It seems I'm finally moving away from Berlin -- after two years and seven months I will abmelden (un-register) with the German authorities, as my Spanish residency will require me to register there. I'm feeling quite wistful about this, and as seems to have become quite a pattern with me, I don't seem to be able to make a completely clean break. I'm storing some winter things in the Lively German's cellar as I doubt I'll be able to resist coming back for the 20th anniversary of the Wall-Fall in November. That's how I justify it to myself, anyway, as to why I'm only planning on being in Spain for the next six months.
Another sign I may actually really be leaving, though, is I've gotten serious about doing tourist things I never bothered with as a Berlin resident. Over the last couple of weeks I organized two Toytown outings: Poland (I'd never gone, even though it's all of one hour away) and Spreewald southeast of Berlin (I'd been once years ago but hadn't allowed enough time to hang out). I've always kept my distance as Toytowners can be a snide, nasty bunch, but the Berlin-Brandenburg special train tix are really cheap when one travels in a group of five, and Toytown's the quickest way to round up the necessary bodies. Both times I was lucky to find some nice people; one very cool couple went along on both trips.
Poland was Szczecin (included, incredibly, in the Brandenburg ticket and accessible via several DeutscheBahn non-stops daily). This wonderful weather found us sitting at a café on the Oder river drinking Starka vodka and eating pierogis (a delicious food that for some reason I'd never sampled before in my life). The next time I'm in Berlin I'll either have to hop over to the Polish side of Frankfurt-an-Oder or find a good Polish ex-pat restaurant here in the city. These pierogies are not to be missed! Although Szczecin is said to not measure up to other cities a bit further into Poland, in addition to the river, it had a quaint, if small, old town and I was quite taken with the green ceramics decorating the red brick buildings. I found Szczecin to be a cheap and easy introduction to the country. The direct train back to Berlin was a peaceful two-hour ride, which I made with a bottle of Starka vodka nestled in the seat beside me. I'm leaving it here, untouched, to celebrate the Mauerfall anniversary.