More specifically, the smell of burnt sausages. And also sugar. And then there were some insistent Latin drums pounding me out of my sleepy stupor at the ungodly hour of – oh. 11.30am?! How did I sleep so long? The drums might have had a point.
These smells and sounds were the signal that Spring had well and truly descended on Schöneberg; or at least, that the Primavera festival had arrived. Three times a year, Akazienstraße is closed off to cars and opened to that most Berlin of concepts: party meets street market.
I had really been meaning to get up early to soak up the festivities, but a late night catching up on Game of Thrones left me immune to the offensively perky rays of sunshine which were doing their best to reach my back-courtyard bedroom. Not to be perturbed, I applied the basic necessities (dry shampoo, deodorant, a pair of earrings) and stumbled out into the sunlight to find some breakfast. Well, brunch, let’s be honest.
Fresh coffee and ripe Bio-erdbeeren (that’s organic strawberries to you and me) was a good start. But I am a lady with an appetite, and in Germany any street festival is basically code for “If you see it, try to eat it”, so I took a more languorous walk down my beloved Akazienstraße to see what else was on offer.
French cuisine was well represented across the board, and I definitely indulged in a Nutella-banana crêpe.
Speaking of international relations, I’ve yet to meet a German who finds a Wurst (sausage) joke funny; and yet to find a Brit that doesn’t. But Salami-Mann? Seriously? “She wants his sausage,” sprung immediately to my mind – and then I felt so embarrassed that I went off to eat my shame.
These captivating things are called Feuerkuchen (Fire-twist) and I’d never seen them before. They’re made by wrapping dough around a hot metal rod (oo-er, mister!) and waiting for it to bake – the end result is a cinnamon-y, jamless doughnut which is utterly moreish.
You literally cannot make it through Spring in Germany without eating Spargel (Asparagus). The white kind is particularly popular, and it’s a type of national symbol for the end of Winter. Supermarkets proclaim “Der Frühling ist da!” (“Spring is here!”) when it’s first in stock, and from then on you won’t be able to find a cafe, restaurant or street vendor without Spargel on the menu.
Perhaps the nicest part of the festival for me was this blue tractor, adorned with flowers. Back in October, the community organised a festival called Kürbisfest (“Pumpkin festival”) and the same tractor was there too, featuring a host of funny pumpkins – as demonstrated above by my friend Nicki.
The friendly farmer behind the wheel shouted out when he saw me shyly snapping away at several meters’ distance, “Kommen Sie doch näher ran! Ja, noch näher!” (“Why don’t you come in a bit closer? Yes, even closer than that!”) and went on to encourage me, in that characteristically gruff but essentially well-natured Brandenburg tone, to not hold back.
He said that good photos only come from getting up and close and personal with your subject – so I took his advice to heart, and got up close and personal… with the radishes.