It’s hard to believe that, after all these trips to Berlin over the years, I still wouldn’t know one of its most central neighborhoods. Well, actually, it’s not that hard to believe, since there are entire sections of my hometown — Paris — I still don’t know. And I have a map.
Meanwhile, my fiancée would probably, at this point, be able to find work as a real estate agent in Berlin — and Paris, for that matter, even though she interestingly hails from Lyon. In other words, our average geographical knowledge as a couple is decent despite my inability to know which way to turn in my own street. The thing is, though, she’s been to Berlin less times than I have and, even if you walk 20 kms a day — as we did, believe me — there are still places you haven’t seen.
The only reason we went to Schöneberg in the first place yesterday is because we were headed South from it, to a new mobility-themed ultra-modern campus that houses a cutting edge incubator — as well as innovation offices for Deutsche Bahn and Schneider Electric. As we visited the place, they were having a conference led by a McKinsey Partner specialising in mobility strategies. And we just happened to walk past.
On the way back, we decided we might as well spend our last afternoon in town in central Schöneberg, to drink more coffee — it was somewhat cold outside — and find a toilet — a consequence of the former. Especially for me, whose bladder seems to be smaller than my fiancée’s, breaking yet another gender-based stereotype (after the one about geography).
Fiancée: Where do you wanna go next?
Me: I don’t know…
Fiancée: Come on, I’ve been making all the decisions today, your turn!
Me: No, I mean, I truly don’t know… Where are we?
Fiancée: Schöneberg. New place, remember?
Me: Right… And where’s the bathroom?
Fiancée: You just went.
Me: Oh… Well then… shall we have more coffee?
Fiancée: Besides the one you currently hold in your hand?
Fiancée: Or… We could go to a nearby street where David Bowie lived.
Me: I’m sorry?
Fiancée: It looks like a nice enough spot, with bookshops and antiques and all…
Me: No, before that…
Me: Yeah! When did he live here?!
Fiancée: I don’t know… The 70’s?
Me: Duh… [Note: I know about music slightly more than I know about geography, even though that’s easy] I know he lived here in the late 70’s, but I always assumed it was in Neukölln…
Fiancée: Well, Wikipedia says Schöneberg. It appears there is a plaque. Shall we check it out once and for all?
Me: Hell yeah!
Of course, she was right…