In my Berlin neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg, there is much to see and do at all hours of the day. During my first weekend in Berlin, I roamed the tree-lined, cobblestoned streets of this vast neighborhood, checking in with the many independent boutiques and fashion designers. I had completely underestimated the sheer vastness of this city; I didn’t make it through even a third of my neighborhood that Saturday.
On Sunday, though, I had a clear destination—the famed flea market at Mauerpark, where a chunk of the Berlin Wall still stands. The park itself used to be part of the death strip between East and West Berlin—quite a dismal history. Since then, it has been revived into a thriving local meeting place. When I arrived, the famed Bearpit Karaoke sessions were going on (courage required, a good voice is not!), and what looked like thousands of hipsters and young families covered the green area. I made my way to the flea market part, and pushed along by la foule, I could scope out this decidedly mixed bag of offerings. I loved the old suitcases, dishware, flasks, and random pieces of furniture that sat next to boomboxes, vinyl records, and any other thing you could name. If I lived in the city, I would have definitely taken some items home with me!
There is no shortage of street food and beer at the market. A couple bakeries had set up shop, stands sold beer and paninis, and wurst, wurst, wurst was everywhere. I settled on a stand where a small army of women were making Turkish gözleme, a sort of crêpe. Mine came with spinach, fresh cheese, and salad, although there was a beef option as well.
But soon after, I found something even more interesting—the Quark-Bar. Yes. For a devoted fan of quark such as myself, the Quark Bar was the Main Attraction. There, one can choose from a dizzying array of flavored quark—a traditional fresh German cheese that resembles yogurt—and top it with anything from muesli to chocolate sprinkles. There was chocolate quark, mandarin, lemon, black currant, strawberry, coconut . . . . the list was impressive. I chose blueberry, maple syrup, and honey quarks topped with chocolate sprinkles, which I happily consumed during that 20-minute, tree-lined avenue of a stroll home.
Springtime in Berlin! I am looking forward to getting to know this city.