It was everybody’s morning after the night before. We were trapped somewhere inside the tick and the tock of the early morning hours, somewhere between going to sleep and waking up. Everything around us was in slow motion. Everything was a little bit hazy.
Greasy aromas of grilled wursts and fried potatoes merged with wafts of fresh coffee, luring us forward in a trance-like state as we bumbled along Bernauer Strasse towards Mauerpark.
It was as though the world around us was painted in pastel shaded water colours and somebody had shaken the canvas before the paint had had time to dry. Our vision was blurry and the violet clouds in the sky were making the world light up like a fairy tale.
Life and soul headed towards us with a debaucherous swagger – all partied out and ready to go again.
Youthful rebels in last night’s glitter, parading the streets with strides of effortless nonchalance. Their kissed lips were closed shut but you could almost feel the charisma they had hidden beneath their sequins. There were secrets inside their pockets and mischief in their eyes.
FlohMarkt am Mauerpark
The dreamy, dawdling spirit of Bernauer Strasse disappeared with the clash of a cymbal and the bang of a drum.
As we followed the beguiling brigade inside the wooden gates of the Flohmarkt, past the dark green Bratwurst stand and turned right into a tiny cobbled square there was a band playing and a lady singing loudly amongst a chattering crowd.
The autumn air was crisp and biting; cheeks were rosy and billows of syllables filled the air as bodies squished together closely. We squeezed our way through the beats and bedlam, our ears not quite ready for the rhythmic onslaught of German funk, and headed for the stalls.
Rows and rows of white canvas roofs hanging over a kaleidoscopic world of shabby treasures and quirky crafts. Stall owners in padded jackets and huge bobble hats with their hands in homemade mittens grasping bamboo cups of coffee. Friendly Guten Morgens everywhere.
There were photographs, postcards and slices of a tree branch that had been varnished, painted and drilled and turned into Christmas tree decorations. There were scarves and printed T-shirts, slippers, boots and rails full of second hand clothes.
A whole Schloss of treasured antiques had been emptied out into cardboard boxes. Tables piled high with pots and pans and silverware. Gloomy oil paintings in gold frames hung from metal poles and dishevelled violins lying lovelessly on the floor.
There were broken pocketwatches and beautiful silver compact mirrors with initials engraved in them, handkerchiefs and Granddad caps. Tattered books and old vinyls.
It was magic. We were travelling through time; lost in a thousand lives and surrounded by knick-knacks and keepsakes that had been handed down from generation to generation.
Hair Of The Dog
After two laps of the Flohmarkt and a few questionable purchases, we went off in search of ein hair of the dog Bier and headed back towards where the band was playing.
As we neared the square we noticed the music had just stopped and the band were packing up their instruments. And all of a sudden we were being swept up in the noisy crowd which was now herding its way boisterously towards the eastern gate.
We had no choice but to go wherever they were going; our bodies were being shoved and pushed forward amongst the sea of strangers.
The energy was electric. We kept hold of each others’ hands tightly and looked around with puzzled faces and excited smiles wondering what on earth was going on. People were shouting and spilling beer out of their plastic cups, pushing and stomping their way forward with force.
We were reaching the gate but we still couldn’t see anything ahead of us.
The vibrations were getting higher and we could feel the ground reverberating from the buzzing sound of an electric guitar on the speakers. Everything was shaking; the ground, the air and our hearts inside our chests. The thrill of knowing the unknown was about to be revealed.
And that moment when the hundred bodies around us spilled out into Mauerpark, was one of those moments we will never forget.
The violet clouds in the sky had parted just enough to let bright rays of midday sun beam down like spotlights on the grass. There were thousands of bodies dressed in bright colours and sparkles dancing without a care in the world.
Free from the ticks and tocks of last night’s clock and free from the worries of tomorrow. Dancing and free.