It’s even hotter when we stumble into the sunlight at 13:30. Glad we don’t have too far to walk.
Dolores is confused by the U-Bahn station I’m headed for, Stadtmitte. She doesn’t remember stations in this part of Berlin.
“It was one of the ghost stations. Don’t you remember hearing the West Berlin U-Bahns rumble under Friedrichstrasse?”
I certainly do. Mitte, the old city centre and part of the East, stuck out into the West like a cheeky tongue. U-6 was a bolt through its middle, running from North to South under Friedrichstrasse. The handful of station in the Eastern Zone had their entrances bricked up, but you could still hear the trains through the ventilation ducts. East Berlin was a weird place.
Berlin was as nutty as a chimp’s Christmas stocking. In the West, Deutsche Reichsbahn (German Imperial Railways), the East German state railway company, ran the S-Bahn system. They didn’t show a great deal of commitment to it, prompting West Berlin to convert some lines nominally to U-Bahn.
I’m initially disorientated as I exit Schlesisches Tor station, but eventually spot Skalitzer Strasse. Heidenpeters has an odd location: in an old indoor market. The market itself is strangely located, on a side street in a residential area.
I’m due to meet Peter Read, a Canadian who works as a brewer at Heidenpeters, in Café Neun. He told me it’s at Eisenbahnstrasse 41. Except that address doesn’t seem to exist. On my third despairing pass along the street, someone in wellingtons asks: “Are you Ron?” It’s Peter.
When he takes me to the brewery, I understand why he’s arranged to meet me outside. It’s in the basement of the market, through a locked door. In a previous life it was a butchers, which meant it handily came ready tiled.
The tour doesn’t take too long, it being a compact brewery. Though I do linger in the cold store a while. It’s the coolest I’ve felt since arriving yesterday. We chat a while and Peter gives me a few bottles to take with me. He can’t linger too long, having work to do. But he does mention that they have a street food event every Thursday evening in the market. It’s Thursday. And it sounds like something Dolores might like. I make a mental note.
The chill of the brewery makes it feel all the warmer when I leave. It’s one stop on the U-Bahn to Warschauer Strasse, but it hardly seems worth the effort of climbing up to the platform. No more than a couple of hundred metres. I decide to walk instead.
The road bridge runs parallel to the railway bridge. The latter is a delightfully wistful confection, adorned by fantasy brick turrets. Their beauty takes my mind off the heat. For a moment or two. I’m half melted into my shoes by the time I get back to the hotel.
The family are hiding inside vainly trying to cool in front of a fan, taking turns at switching it back on when the timer runs out.
In the evening Dolores and I stroll over to Markthalle Neun. “It isn’t really that far, Dolores.”
Dolores is slightly disappointed by Kreuzberg. She expected it to be like Istanbul. I blame the yuppies. The bastards are taking over everywhere.
The market is mobbed. Lots of interesting food, but it’s mobbed. We squeeze our way through the beards and tattoos to Heidenpeter’s bar. I order three beers. Two for me, one for Dolores. She needs to keep one hand free so she can fetch us food.
It’s a fun place. But it would be double the fun with half the people. And a temperature 20º C cooler. We eat some stuff and drink some beer. Until the heat and crowds wear us down.
“Can we go now, Ronald?”
“Just wait until I’ve finished my beer.”
I get a steely look when I suggest walking back. Dolores insists on taking the U-Bahn and tram back. Clearly not that impressed by my “it’s not that far”. The tram is nicely air-conditioned. Which gives Dolores an idea for tomorrow.
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From the cellar: Herold Czech Black Lager / Tmavé speciální pivo - Herold Tmavé speciální pivo ABV: 5.3% Origin: Březnice, Středočeský kraj, Czech Republic Website: www.pivovar-herold.cz First published: 5 February 2001 ...
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