For the first Tinder date I went on in Berlin, we went for food in Kreuzberg. I’d never been anywhere near there, so I let him lead me to food and then to the river.
As we crossed the Spree in the golden light of a stunning sunset, I was beginning to get the impression that my date was that kind of person who hasn’t quite made peace with the fact that life among other people isn’t always easy.* I remember us almost fighting over whether people in general might be appreciative of him and the work he did (I suggested he see it that way; he didn’t want to). I remember listening to a much-too-long story about a date that had gone wrong a year ago.
But mostly I remember him saying how much he disliked Berlin, and how ugly and noisy it was, and how impossible the people are. He told me this sitting on a dry patch of ‘grass’ in front of the Mercedes-Benz Arena, watching the hideous advertising sign next to us illuminate houses across the river, while bottle collectors swarmed around us. I knew very little about Berlin at that point, but even then I thought that if this place was the best he could come up with for a date, maybe he was not an authority on the beauty of Berlin.
I had to think of that guy yesterday, when I found myself in Kreuzberg again, walking in the other direction. After having some heavenly ramen for lunch and then wanting to buy half the market on Maybachufer (where I’ll need to go again once I find myself in possession of money), I headed west along the canal, towards Böcklerpark.
Böcklerpark, it turns out, is a lovely piece of green with playgrounds, an outdoor gym, and a lot of swans sharing the canal with rowboats and a restaurant ship. As evidenced by the number of young (and beautiful) people I saw lounging on the green or paddling on the water, it’s probably a good place to take a date or a friend. Or ‘just’ yourself. I had to be in Schöneberg to meet that lovely group of creative international people I’ve been hanging out with, or I would’ve sat down to read for an hour or four. So I just kept walking and watching, and enjoying the sun.
I mean sure, it’s busy. But is it loud and ugly and impossible? Not the Berlin I’ve seen so far.
*I’m trying to be kind, but given that I never heard from this self-declared romantic idealist again after agreeing we’d text the next day, you might forgive me for not feeling all that kind.