Where no endings end


I guess I must be the kind of person that everyone thinks they can talk to because I often find myself approached by complete strangers who wish to tell me things. My friend Abbie once suggested that's simply because I look nice.

Back in the days when I visited Paris on a regular basis, I remember my first time in Père Lachaise cemetary, wandering around with a map unfolded, trying to locate the grave of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a phenomenologist philospher I was crazy about at university. Looking across to my left, I noticed a middle aged man following my movements in the parallel alley. I'm not sure how long he'd been there but within seconds he was standing close to me and offered to show me the grave of Simone Signoret and Yves Montand. For some reason, I politely accepted which made it possible for him to tell me that he came from the midi region, that he was dying to take me out for lunch and then go back to his place together. I asked him whether he went there often to pick up girls, "Oh sometimes", he replied, "Ça dépend des jours. " Suppressing a smile, I explained that my Mum would be meeting me in around ten minutes and that in any case, I still needed to find where Merleau-Ponty was buried. Disgusted that I wanted to waste my time looking for someone he'd never even heard off, he left in search of easier targets. Since then, I've been approached by countless other drageurs who wanted to come under my umbrella or share my Kitkat.

Yet it isn't just the lonely hearts keen to have a chat. Waiting on the platform for the underground at Stadtmitte, a man with long grey hair approached me and asked whether I'd heard of the bakery Kamps. Since there's practically one on every corner, of course I said yes, whereupon he started to explain his business idea of expanding the franchise to the UK. To my horror, he took the same train as I did, sat next to me and asked me to find a job for him. I did the only rational thing and got off at the next station already. Luckily he didn't follow.

The strangest encounter though was one Sunday last summer when I'd been out to take pictures and drink coffee. Walking back through one of the streets close to my home, I paused to look at a shop window when a young guy asked me if I enjoyed reading. My previous encounters had made me learn that the best thing to do when you want to avoid talking to people in Berlin is to pretend you only speak French, although it's not 100% foolproof and I often wish I know some Hungarian instead. The question was a nice one though so I answered in German. The man took a large brown envelope out of his briefcase and explained that it contained the secrets of the universe. Since it was Sunday, he was feeling generous and had decided that one lucky person would receive a chapter of this magical text, based on numerology, for free. I tried as hard as I could to convince him that I didn't believe in those kinds of things but he simply replied "How do you know before you've read it?" He gave me his email address and asked me to let him know how things developed after my reading session. I took that along with the envelope and the moment he was out of sight, put them both into the nearest bin.

Reading this and my last post, you probably have the impression that I attract the worst kinds of people and have a terrible life but honestly, looking back all of these people just amuse me. I suppose not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone to open up to, even if these days I keep my eyes fixed on the book I'm reading when someone approaches me.

Photos from the market on Karl-August Platz where I go every Saturday

My cherries being selected
Speciality roses
If you're in an Alice in Wonderland kind of mood, you might want to try the oyster bar

I finally got around to taking a picture of one of those Apfelbrötchen I love
A walk on Sunday round Mitte
At the Alter-Garnison Friedhof
At Kaffeemitte on Hackescher Markt
Crostata with apricot jam - you'll get my recipe next time
The last remaining graffiti covered courtyard at Hackescher Markt
At the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof

The grave of the DDR poet Heiner Müller
Today was meant to be the day when I reveal the Daring Bakers challenge to you. The May Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a pièce montée or a croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump's Baking School in Manhatton and Nick Malgieri. I managed to find time to attempt them but unfortunately, they weren't a success. You may remember that the macaroons I attempted were also unsuccessful so I guess I don't work well with a piping bag. Basically, it was all going well until the moment when I had to add the eggs one at a time to the dough. It's supposed to go shiny then become drier like buttery mashed potato but mine just remained liquid which made it impossible to pipe. Then I made the mistake of adding more flour, the choux buns didn't rise at all and I gave up. At least though the coffee flavoured crème patisserie was a huge success and I could enjoy it on the bought chocolate cake, although I would have preferred it inside the choux pastry. So you see, nobody's perfect, though I wonder if my croquembouche would have been a success if I hadn't thrown that mysterious brown envelope away. For the recipe click here.

Coffee flavoured crème patisserie

Proof that I did try - my choux pastry mix before it all went wrong


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