‘You do realise this place is not actually in Berlin?’ I asked Bernie on the phone. She said she did. And could she bring her friend Anna.
It has to be said that most of my friends who visit me in Berlin do not come for the culture. They might squeeze in getting confused in the Holocaust Memorial or a serendipitous walk past the Brandenburg Gate, but it’s all incidental. They come here to party, and the optimistic ones, to try to get into Berghain. I even had some friends fake a few photos on a two hour whistle stop outside the Air bnb, just before their Monday flight, so it looked like they had seen something of Berlin.
So Bernie surprised me when she asked for culture the week before her arrival. You’d be surprised too if you knew the Bernie I knew – she is a dazzle of bright orange human sparkler. She is Bernie who goes to Burning Man in those steampunk goggles, who burns the candle at both ends and mostly, always, brings the party spirit bundled into her hastily packed bag. I made a few suggestions and to my further surprise, she liked the sound of Sanssouci Palace, in Potsdam, an hour west of Berlin on the S7.