Down in the street below


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Lost in a constant stream of travellers and families reuniting, I wondered how we would find each other but as the platform became a little emptier and thanks to a short phone call, a figure in a white trenchcoat came towards me, both familiar from her blog yet still unkown. The small grey suitcase was stuffed full of wonderful presents from Austria. Manner Schnitten (wafers filled with hazelnut cream) which brought back memories of my brief time in Linz when I went into the supermarket and bought them for the first time. Delicious Staud jam which made me rediscover the charm of the Austrian names (Weichsel instead of just Sauerkirschen or sour cherry and Marille instead of Aprikose or apricot); some intriguingly named Kater tea with a black cat on the tin (Kater means both male cat and hangover in German) and some addictive savoury biscuits with Bergkäse (Austrian Alpine cheese) and cumin seeds.

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The kitchen was filled with the smell of pizza and fresh thyme that first evening and on the second of an omelette with chives and blue stilton, and yes, it was just as good as in her video. I admired her ability to break eggs with just one hand like Audrey Hepburn does in Sabrina and read a whole book in a day.

Sunlight poured down onto the market on Karl-August Platz where I returned for the first time since leaving Charlotttenburg. Bunches of fresh asparagus and the pinkest and thickest rhubarb I have ever seen were presented proudly over the different stands. The strawberries were also back but I couldn't smell them and have it on good authority that you shouldn't buy them until you can. Masses of tulips in all varieties and colours, cherry blossom, jars of exotic sounding honey and freshly pressed juice. Afterwards, there was lunch at Rogacki of Matjes, or salted herring in Hausfrauen sauce and later coffee and cake at the charming café Ottenthal in Knesebeckstraße which seemed to specialise in Austrian treats (if you go there, please choose the creamy cheesecake over the rather dry Linzer Torte) and served Latte Macchiato with a huge amount of froth.

It seemed too soon to say goodbye early on Sunday morning when the first rays of golden light were beginning to pierce the grey cloud and I thought with sadness of the brunch we could have had and the visit to the flea market afterwards. Later that night heavy rain washed away the last traces of that early summer weekend when the trees turned green overnight and every inch of grass in the park was occupied by Berliners and tourists starved of sunshine throughout the long winter and keen to soak up every minute of it.

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At the crêpe stand

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Feinkost honey and juice

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In the Bürgerpark in Pankow

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It was too late to take photos of the pizza or omelette so I can only offer you another one of the Linzer Torte I made yesterday using the recipe I already posted (just one slight modification as I halved the amount of icing sugar, taking 100g instead of 200 and found it didn't make any difference to the taste). I'm looking foward to returning to the cherry trees in blossom near Wollankstraße, waking up to birdsong, finally taking a trip out to Rheinsberg and discovering its castle and eating my first ice cream of 2011 if the queue isn't too long.

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