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Carnival of Culture and other Colours…

While my cousin was here, we made an attempt to throw as many loud and colourful things at her as possible. The first weekend: Holi Festival of Colours, the second: Karneval der Kulturen in Kreuzberg.

The day started off with forced labour: I made our houseguest cook everyone breakfast.

I’m fairly certain that we don’t have this in Australia- my certainty in this case stems from the belief that my sister and I would be all over it if we did.

In Germany, they have these little ‘authentic french’ croissants, and right next to them, also in tubes, Sonntag Brötchen (Sunday Bread Rolls). I’m assuming these are ‘a thing’, because in Germany, the concept of going a single day without fresh bread is akin to a violation of human rights (I’m pretty sure the ‘right to awesome fresh bread’ is on the German Constitution), and the supermarkets are closed on Sundays. Although the bakeries and the flowershops seem to be the two things that are perpetually open, so maybe it’s just emergency bread to keep in your handbag for when you feel peckish and happen by an oven.

Anyway, you follow the instructions and peel back the card….

… and at a certain time, the whole thing just… *POPS*

And then you must free your dough, unroll it, and roll it up into roughly-croissant shaped beings:

And then bake.

I wasn’t super happy with the way the croissants came out. I like my croissants to be flakey and airy, and these were more of a ‘buttery but solid’ on the outside with a chewy inside.

So my ultimate decision was that I’d probably rather just buy them ready-made from the bakery.. but that this would make a mighty-fine crust for a rich goulash-y pie!

Anyway, on Sunday Morning Ashleigh made chocolate croissants, which followed a very similar procedure but produced nicer results (what can I say, they had chocolate inside!)

After a small amount of face-stuffing, we headed into Berlin.

Ashleigh wanted to check out the Dorotheenstadt cemetery, situated near the Natural History Museum. It turned out to be absolutely beautiful: all the spring flowers in bloom with dapples of shade and sun. I’m personally pro the whole being burned thing, but this took me as a very nice place to take your final rest.

Of course, all that contemplation of life and its meaning left us feeling hungry, so we stopped off for some pretty decent Asian food (I’m not going to try to classify it, all the restaurants seem to just be a fusion of everything that might seem vaguely oriental).

And then slowly made our way to Kreuzberg, via Alexanderplatz…

I’ll admit, we didn’t play the festival very well. We started at the same end that the floats started from, which meant we were walking with the tide. Although they were moving very slowly, what with the crowds, and stopping for drinks and food and to look at the shops, we ended up going at a similar pace, and as such saw the same three or four floats in perpetuity.

In addition to that, our friends had started at the other end of the parade, and we thought that the ‘walking towards eachother’ would work. Unfortunately this plan was thwarted by the thousands and thousands of mobile users gathered in the same spot, which made the networks drop in and out. At a certain stage we realized that we had switched positions: they were now behind us, so we gave up.

Ultimately, it was fun to watch the people, and look at the stalls, and drink the bubble tea and so on. I think Germans are generally really great at throwing outdoor events. They know how to have big crowds, and even have large amounts of alcohol circulating in these crowds, and not have it get agitated or angry. I’m not sure if our society has matured to that level yet in Australia.

Next year, we’ll try to play it better- see more of the floats, and check out some stages playing music- which we didn’t even know existed.

But it was a nice first attempt.


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