There are many, many shops on the wonderful Kurfürstendamm: Prada, Gucci, Versace. Sadly, Baddie is only a poor student, which means she pays compulsory visits to… H&M. Today, while inspecting the branch near U-Bahnhof Ku’damm, I noticed that you can go through and exit the shop through the back. This leads to a very nice secluded courtyard, which looks like this.
It might be green, and shady under those umbrellas, but one thing it is definitely not, is quiet. In fact, there’s an intermittent high wailing and eerie shrieking that honestly spooked the heck out of me. I looked around for a bit, and discovered that the source of the loud noise is this:
Can’t see it? how about now?
The biggest clue is that red spot. Yes, this tall pyramid-like construction is home to huge, brightly coloured, and very vocal parrots. But how can they manage to make such a racket? Well, that might be because they have help from their cousins in the second pyramid:
These are the eggs laid by the parakeets:
(no, not really)
And these are some views of the towering glass buildings around, which expulse dapper young men in dark trousers, white gleaming shirts and expensive shoes, around lunchtime.
They seem to like this place for snacks:
Here is also a view of a bear’s backside. It’s the symbol of Berlin, after all. Bears, not bottoms, that is.
And here’s the front as well. The white building in the back is the lovely Theater des Westens.
All this, I found out from a trash bin, is called Neues Kranzler Eck. Kranzler, as it turns out, is not as I first thought a misspelling of the German word Kanzler (Chancellor).
Johann Georg Kranzler, an Austrian born confectionist-extraordinaire, opened his first bakery/ cakeshop in Berlin’s Unten den Linden in 1825, which was to become Cafe Kranzler around 10 years later. Famous for its service and music, it quickly became the meeting point of “the upper ten thousand”. Handed over from father to son, the cafe was immensely popular during the Roaring Twenties. In 1934 it moved to Kurfürstendamm, and in 1945 it was fully destroyed during the Battle of Berlin.
Rebuilt in the 50s, it was again threatened at the end of the century by plans to modernise the area. In 2000, as architect Helmut Jahn designed the glass complex, the coffee shop became integated instead of being destroyed. Nowadays the cafe’s home is a red and white rotunda, which surprisingly is a part of the Gerry Weber shop, best known for (dare I say it) its middle-aged to mature clothing.
This corner of Berlin is serene and cool on a Friday morning. There are ample opportunities to sit down and enjoy a fresh mint tea, quirky salad or frozen yoghurt. While not very crowded, it’s rather good for people watching, and if bored you can pop in the nearby Urban Outfitters (needless to say I did all of the above).
And now, because nothing is ever plain and simple for Baddie, today’s encounter. As I approached my bus-stop (and that pillar which states the name of the stop and displays bus routes) a middle-aged Chinese tourist takes one look at me, gives a loud “ooohhh” takes a laaaarge step back, and then more or less pounces on me. “Sorry” he begins “U-Bahnhof Kurfürstendamm?” “Yes” I reply helpfully, “that’s here”. “Bahnhof?” “Yes, station” I explain. “No!!!”comes the distressed answer. “I know station. How do you pronounce it in German?!?”. People, I am not kidding. We spent over 10 minutes repeating the phrase, looking at the big writing on that pillar, breaking down “U-Bahnhof Kurfürstendamm” into syllables, and saying it over and over and over again, first me, then him, smiling and encouraging (me) insisting and questioning (him) until he was satisfied. He sounded pretty German by the end, to be quite fair. For all it’s worth.