If my last post was about my not-so-local “local” in my favourite part of town, then this is going to be the complement to that. I’m going to talk about my actual neck of the woods. And it’s not half bad.
Schöneberg (literally “beautiful mountain”, which is baffling because Berlin is as flat as my butt), is where I live in a four-doored apartment with an ER doctor, looking out onto a courtyard. It’s not a tourist hot-spot by any means. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tourist here. The neighbourhood (or more accurately, Kiez, which is the Berlin word for a part of town) is a little further out than the more regularly frequented Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Mitte and Friedrichshain, and frankly has far less to offer a tourist, with no museums and no real sights to see. But it has a lot to offer the people who live here.
I live right by Akazienstraße. It’s always bustling with life and forms the heart of the neighbourhood. The buildings are beautiful and ornate in the old Berlin style, and the shops are filled with typically middle-class businesses like a chocolaterie, an organic market, a cafe where the brunches are named after fairytales, or a knick-knack shop selling everything from side tables to fur coats. I really like this area. It feels like the centre of a small town (and considering that Berlin is better off being described as many villages squished into a small space than a city in its own right, that fits perfectly), with a primary school nearby, a supermarket just down the road, an impressive church around the corner and a landscaped park – a runner’s heaven – not fifteen minutes away.
I always feel this guilt that I really don’t take advantage enough of all the cafes and shops here, though when I recently tried to write about the area for my internship I found myself running out of space quite quickly. And it’s happening again here – I somehow can’t seem to fit into words how this ostensibly unexciting part of town nevertheless feels so comfortable and easy that I’m relieved every evening to step out of the U-Bahn and be met by the redbrick Sankt Paulus Kirche.
I really recommend you see my blog post about the Akazienkiez over on Berlin&I. That might go some way to conveying my joy at living in this area of Berlin. For a small-town girl in a big city, this is the closest I can get to being part of a smaller, more contained community. If Schöneberg were surrounded by fields and lakes rather than train tracks and high-rise buildings, I might even consider staying.