Some say April is the cruellest month. They’re wrong; it’s actually February. Aside from the fact I always forget it’s two to three days shorter than every other month and thus my rent/essays are due sooner than I realised, it comes with the added bonus of Valentine’s Day (for a chronically single woman all the PDA is just mockery) and all in all feels like a poxy waste of time between winter ending and spring beginning. Luckily for me, Berlin seems to have completely forgotten there are four seasons. Apparently this is the warmest winter in a long time, and the two weeks in January of -12 and inches of snow seem like a distant memory. Now there’s beautiful blue skies and Saturday morning strolls along the canal to occupy the time, which of course, for a serial procrastinator, means I’ve constantly got an excuse to be doing something other than the four essays I have due in March.
The glorious Princess Cheesecake
After surviving what feels like the longest semester in the world, I’m in need of a holiday. Unfortunately- due to lack of funds and the fact no one is really clamouring to hire a British girl who speaks appalling German- I’m stuck in Berlin for two and a half months until the next term begins. Of course, complaining about being ‘stuck’ in one of the coolest cities in the world is incredibly self-indulgent. It could be worse. I could be stuck in Sheffield. But watching most of my friends journeying off around Europe or flying home for a few weeks has led me into a pretty melancholy existence. Last week all I managed to achieve was going to cinema on my own three nights in a row and eat a lot of cheesecake in an attempt to console myself. It sort of worked.
I took myself to Berlin’s Tierpark on one sunny (albeit chilly) Monday afternoon. It’s part of the Berlin zoo network, for which I have an annual pass because I really like going to the zoo. It’s my literal happy place. I can spend hours wandering around, and although Berlin’s Hauptzoo isn’t much to marvel at, Tierpark is a glorious place based in the outskirts of the city centre. The sprawling grounds encapsulate several beautiful stately homes, woodland, and my favourite thing of all- a walk-through lemur exhibit home to two very friendly lemurs. For a capital city Berlin isn’t exactly short on green spaces, but Tierpark is definitely one of my favourites.
Tiergarten on a winter afternoon
On the subject of Berlin institutions, it’s been impossible to miss the 63rd Berlinale Film Festival which took place at the beginning of February. This is understandably a big deal in Berlin which sees Hollywood A-Listers and movie business insiders from across the globe descend on the city for two frantic weeks. I myself spent six days trying to secure tickets for various films, and in the end managed to see five films, though I decided against any celeb spotting due to my intense dislike for crowds. I got to see some really great films that I probably would have never heard of without Berlinale, and visit some absolutely stunning venues which were transformed into cinemas for the fortnight.
A rubbish photo of the Berlinale’s main cinema.
There’s little else noteworthy to mention about this month. Once again I am overwhelmed by the prospect of essay deadlines, a bit weepy over the prospect of my friends who are leaving Berlin at the end of March, and beginning to worry about how on earth I’ll find a flat in Leeds for next year willing to allow pets. On the plus side, I finally got to try the much-hyped Cronut, so it’s not all bad. In fact, the Cronut is a huge plus.
God bless the cronut.