Photo Essay: The Best of February 2016

You know, I wouldn’t even care if we had just skipped February altogether. Seriously, the month of February is just miserable in Central Europe — and it’s probably even worse in Northern Germany, because if the sun ever shows she does it in Southern Germany.

Anyways, besides my best efforts and resolutions to stay positive, I turned into a proper grump towards the end of the month. I can’t even find the right words to explain just how over freezing non-stop drizzle I am. I know, I sound like a sun-deprived crazy person, but honestly, that’s what a February like this turns me into.

Travel

If it hadn’t been for a trip to Berlin planned for the last February weekend, I probably would have lost my marbles entirely. But knowing there was a weekend getaway on the horizon kept me at least somewhat sane. Berlin was, as it always is, overwhelming, but that’s one of the reasons I love coming back. I didn’t do any sightseeing, but drank many fabulous coffees and craft beers and ate everything from Mexican to Middle Eastern.

Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

Berlin feels close to home, but it’s still my window to the world in many ways: In Berlin, I had my first ever hipster burger, my first ever Vietnamese meal, my first ever flat white, my first ever poached egg on avocado toast — and now, my first acai bowl! I know, that might not sound too spectacular, but (food) trends arrive slowly in Germany, and Berlin usually adapts first when the rest of Germany needs another 15 years to open up to new international trends, flavors, or liberal opinions. Clearly, not every trend is worth it, but I love how Berlin always provides me with a glimpse into international popular culture.

Farmers' market in Berlin, Germany

Nikolaiviertel, Berlin, Germany

Vegan Burger at SunDayBurger in Kreuzberg, Berlin

Oberbaumbrücke, Berlin, Germany

Acaibowl at Distrikt Coffee in Berlin, Germany

Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

And in non-food related news regarding Berlin: It is still as amazing / confusing / irritating / intimidating / ugly-pretty / fascinating as ever — and I’m already scheming to go back soon!
(If you want more travel tips for Berlin by the way: Here are the best hipster spots, how to see Berlin in a day (!), and a walk past all the free major sights!)

Life

Grayness just wears me down like nothing and February in Germany is mainly dominated by the lack of light. I hate that I’m so sensitive to the weather (and apparently blogging about it all the time), but no matter how many oranges I eat and even if I always optimistically take my sunglasses with me every day, February always gets me. But it did get a teensy bit sunnier towards the end of the month, and I was even treated to almost spring-like sunshine in Berlin (hence the happy smile!), so I’ll just focus on that for now: It’ll all be better soon!

Julika in Berlin, Germany

Coffee

As you might have guessed, this is the story of how 48 hours in Berlin evened out my otherwise miserable February coffee statistic. In the last couple of years, Berlin developed an amazing specialty coffee scene with over 40 coffee shops dedicated to specials roasts, rare fancy machines, latte art, and stylish interior — and whenever I’m in Berlin, I try to visit as many coffee shops as possible. During my short time in Berlin in February, I had flat whites at Silo, 19grams, Distrikt, and No Fire, No Glory and I can certainly recommend all of them!
(For more great coffee places in Berlin, see this post on my favorite spots in Berlin oh, and this post with the best coffees I had in 2015— and I’ll definitely do an updated Berlin guide with favorite coffee spots soon!)

Silo Coffee, Berlin, Germany

19grams coffee in Berlin, Germany

Favorite Things in February

Finally owning this book, because it made me fall in love with medieval art during my first semester of art history: Back in 2007, I read it for the first time and reread it many times since then — but only as a library rental. When I learned that my local library in Göttingen didn’t have it, I decided that it was time to splurge on a book that has taught me so much about the quirks of medieval art.

The medieval art of love

“Cooked” on Netflix. I love a good documentary, and a good food documentary I love even more. This series is based on the book by Michael Pollan and it was just so interesting how chemical facts were combined with cultural observations and beautiful food/travel imagery. Aside from constantly drooling over how good all that food looked, I learned so much: History and food are undeniably intertwined, but it really never occurred to me how the rise of processed foods was connected to the post-war industry for example. Definitely a must-watch when you’re interesting in nutrition, cooking, and documentaries in general!

Snowdrops, because I walked past them every day on my way to the office and they gave me hope that spring is just around the corner. Even when was holding on to my umbrella with frozen fingers, busy not to step into any puddles, I always remembered to glance to the side to see these little beauties implying that winter will be over soon.

Snowdrops in Göttingen, Germany

On Instagram

Okay, I’m cheating a little in this category, because my most liked photo on Instagram actually is another shot of Michael Camille’s book and I didn’t want to be redundant with my images (on the other hand, I totally love that my followers on Instagram like a photo of a nerdy book that much!). I’m thus picking my two second most-liked photos from February. The first one I took on the very only sunny Saturday I witnessed in Göttingen last month. It was a short moment, but a good one! And the other photos is obviously a snap from the most beautiful square in Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt!

Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany

Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany

Coming up in March

Ever since I started my grown-up life back in late 2013, March has always been the month with the most international travel and I kind of want to keep this tradition alive. I still have a few vacation days left and I’m checking flight prices every other hour — meaning I might take a leap and book a very spontaneous trip next week. I can certainly feel every inch of my body yearning for a little Mediterranean sunshine. And even if I don’t book that specific trip — there still is Berlin (because I’m most likely going back there mid-March) and hopefully all of the spring flowers in Germany!

 

How did you cope with all the February grayness?
And: Which Mediterranean destination would you love to escape to?

 

PS: I know this blog is not supposed to be consisting of monthly round-ups only, but somehow winter weariness has also deeply affected my blogging productivity. But I’m very motivated to get back on track (in every way) and finally start writing about those trips to Paris, Turkey, and Bavaria last year!

  • im sensitive to the weather too 🙁 winter can be so rough- especially as im sitting at my work station now waiting for the rain to stop so i can go to the grocery store. i think it has just turned to sleet instead. 🙁

    ahhhh the coffee. im traveling tomorrow and have already noted the cafes in each city so hopefully i can get my fix that frankfurt deprives me of. just found out another coffee shop opened (closer to my hood) and people say it is okay, so maybe ill check that out before i go to the airport tomorrow!

    i watched cooked on netflix as well and really enjoyed it! hope all is well!

  • I used to live in Michigan in the US and spent the months from November-March, when it’s overcast constantly, getting into funks. I dealt with it by moving to Nevada, one of the sunniest states in the country 😉 Not really, I came here for a job and stayed for a relationship, but it’s a nice benefit of living out here!

  • Charlie Beatty

    Finally getting a membership to the Art Institute has gotten me out of the February Funk! Now I can look forward to seeing incredible art whenever I want! 🙂

  • I know how you feel when it comes to the dreary weather in early spring months! Just keep looking forward to the summer! I live in Norway and during winter the light just completely disappears. There is always something very special when the first sunbeams hit the house again and the air just feels lighter!

  • food_photo_rtw

    I love the comment the rest of Germany needs about 15 years more until the food arrives haha so true. Get some sunshine in March, I totally get you. I am such a good weather person as well, some parts of me left Germany for that reason too I guess.