Friday, October 13 was a rare beautiful day in Berlin. And we packed a lot into the day, as it was to be our penultimate day with family in Berlin. Niece Lee had decamped the city for a conference in Scotland (St. Andrews) where she felt she’d learn quite a lot about her doctoral thesis subject, D’Arcy Thompson. We had said our goodbyes to her Wednesday night as Maya and Mark departed after dinner.
We began this day, as usual, thinking about what we might eat. Since we would enjoy only two more evening meals together, and Jack wanted to serve one of his specialties (if we could find all the ingredients to make it): baked scallops over pasta with spinach. A visit to the local posh grocery store yielded most (but not all) of the ingredients, so Jack made do and fixed a lovely meal for us.
But I get ahead of myself.
Speaking of food, Page and Jack had enjoyed a Pavlovian discussion of oysters on the half shell, and so we determined to head over to the most famous seafood place in the city: Rogacki. This place is a seafood warehouse of selections both cooked to eat there (or carry out) and raw to purchase by the pound. I was not interested in oysters, so while the boys stood at the counter to eat oysters and sip wine for lunch, I wandered around the place and took photos.
Old pix show the longevity of this institution.
They have a spokes-crustacean
I really loved all the signs around, so you could easily see over the crowds (yes, crowds!) the area you should go toward to find what you were seeking.
Brined (soused) or pickled fish, especially herring
But fish was not the only thing you could get. There were salads, sausages, meats, chicken, and of course, desserts and breads.
This is pretty self-evident
Someone had ridden up on his bicycle to purchase something to fix for dinner. He was waiting in the shellfish section with us.
Our walk back to the apartment.
After our seafood adventure, we linked back up with Ini to head over to the Garden House again, since Jack had not been there yet (see this post for more about Ini’s Garden House).
Ini and Jack discuss gardening.
She is having some trouble with her apple tree, and Jack consults on possible pruning.
The Berlin Blow knocked this mobile from my mother’s house around, and Ini and Jack replaced one of the wooden weights to set it back to rights.
I wanted to photograph some of the many whimmy-dingles and “pretties” she had placed around the garden, and there were many.
The house from the front fence.
Enjoying Prosecco and pretzels on the sunny front porch.
As we walked back to the apartment, we stopped by a lovely cemetery and spent a good deal of time admiring the calmness and beauty of this space, trapped on all sides by urban life, but so quiet and serene inside.
At the end of the day, we enjoyed a delicious meal of scallops and all of the prepared food was consumed and enjoyed mightily by all. I was on clean-up detail, so I was pleased not to have to put any food away this night.
In Berlin (and possibly other cities) the Deutsche Bahn offers parcels in their easements to folks who would like to maintain a garden. This is a highly-contested opportunity that is mostly handed down within families for decades, however, it is expensive. DB continues to own the land, but the user must purchase (and maintain) a small shelter on the property. Water is provided to the property during the summer, but all must agree to help DB turn it off for the winter. One’s garden house can have a sleeping place, bathroom and kitchen, but the owner is not allowed to rent the space nor stay in the space in any permanent style.
Ini has, within the past year, taken the leap to get a garden house. It’s a significant risk to those who take the plunge, because DB can change their track locations and easements, and other city construction can cramp a location that was once open but private. Also, security is often a risk, although the areas are always keyed.
Ini’s spot has been maintained for about 40 years prior to her “adoption” of it, and while the structure and most of the plantings and landscaping remain as-was, she has totally renovated the interior of the garden house to make it more amenable for family use. She and her daughter, Lee, have also changed the annual planting areas with raised beds for vegetable gardening. Lee has been mostly involved with the growing of veggies, a passion she’s had since she was a very young girl.
Ini and Lee, with the help of Lee’s friend, Matthias (who has discovered a new outlet from his professorial vocation in weeding and learning the difference between intended plants and unintended plants) have created a truly lovely spot, and it’s obvious from not only the small touches and artistic additions, but also how lovingly it is used and appreciated, that it is an essential aspect of urban life to them now. They go over somewhat regularly to grill and share dinners, some of which was grown on site. Matthias has been learning, “hands-on” style, how to be the grill-meister for their gathered meals.
I had not downloaded the photos of our visit to Ini’s Garden House from my camera when I uploaded the October 4 blog — indeed, Jack stayed at the apartment and slept some of his cold away. But I had forgotten that Page, Ini, and I walked over to the garden house and checked things out, Page and I seeing it for the first time.