darkest corners, now that I have lit candles to warm up the atmosphere waiting the temperature to raise.I'm home. I insert a new block of coal, put a red kettle on the fire and I prepare a herbal tea, to sip listening to hot flames, steps on the flat above. I open the window, cold night. It smells of coal. It is in the streets, you can smell the time in a city that has made of it a strange and unique game.