Day Two: Passports and Quiches

April 11, 2013

Day two was a trip from Vienna to Berlin on a long, slow, easy train after a frantic start brought on by a forgotten passport. Richard Kapp to the rescue again, smiling and joking even as we imposed on his morning off. On the train I felt like a permanent fixture among a rotating cast of Europeans: Viennese already familiar from half a day in situ, the Czechs slim and carefully dressed in cheap clothes, solid Germans with laptops and glasses.

I slept for four or five hours, catching up on sleep from late nights and early mornings getting ready to go away, dealing with heavy meetings at work, chasing shops for a last-minute keyboard whose purchase I’d tried to squeeze into the new tax year. In between naps we peered out of dirty windows at places you’re sure you’d like to live, one after another, until we eventually arrived at Berlin Hautbahnhof in the early evening.

I’ve never quite had a hug from a stranger like the one given to Cara and I by Mimi when we arrived at Workstatt Der Kulturen. A matronly, warm enveloping that made us instantly a home. Everyone at that place was the same – warm, welcoming, going out of their way for two English visitors. The gig had a special atmosphere; small, intimate, friendly, woops between our alternating short sets. Our hosts even paid their own cover charge to boost our door money and sent us on our way with a cake box full of delicious quiche for the next train ride.

Then, a bus and U-Bahn back to Cara’s friend Oli’s house for a whisky and a late night chat. Oli, wide awake, gregarious, friendly – me trying not be rude while wanting nothing more than to lie horizontal. Sleep, when it came, was a treat.

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